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How to Create a Radial Blur Effect in Photoshop

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There are many blur effects to choose from in Photoshop.

If you want to make your photos look more dynamic, then the Photoshop Radial Blur effect is perfect for taking your photography to the next level. We show you how to use it in a few simple steps!

How to Create a Radial Blur Effect in Photoshop

There are a few ways to add some movement to your photo in Photoshop. I find using the Radial Blur to be fast and straightforward.

Step 1: Duplicate the Background

Open the image you want to use in Photoshop. Right-click on the background layer and select “Duplicate Layer…”. Click “OK”.

Screenshot of Photoshop

Step 2: Prepare for Smart Filters

One disadvantage of Photoshop blur filters is that you can’t adjust the settings after you apply them. Luckily, we can fix that by using Smart Filters.

First, we need to convert the new layer to a Smart Object. Right-click on the layer and select “Convert to Smart Object.”

Whenever we choose a Photoshop filter now, it will be a smart filter that we can adjust any time.

Screenshot of Photoshop

Step 3: Make a Selection of the Subject

Let’s make a selection of the subject. This selection will allow you to control how much radial blur will be applied.

Use your favourite Photoshop selection tool and make a selection.

Screenshot of Photoshop

Use shortcut Cmd-J to copy your selection to a new layer (Ctrl+J for Windows).

Screenshot of Photoshop

Step 4: Add Radial Blur Effect

Select the duplicated background layer and go to Filter > Blur and choose “Radial Blur”. The Radial Blur window will pop up.

Next, select the Blur Method. You can either choose Spin or Zoom blur method. In my example, Zoom will look better. Set the quality to Best.

Screenshot of Photoshop

In the square box, you can set where the centre of the blur will be in your image. It’s annoying that you can’t see a preview of the image.

Also, it’s always a square box, no matter what shape your photo has. But don’t worry, that’s why we’ve created a Smart Filter. We can always readjust the blur.

Set the centre of the blur. Usually, it should be where the subject is in your photo. Click “OK”. The background should now be blurred, and the subject still in focus.

Step 5: Fine-Tuning the Radial Blur Effect

Select the layer with the copied subject. Click the “Add layer mask” icon.

Select the Paint Brush and set its colour to Black. Paint over the subject. The Paint Brush will act as an eraser. If you set the colour to white, removed areas will reappear. You’ll see the changes in the layer mask thumbnail.Screenshot of Photoshop

Now, you can decide how much radial blur to apply to your image.Screenshot of Photoshop

Step 6: Readjust the Radial Blur

At any time, you can change the amount or shape of blur in Photoshop. Just double click on the Smart Filter icon in the Layers panel. The Radial Blur window will pop up again.

Save the image, and you’re done!

Photo of racing cars with radial blur effect

Conclusion

The blur filters in Photoshop are not just there to blur faces or something like that. You can get super creative and add that little extra to your image with radial blur effect.

The Radial Blur is perfect for adding movement in photography where it’s missing. And don’t forget to use Smart Filters so you can adjust the filters any time you want.

Now you’ve mastered the Photoshop radial blur effect, why not check out our tutorials on creating motion blur effect, using the Photoshop levels tool, or using perspective warp in Photoshop next!

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