Sometimes a picture just calls for a little something different – something to make it stand out and catch your eye. Creating false blur is a great way to achieve this. I use a professional program from Alien Skin Software that creates a beautiful, natural looking Bokeh, but say you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on blurring an image…  Photoshop is equipped with a number of different blur styles that can easily be used to create artistic images. I’ll give you a couple of examples of what some of the blur styles can do.

Our original image is fairly ‘busy.’ While the textures and colors are pretty sweet, they do take away from the subject a bit. I usually save my ‘faux blur’ for busy images like this, however, you can also use a blur on simple images or even close-ups. The best part is, you get to be creative and keep trying different styles until you find one that fits!

With each of these blurred images (except for the Alien Skin version), I:
1. copied my background layer (ctl+j),
2. applied the blur to the new layer which is now on top (Filter/Blur/[your blur choice] – remember that each blur can be tweaked for a more or less severe look),
3. used the eraser (e) on a soft round brush to erase out the parts i didn’t want blurred. Erasing parts of the top blurred layer will allow the original image (background layer) to show through.

Original image:
Photography Tips

Box Blur:
Box Blur Photoshop
I used a size 500 pixel eraser at 0% hardness and did a quick swipe to get this look. It’s artsy.

Motion Blur:
Motion Blur Photoshop
Motion blur, indeed, creates the look of motion. Really cool for buses, trains, bikes, and other moving things.

Radial Blur (set to zoom instead of spin):
Blurring Techniques for photographers
This is one of my favorite art blurs. It’s quite effective at producing a nice ‘wow’ factor. When erasing out the blur around the subject, i changed the flow of the eraser to 30%, for a better blend into the blur. I erased her face out 100%, but used a small eraser brush size.

And just for fun: Alien Skin Bokeh:
Fake Blur for Photos
This software does create a much more natural looking bokeh blur, plus, you can do other things like select your subject and blur the background, and much more. I love it.

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson on how to easily turn a busy image into an art piece! I would love to hear from you in the comments below! What’s your favorite style of blur?

Post some of your newly blurred images on my facebook page!