Quick Tip – Grab Attention Using Blur in Photoshop
Step 1 – Selecting Your Image
When selecting your image it’s normally a good decision to let it be a little bit bigger than the actual canvas. This will allow you to play with things like perspective, as well as avoid rough edges created by the lens blur effect we will be using. Take your image and drop it into a new Photoshop layer (we’ll name it “Clear Layer”). Here is mine:
Step 2 – Duplicate Layer
Take the existing “Clear Layer” and duplicate it (right click layer>Duplicate layer). Let’s call this one “Blur Layer”, as it is the one we will be adding the effect to. Make sure that this layer is on top.
Step 3 – Add the Blur Effect
It’s at this point you can take some initiative and be creative with the type of blur you wish to use. All your options can be found in the top menu (Filter>Blur). I will be using Lens Blur in this tutorial because it has a good share of options.
In the Lens Blur options try playing around with the sliders to reach something you’re happy with. I have found typically that putting the radius between 5px or 8px, with a small amount of noise looks pretty fresh. Here are my options:
All of this leaves my “Blur Layer” looking like this:
Step 3 – Adding the Layer Mask
This is the part where what we’ve done all comes together. We are going to use a layer mask to reveal some of the “Clear Layer” through the “Blur Layer” to achieve our goal.
Select the “Blur Layer” and create a layer mask for it. If you need a brief refresher on layer masks, take a moment to review.
Pick out the area of your image you wish to put emphasis on, this will be the part that we will want to make the clearest. In my example I wish to draw the eye to the site logo.
You are going to use a gradient to gradually bring a part of your image into focus. Typically I’ve found that the circular gradient works nicely.
Select the “Blur Layer” mask and drag the gradient starting where your target is, in the direction of your choosing.
Step 4 – Final Product and Adding Some Polish
Currently your image should look somewhat comparable to mine:
You could stop at this point but here are a few ideas to perhaps add an extra layer of depth to your image
- Add 1px borders to the outside (1 dark, 1 light) to give it some pop
- Play around with the opacity of the “Blur layer” to reduce blur if desired.
- Make use of Transform>Perspective
- Add faint light and dark gradients to give illusion of lighting.
By following my own advice, I come out with my polished final result: