Even when you’ve captured the perfect moment, you can add some drama to your still image using a variety of Blur filters.
Dancer wearing colorful costume with a blur effect that conveys movement

Convert your image to a Smart Object  

In the Layers panel, right-click near the image name and choose Convert to Smart Object so you can add effects without permanently changing your original.

Choose Convert to Smart Object in the Layers panel

Blur the background

To play with depth of field, choose Filter > Blur Gallery > Field Blur. You’ll see a pin in place blurring the entire image. Click an area you want to keep in focus to create a second pin, and then drag its blur dial to zero. Add more pins to set different amounts of blur for other areas.

In the Blur Tools panel, drag the Blur slider to adjust the value and then click OK

Add a motion blur

Create a sense of speed by adding a blur that flows in one direction. Choose Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and adjust the Angle to match the direction of your subject’s motion. Use the Distance setting to control the amount of blur.

Adjust the Distance slider in the Motion Blur window to control the amount of blur

Refine and define 

Isolate the blur effect by masking the areas where you want to keep detail. In the Layers panel, click the Smart Filter mask thumbnail and use the Brush tool to paint over areas that should not be blurred, like in this example, where we kept the racer in focus.

Use the Brush tool to paint the areas of the artwork that will stay in focus

Add motion along a path

To create movement in multiple directions or along a curved path, choose Filter > Blur Gallery > Path Blur. Drag the controls to create a blur in the direction of the arrow. Click and drag in other areas of the image to create blur paths in other directions.

For more on adjusting Path Blur options, see Path Blur.

For more on image selection techniques, see Easily and accurately select image areas.

Update the Path Blur options in the Blur Tools panel

Learn more about Adobe's online photo effects tools.

11/02/2016
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