Demystifying the Photoshop® Filter Menu

Lesson 6/11 - The Blur Filters


Demystifying the Photoshop® Filter Menu


Lesson Info

The Blur Filters

Now we're gonna dive into some of the menus. So we've got blurs. There's some good blurs, there's some bad blurs. Oh, by the way, the other thing, 3D, 3D's a whole different world, so I'm not really gonna jump into the 3D menu here. I'm gonna skip forward into Blur. So Average Blur, Average Blur, you're not gonna see it a lot, but it has a use. So one of the ways that I use Average Blur is whenever I'm doing a, I shouldn't say whenever, it's one of the techniques for a composite. When I'm doing a composite, like here, I kind of composited a moon into the photo. You'll notice matching color temperatures is probably one of the hardest things to do in a composite. So what we can do is turn off whatever compositing images you have and you have your main image, I'm gonna press Command or Control + J, makes a copy, and when I go and I Average Blur it it averages together the whole scene into one color. That gives me the color of the scene. So now if I drag that above my moon and change the b...

lend mode to Color I'm gonna say basically tell the scene to take on that whole color. Now I don't want the scene to take on the whole color. Remember, our purpose here was compositing. We're putting a person, a thing, or an animal, whatever it is into another image and we want it to grab that color. So the only trick here is I just have to tell this to make it a clipping mask layer. And now it's just applying it to whatever your composited image is. So you're basically saying, here's the overall color of the scene, I'm placing another object in, and I'm gonna give it that color. And between that blend mode and that blur we're able to do it. Now it's got a little bit, it's harder to see, but it's got a little bit of a different tone to it. Okay, so I can honestly say, I can't ever think of a reason that I would use Average other than I wanna see what the average color is for a composite. Next up we got, so a couple of these I'm gonna skim through guys. Blur, you're never gonna use it, it just blurs the photo. How much? However much it wants to. Blur More, guess what, it blurs the photo more than Blur does. Box Blur. If I were to look really, really closely at what Box Blur does you will see tiny little box shapes in the form of a blur. Again, it's got maybe some graphical elements to it, but it's not much you can do with it for photography. Gaussian Blur, Gaussian Blur, a lot of people call it Gaushan Blur. So I used to call it Gaushan Blur and I changed, because here, so for years I would call it Gaushan Blur and there was always like the audience saying, you know it's Gaussian and it's taken from the person's name who was William Gaussian who created, I don't even know that his first name's William, but anyway. And then I started thinking, well I'd be pretty ticked off if somebody mispronounced my last name, although I actually don't, 'cause I have a bad last name, but you know, I figured the guy did all this work, we should try to pronounce his last name the right way. So it's named after a person, his last name was Gaussian, not Gaushan, Gaushan, Gaussian, whatever. So it's Gaussian Blur. It will blur your photo. It's great if you just want a super quick blur. Hopefully as we get down deeper into this you'll see there's better, newer ways to blur our photos. Go through here. Lens Blur. Lens Blur is pretty cool in that, here's let's cancel out of this and I'll open up a different photo for you. So here's the way Lens Blur works and Lens Blur can have some pretty cool, pretty cool opportunities for you. The way Lens Blur works is it tries to simulate depth of field. So we've got, let's say we have a focal point right here, let's say that's where the camera was focused when this picture was taken. So that's gonna be sharper, then everything else would get blurrier. In this case, looks like f/16, f/22, everything's in focus. Let's say we wanted to change that, let's say we wanted to give it a sharper, and then let that blur change as it goes back. What you can do is you can build what's called a depth map. And a depth map is essentially fill your background with white. White means blur happens. Black means no blur happens. So if I were to look at this photo and think, well, I want my plane of focus to be like right here and I want things to get softer as it goes away, then I would take my Brush Tool. Get a big Brush Tool. And that's gonna be too big, hold on. Get a big Brush Tool and paint across like that. Maybe get a bigger one, paint with a lower opacity, like that. And so think about what's gonna happen. White means all blur happens, gray means