photoshop creative

How to use Smart Filters to apply motion effects in your images

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
December 11, 2012

Apply subtle motion blurring in Photoshop with Smart Filters and masks for non-destructive editing



Motion Blur filter effect

Step 1 – Convert layer

Open your image up and duplicate its Background layer by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+J. Go to the Filter menu and click on Convert for Smart Filters. The duplicate layer should take on a small symbol signifying it’s a Smart Object.

Step 2 – Blur layer

Go back into the Filter menu and to Blur>Motion Blur. Adapt the Blur’s Angle to suit the direction of the subject, and then increase Amount to add blur. Hit OK and head to the Layers palette.

Step 3 – Invert mask

The Layers palette should now contain the Motion Blur filter visible underneath the layer, with a mask attached to it. Click on this mask and then press Cmd/Ctrl+I to turn it black (this will hide the blur effect).

Step 4 – Erase parts

Select the Eraser tool, making sure your Foreground colour is set to black, and keep the opacity set to 100%. Erase over the subject’s back to reveal the Motion Blur filter. By painting over these areas selectively, the effect can be applied subtly, and in a controlled fashion.


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