Creating a Blurry Background Using Photoshop

This technique shows you how to create a cool soft focus background leading to a clear foreground

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Step 1

Open a photo in Photoshop. Any photo will do, but one with an obvious object matter is best.

(This is your background layer)

Step 2

In the Layers Pallet, create a clone of the image by right-clicking the background and selecting DUPLICATE LAYER. Name it 'blur'.

(You now have two layers - background and blur)

Step 3

Now it gets fun. Working in the 'blur' layer, select FILTER a BLUR a GAUSSIAN BLUR. Use the radius slider to select a blur that "blurs" to your taste - and depending on what you want to do. Click OK. The good thing is, you can always repeat this step if it doesn't turn out quite right.

Your image now looks blurry - but don't worry, the original image is still nice and clear in the background layer.

Step 4

Using the eraser tool set to brush, select a suitable size with feathered edge to erase the part or parts of the image you want to remain clear and in focus.

Step 5

Using the OPACITY slider on the Layers Pallet, reduce the amount of opacity to suit.

And that's it! If you don't like what you're seeing - maybe it's too blurry or not blurry enough - just redo the steps. The more often you work with this technique the more comfortable you'll become and know it's limits. You can add more blur layers or try editing the saturation of the blur layer to make less color come through. Try sepia toning both layers and adding distress.

It's a great way to force object focus by removing the extraneous elements using blur. There are so many uses for this technique and you can do whatever you want, because

Hey! You're the designer.

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