December 13, 2010

the tutorials: blur your background using photoshop


My Canon point and shoot camera has a manual option which I love. Using this option has enabled me to learn more about depth of field, iso, etc. Unfortunately, it's only capable of so much. That's where Photoshop comes in handy. Today, I'll show you how to easily blur an existing photo's background.

Allow me to preface by stating that I'm certainly no expert. I can only do simple tasks with Photoshop. Hopefully you'll find it useful - as a jumping off point to bigger things.

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The Tutorials: Blur Your Background Using Photoshop

Step 1: Export your photo, saving it in your documents file at maximum quality, full size. I'm going to use this photo of Sophie - big surprise, right?

studio waterstone photoshop tutorial blurring your background

Step 2:

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Open Photoshop and click File > Open.


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Find your documents folder and import your photo.


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Step 3:

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Your tools are in the left (vertical) column. Click on the 4th tool down, the lasso tool.
Now look at the second horzontal tool bar. Make sure that the plus (+) lasso is clicked.
Using your mouse scroll around the area that you want to keep sharp. I've outlined Sophie's cone of shame.

Tip: You can zoom in and go back and forth between the plus (+) and minus (-) lasso until you achieve the desired result.


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Once you've outlined your focal point, right click and click on "Layer via Copy"
Next you'll notice your new layer along with the background in the lower right corner.


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Down in the lower right box, click to highlight your background layer and then go to the top and click on Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur


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This nifty little box pops up. Be sure to click the preview box and play around until you get the blur you're looking to achieve. Click OK.


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Now go to the top and click File > Save As


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If you want the ability to return and make adjustments later, save as .psd
If not, then you can save as a jpeg.

Tip: I always want to keep my original picture, so I rename the photo xxxxblur.jpg rather than xxxx.jpg

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The end! Sophie, however, still looks perfectly miserable.


Below is an example of a Studio Waterstone product shot.


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Before


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After - I kept the hands and the bag original and blurred the rest.

That wasn't so bad now, was it?


10 comments:

  1. ahh *ha*! That's how you do your shots! Awesome tut :)

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  2. I knew I liked you! I suspected you were sneaking and tricky, but it was unconfirmed until now ;)

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  3. Very cool ...but enough about that...thanks to you I am an addict. I can't stop.....night and day....all I want...is more Estorbo......gasp....my kids don't even recognize me.

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  4. Nicely done! I just purchased a new Mac and the picture program I have now doesn't make a mac version.... I think I'll be purchasing photoshop :)

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  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your tips! I am so Photoshop illiterate it ain't even funny (can crop and resize and that is about it).

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  6. Thanks for the lesson I have always wondered about that

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  7. Wow what a difference, cool effect.

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  8. i can totally use any ps help i can get! thanks!! susan

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  9. You did a great job with the tut! That poor dog though…lol.

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I love reading each one of your comments. Thanks for your visit and have a wonderful day.

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