This week, on-hand Photoshop Guru Eric Renno, aka Tip Squirrel guides us through ‘Blur’ in Photoshop as part of a mini-series on the subject. 

In this mini series we’ll be taking a look at Blur, the nemesis of all photographers but there’s times when adding it can really make a difference. Let’s kick off the series looking at Path Blur. For this tutorial I am using this image should you wish to test it out yourself.

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Where To Find Path Blur

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If you’re using Photoshop CS6 you’ll see that there was a few new blurs added: Field, Iris and Tilt-shift. In Photoshop CC these appear to have disappeared, but actually they’ve been added to the Blur Gallery:

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In this new menu we have the three blur filters above with two new (in CC) ones, Path Blur and Spin Blur.

Path Blur

Path blur is very powerful and ‘replaces’ Motion Blur, although Motion Blur is still available. Path differs from Motion in that one has far more control of the direction, speed as well as how the blur reacts with the image.

Lets see how it works:

As Path Blur can be added to a Smart Object as a Smart Filter I’ll convert the layer now:

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Then I’ll choose Path Blur from the menu:

This opens a new dialogue window with a default blur added:

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Blur Direction

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The blur direction is governed by the blue arrow placed on the image. The arrow depicts the direction of travel (2) while the two end circles (1) can be positioned precisely by clicking and dragging to their new position, making the arrow longer or shorter.

The middle circle (3) is the centre of a curve. Clicking on this and dragging will make a curve between two points. Clicking on the arrow will add another curve point should you wish to add one:

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Blur Controls

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Click on an end point to make it active, signified by a blue dot. Moving the mouse slightly away will reveal a circular control. This is the amount of blur at this point and clicking and dragging around will add (clockwise) or remove (anti clockwise) blur. This is a nice visual way of working directly on the image but can be a little fiddly with smaller amounts.

The blur can also be controlled by the slider on the right hand side.

The Controls

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  1. This is the speed that the blur is ‘moving’ at, this can go up to as much as 500%
  2. This will taper the start and end speed to give a more natural feel to movement.
  3. Centred Blur: Used for more specific direction blur, and certainly useful for my demonstration here as I have a very specific angle I want to blur.
  4. End Point, allow us to set the speed at which the blur is occurring at the end point, we’ll be using this in the next step.
  5. Edit Blur Shapes. The curve is produced automatically by the filter but we can alter this directly by having this selected.

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With Edit Blur, Shapes on selection points on the red arrows can be selected and moved to further finesse the angle and path of the blur.

No Mask Required

Although the blur looks great for the hand on my image all the image is blurred. To ‘unblur’ part of an image I just need to add a new arrow by clicking on the image, position the arrow and se the End Points to zero:

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Now although the hand look like it’s moving the arm is stationary, I’ll add a slight blur to the arm too:

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Next I’ll add some zero blur arrows:

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And click OK for your efforts to be showcased.

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You can find out more about blurs and selections in Eric’s post here.

As always, a big thanks to Eric for supplying this super detailed tutorial. Check out more of his tutorials on his websiteYouTube and you can find him on Facebook and Twitter should you wish to get in touch with him!