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How To Use Gaussian Blur in Photoshop

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There are many reasons why you would want to blur an image in Photoshop. For example, to reduce noise or to create depth.
Gaussian Blur in Photoshop is one of the filters you can use. In this article, I’ll show you how to blur a specific object in a photo.

What Is Gaussian Blur

Photoshop Gaussian Blur uses a Gaussian function to blur an image. It’s named after mathematician and scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss.
The technique results in a smooth blur. It resembles that of viewing the image through a translucent screen.

How to use Gaussian Blur in Photoshop

First, we need to make a selection of the object we want to blur. I will use this photo of a bottle of wine and two glasses. I want to blur the bottle.

A photo of a bottle of wine and two glasses with a fire in the background
@ Pixabay

Step 1: Duplicate the Background

Whenever you want to edit a photo, you need to duplicate the background. This way, you can always go back to the original image if something goes wrong.
Select the background layer and right click on it. Select ‘Duplicate Layer…’
A screenshot of how to duplicate a layer in Photoshop - Gaussian blur Photoshop
A new layer will appear on top of the background layer.

Step 2: Create a Path

You can use any tool to make a selection. In this case, we’ll make a path first. The Pen Tool is perfect for this example because the bottle of wine has a smooth and rounded shape.
Select the Pen Tool from the toolbar on the left.
If the toolbar is not visible, go to Window > Tools to make it appear. You can also use shortcut ‘P’.
A screenshot of selecting the pen tool in photoshop - gaussian blur photoshop
Create a path around the object you want to blur. Zoom in the object and make sure to keep it as smooth and clean as possible for the best result.
If you make a mistake, use shortcut Cmd + Z to go a step back (Ctrl + Z for Windows).
A screenshot showing how to use gaussian blur in Photoshop

Step 3: Convert the Path to a Selection

Once you’ve closed the path, you need to convert it to a selection.
In the Paths panel, select the path you’ve created. If you don’t see the panel, go to Window > Paths.
This will reveal the Paths panel.
Click on the ‘Load path as selection’ button to convert the path into a selection.
A screenshot showing how to use gaussian blur in Photoshop - Convert the Path to a Selection

Step 4: Apply Gaussian Blur to the Selected Area

Go to Filter > Gaussian Blur… The Gaussian Blur window will appear.
You can drag the image in the Gaussian Blur window to look for the object you’re going to blur. If you find it too small, tick the Preview box and the result of the Gaussian Blur filter will be visible in the photo.
Drag the Radius slider until you’re satisfied with the amount of blur.
A screenshot showing how to use gaussian blur in Photoshop - Apply Gaussian Blur to the Selected Area
And this is the result.
A photo of a bottle of wine and two glasses with a fire in the background, the result of using gaussian blur in photoshop

Conclusion

Gaussian Blur in Photoshop is just one of many blur filters. You can use it for basic blurring but make sure to learn about the other blur filters too.
Every filter has a specific purpose and its good to know the differences to get the best results.
Lens Blur, Motion Blur and Radial Blur are the most important ones. You can use them to mimic the kind of blur that appears naturally when taking photos.

Looking for more Photoshop tips? Check out our new post about light leaks next!

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