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Photography – Photoshop using Motion Blur

Wednesday 22nd June 2011

I’ve been following the Tutorials in Digital SLR Photography magazine July 2011 – this months is about using Motion Blur

I’ve got 100’s of photographs of cars and they mostly are all taken using a fast shutter speed so regardless of whether they have been shot static or while on the move the image is of a snapshot frozen in time. There’s no sign of movement in any of them.

I’ve just discovered a use for Blur in Photoshop, something I’ve had little use of in the past as I could think of no reason why you’d want to make a picture appear out of focus?

I started with a static picture of my car, which I actually shot on my driveway, one of the pictures I used in the HDR post see ‘My First Attempt at HDR’

First job is to duplicate the background layer so that you can always go back to the starting point if it goes wrong and you can quickly look back to see the original before any changes have been made.

Honda Civic - Photoshop using Motion Blur

Honda Civic - Photoshop using Motion Blur

The next job is to carefully go around the car using the Polygonal Lasso Tool then Invert your selection as it’s the background that you are going to be working on. The next stage is create a new layer for this background using Layer via copy option. Now you get to add the Motion Blur by going into Filters and selecting Blur and Motion Blur.  The default Blur settings seemed a bit too much so I dropped my settings down to an 8 which seems to look just right for me. Already it looks like car’s moving really quickly, the cars itself is still in perfect focus but the background appears to be streaking by.

Now for the wheels, I used the Circular Marquee tool to select the wheels and then applied the Radial Blur option but again I reduced the amount this time down to 5. I then repeated this for the front wheel and the job appears to be done. The once static picture of a car now looks like a panning shot of a passing car.

Ok it’s not perfect – there’s no driver in the car and if you look through the windows the greenery in the background is in sharp focus, but to the casual observer they’ll probably not notice this.

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