kind of blur, black means no blur. So this is my depth map. Only trick to this, I'm gonna copy it, and I have to save it into a channel. So all I did was select all and copy, go over to my Channels palette, and I made a new channel, and then I just pasted it in. And you'll see there it's called Alpha 3. So now we're gonna go back over, you can turn these off, we don't need them anymore, and we go to our layer. I'm gonna go Filter, Blur, Lens Blur, and now right now I can crank up the Radius, everything's getting blurred. So if I go over here, see where it says Source for your Depth Map? I can actually go down here and choose that depth map that we created and you'll see what it does. Now that's not realistic, which is why I would probably go back to the one that I created earlier, which had a smaller plane of blur there. And of course, pull back my Radius, I don't need it to be that blurry. But now you can see, as you zoom in a little bit, you could see now we have sharp, what's in front of it, which was white, got blurry, and what's behind it, which was white, starts to get blurry. But now we have that sharper area up front there. So that's how you could create the simulation of a depth of field. Again, not something that we're using a ton, but it's got its uses. Motion Blur. Let's go over here to the Blur menu, you see that we've got, we just did Lens Blur, we have Motion Blur. Motion Blur, it will, there's a couple of different uses for it. I use it a lot of times when I wanna recreate the simulation of like maybe some wispy clouds in the sky. I'll just take my Quick Selection Tool, make a real quick selection of that area, and then Filter, Blur, Motion. And you can see it blurs it. Now really, really common thing, and this is, I see this one used a lot, if you're shooting a car race, people on a bicycle, whatever it is and you wanna give that illusion of background blur. The biggest hangup I see in this is you'll make a selection and it'll look dead on, but what'll happen is that really I've got part of the mountain selected, so now as I blur now I'm gonna start to blur that part of the mountain too. So what I'll usually do is Select, whenever I make a selection I'll usually go to Select, Modify, Contract, and contract it by two or three pixels, which pulls it back out. And then I'll actually feather it sometimes too. So Select, Modify, Feather, by about one pixel. So now I'm just gonna take that edge and make it softer. And now if I go and blur this you'll see it should hopefully, ah, it's still, I'd probably have to make my selection a little bit more refined up there. But you can see, we can kind of get those streaky clouds. Again, people will use it, I've seen it used like car races, if you're trying to pan across and you don't quite get that background blur to it, that's another place where I'll see it used. Next up we got Radial Blur. So Radial Blur will blur in a circle. So let's say you have a car, and I could go over here and make a circular selection with my Elliptical Marquee Tool, like so. And then go to Radial, crank it up. So you can get a spinny. The official term is a spinny type of a look. So that's your Radial Blur. Let's see here, moving on. So we got Radial. Those are most of the useful blurs that we've gone through. Shape Blur, you will, I hate to even show you. So the Shape Blur is, here let's go, let's open this one. The Shape Blur is it blurs in the shape of a shape. We've got all these shapes down here. I can't even think of a reason that you could possibly use it. Let's see, there's Smart Blur. So Smart Blur, Smart Blur was one that tries to blur things and keep edge detail. And then Surface Blur came along and kind of became a better tool for that. And what I mean by edge detail would mean we go into a photo like this, a popular thing is we would duplicate the layer, go down to Blur, and run a Surface Blur on it. We want a smooth skin. It's obviously, it's way too much, we're not gonna have that porcelain look, but you can see it keeps the details. Again, you would never do it that much. And then once you do it, you're always gonna reduce the Opacity, and then you're still gonna go in there and mask a little bit. But the whole point behind it is it kind of takes away our masking. Where when you're gonna smooth skin you would have to go in and paint the eyes and do all that, it just kind of keeps it from going over edges. It's just a lazier way of doing it. And it's a good blur as long as, again, you use it in sparingly way, so that you don't get that porcelain type of a skin look. All right, that was Smart. Let's see here. Oh, Kenna has a question. The internet has a question, Matt. This is a blur question. I wasn't sure if you were about to move on