Making a Blurry Background Effect


This smaller engine was sitting off on a side track at the Vintage Railway visit a couple of weeks ago and I capture this image of it front on.  I had my camera set to my usual landscape setup with F8 and so all the background buildings were in focus too.

Keeping in mind some comments relating to that problem on my One Four Challenge image, I decided to experiment with seeing if it was possible to introduce a more blurred or out of focus background effect.

Above is the BW version which I really like – the train engine really pops in this one, it feels really present and there, which is what I was trying to achieve 🙂

Here is the colour version

Post Processing Steps:

  1.  Select the train engine and copy the selection to a separate layer
  2.   Duplicate the background and work on the duplicate
  3.   Experiment with different blur effects – I hoped there would be a radial blur effect similar to the Radial Tool in LR but I could not find it in PSSo instead I blurred the background using Field Blur – this gives you a full preview of the effect and you can adjust it quite a lot
  4.  Created a mask on the Blur layer, and used the gradient tool set to radial, and experimented with how far out I needed to drag it.
  5. Deleted the original background and bought the selected train in on top of the blurred layer.

    Its a bit rough round the edges, there is some ghosting where the train selection was bought back in.  I am hoping ReMask will help me get a much better selection to try this again.

    Like it?  Don’t Like it?  Got some tips or advise to share?

    All feedback welcomed!

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About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
This entry was posted in Camera Adventures, For Beginners, LR & Photoshop and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Making a Blurry Background Effect

  1. Hey great tip by the way! However personally, in some cases, artificially blurring backgrounds can be rather ugly /:

  2. ashpienaar says:

    I love the colour version, well done!

  3. Rajiv says:

    Very interesting. I have read these tips on PS, but never tried them. Actually, here I find that Topaz ReMask, which I have not really explores, is fantastic!

  4. I think I would have liked to see the building blurred a bit too so that just the engine is the main focus. Does it take long to select specific areas? I’ve read them too but never tried cuz it sounded like a lot of work. Thanks for sharing =^,,^=

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