If we want to create a slight glamour blur as is done in
much fashion and portrait photography, we need just lower the opacity of
this layer until we have result we want. In this case I have chosen about
46% opacity and I get a nice glamour blur.
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Let's say we want to do something similar, this time blurring only a portion of the image. This might create the illusion of a
shorter depth of field, or the use of a diffusion filter in order to draw more attention to the model's face.
We can't add a mask as we would in Photoshop. So we have to do the next best
thing. First, return the layer opacity to 100%. Now you have the same blurred image
as above. To selectively bring back the lower, sharper layer, through this
blurry one, we are going to choose the eraser tool to do the job.
Making sure that the background copy layer is selected (A),
choose the eraser tool (B), and a large, soft brush (C). Now paint with the
eraser tool through the middle of the image as shown (D). You can control
the speed of which you are erasing and gain more control by adjusting the
brush opacity (E) down a little.
What we are doing is erasing portions of this
background copy layer so
that the original background layer can show through. If we look at the
layers palette and the resulting background copy layer we can see what we
have actually been doing.
Did you give it too much blur? If so, simply lower the opacity of the
background copy layer as we did in the glamour blur. If you need more, simply
delete this level by dragging it to the trash icon in the layers palette and
start over. This time, instead choosing 7.1 in the Gaussian blur dialog window,
choose something higher like 15. Or experiment until you find the right degree
of blur that suits your needs. Let's compare our before and after.
Can we do it this way in Photoshop? You bet!
But without a mask we can't "unpaint" the blur by painting with the mask
selected and using white. That is why the mask is so much more flexible. When
using the eraser tool, if you want to adjust the range of the blur a little, you
have use the history palette to return to a "before" eraser tool state, or easier
still, trash the blur layer and start all over again.
Article, photos and screen shots: © Michael Fulks. All right reserved.
Michael Fulks has 30 years experience in the world of
photography. He is currently the Chair of the photography
department and Lead Photography Instructor for a community
college in Lakewood, Colorado, where he teaches courses in
figure photography, traditional and digital photography,
lighting and portraiture.
He is a co-author, along with Thomas Harrop, of The
Complete Digital Photography Primer. If you are
starting out in photography, need to revisit the subject, or
want to hone your skills, this is the book for you.
There are a wide range of topics about Photoshop:
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