from blur, but this is from Don who says, what would the best blur filter option be that would work for plane propellers or wheels that did not blur due to a fast shutter speed? Would that be the Radial one that you just did? Yeah, the Radial Blur. Yeah, the Radial Blur would be the way to go for that. Okay, cool. You did a quick masking with the paintbrush, but it didn't look like a mask. Is that the sort of thing that you could go in and create an elaborate mask to actually make sure that some of those trees are included and the tops aren't cut off, but the one's behind them aren't? Yeah, it would be super, super elaborate, but that's the idea behind it. The idea behind it is black is no blur, white is full blur, and then all those degrees of gray, so you'd have to go in and paint the trees in that were on a different, maybe more forward than everything that was behind it. So it'd be tough, but that's how you would do it. So head over here to the Filter. So Blur Gallery. These are fairly new and these have taken the place of a lot of things that we might have done before. Field Blur. Field Blur, it's just a good overall blur. It's kind of replaced the Gaussian Blur really for me. So if I'm gonna do a blur I'll just do Field Blur, you just crank up a slider here. I don't even have to go up to the menu anymore, I can just uncheck Field and check Iris. Iris Blur is probably the closest blur to your depth of field type of a look. So if you have a subject where you wanted to maybe make a selection around your subject, keep them not blurred and then maybe blur the background a little bit, your Iris Blur is gonna be about the closest to that. Only thing that's weird about Iris Blur is that they kind of try to do like an auto for you, so they create this little thing that you can move around to keep you, like again, here let's just stop guessing. Let's open up the photo, here we'll use that one, although it's already got a good amount of blur. But we'll go in here. So it's basically trying, they're giving you an automatic way that will feather this blur out and blur everything else. If you didn't wanna do it that way you would just make a selection inside before you went there. But the real key to it is sometimes you just wanna blur the background of a photo that's on a different layer, you can just drag this off and then it'll blur the whole photo. So if I did have two separate layers I could actually just drag that off and I could blur the entire layer and if I didn't wanna use that circle that's inside of there. That's gonna be your closest one to what background blur would look like. Tilt-Shift is the Tilt-Shift effect. So you kind of get that miniature type of a look. So that's your Tilt-Shift. Again, we don't even have to exit out of here, because we have access to all of them. Path Blur. So Path Blur is if I wanted to blur something along a path. How's that for an explanation? So Path Blur, let's see here, let's open up my clouds again. So Path Blur would come in handy if I had a very specific line that I wanted to draw or blur something on. So here we get this little line here and I can move it around. And then your Speed is kind of how much it's gonna, how quickly it blurs along that path. And then you could always add some curvature to it. Funky, huh? And if that weren't enough for you, you can go and you can drag another one. And you can do some really crazy things with it. So that's Path Blur. If you wanted to blur, I can't say I see it a lot. Seen some people, like if they, maybe at night they want streaky lights and they didn't quite have as many lights I'll see sometimes they'll try to use a Path Blur to blur the lights along, something like that, but it's not gonna be one of the ones that you spend a lot of time on. And let's see here, and then we have Spin Blur. So Spin Blur kinda, let's go back here. Spin Blur, kind of like what we had before. In fact, some ways a little bit easier. So I can go ahead and make this a little smaller, bring it over here. And I get a little bit more control with it, 'cause I can actually see it happen versus the Radial Blur that I couldn't see happen before. It kind of looks cool when you do that. It's the little things that amuse me.

Class Description

If you’re the type of person who thinks: “If there’s a filter in Photoshop®, then it MUST have a purpose,” then this class is for you. Matt Kloskowski will lead you on a deep dive into the Photoshop® Filter menu. You’ll look at every filter that’s there and see some examples of how most of them can be used. By the end of this class, you’ll have a much better understanding of which filters will truly help you as a photographer and which ones you shouldn’t spend any more time wondering about.