photoshop creative

How to apply Motion Blur effects in Photoshop

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Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
January 18, 2012

This Photoshop tutorial shows how Motion Blur can give you an easy solution to improving images

Emulating motion blur is a tried and tested formula for quickly improving a photo, so if you have an image that could do we a little help, we encourage you to give it a go.

Issue 81 carries a nifty tip for blurring water, to give the effect of slow shutter speed. This tip is part of the issue’s Q&A section, where you will find quick solutions to common image-editing problems.

Step 1 – Prepare the image

Begin by opening yourself a stock photo. We’ve used a royalty-free example from (1360117_19040527). Duplicate your image by pressing Ctrl/Cmd+J, then select Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Address the direction of the water in your image to apply settings.

Step 2 – Motion Blur settings

We’ve applied a -20-degree Angle with a Distance of 60px to set the intensity of our effect. From here, apply a layer mask from the foot of the Layers palette (Add layer mask), then invert the mask by pressing Ctrl/Cmd+I.

Step 3 – Brush to mask

All that’s left to do is paint in the motion effect created by your masked motion blur. To do this, select a soft edged white brush with Opacity set at 50%. You can apply this to your mask so that the effect shows through. Paint it out again with a black brush if you make any mistakes.