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How to Blur a Background in Photoshop

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There are several ways to blur the background in photos using Adobe Photoshop – from quick and easy, to more detailed editing to blur out those unwanted backgrounds or to simply enhance your image to get that beautiful and professional look without using an expensive camera.

There are different types of blurs in photoshop for you to experiment with:

Average, Gaussian, Box, Blur More, Motion, Lens, Smart, Surface and Radial Blur.

Below are several ways on how to blur background in photoshop.

Easy Blur 1

Step 1: Open the image that you want to edit. Save it using a different file name (and in .psd).

Step 2: In the layers panel, right click on Background and select Duplicate Layer.

Step 3: Select the BLUR tool. That’s the button that looks like a water droplet.

Step 4: Identify the parts of the image that you’d like to blur. Adjust and select the kind of brush that you like, diameter, hardness, mode and blur strength.

Step 5: Start blurring the background image of your photo by holding the left click of your mouse as you apply the effect. You can zoom in on an image to have an easier time editing your photo. When satisfied with what you’re seeing, save your file as JPEG by clicking on FILE->SAVE AS.

Step 6: You’ve now blurred the background of your image.

Easy Blur 2

Step 1: Open the image that you want to edit. Save it using a different file name (and in .psd).

Step 2: In the layers panel, right click on Background and select Duplicate Layer.

Step 3: Make sure you highlight the background copy layer then click on Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur. You’ll notice that the entire image has been blurred.

Step 4: A Gaussian Blur pop out box will appear. Choose and experiment with different blur radius until you get the desired blurriness for your photo. In this sample, we will select a blur radius of 4.0 pixels. Click OK.

Step 5: Click and use the ERASER tool.

Step 6: Make sure the highlighted layer is the “Background Layer”.

Step 7: Set the brush diameter, opacity, and flow and start erasing the area and parts that you want the focus to be on.

Step 8: Save your photo as JPEG format.

Detailed Blur Using Lasso Tool

If you like a more detailed blur especially to concentrate on those hard corners, or if you are editing a professional photo and would like to blur the background of your photo, the LASSO tool is pretty useful to get desired blur results.

Step 1: Open the image that you want to edit. Save it using a different file name (and in .psd).

Step 2: In the layers panel, right click on Background and select Duplicate Layer.

Step 3: Select the LASSO tool. The LASSO tool has 3 options. The regular lasso that acts like a freehand allowing you to control the trace; the Polygonal Lasso which is more appropriate if you have edgy corners and shapes ; and the Magnetic Lasso is most helpful when there’s already a distinct difference between the parts you would like to blur and enhance (one of them is sharper). In this sample, we will choose the regular lasso tool – then adjust the feather rate (we will be using 4 to have a not so sharp trace).

Step 4: Trace the area that you’d like to focus on. Make sure you complete and close the gap when done tracing.

Step 5: After tracing, click on SELECT->INVERSE. Clicking on inverse will select the background instead of the image that you’ve just traced.

Step 6: Then select FILTER->BLUR->LENS BLUR.

Step 7: A customization box will appear and you can adjust the lens settings according to preference. Click on OK once satisfied with the blur.

Step 8: Click on LAYER->FLATTEN IMAGE to combine the selection you’ve made into a single image.

Step 9: Your photo with the blurred background is now ready to be saved. Click on FILE->SAVE AS. Type in your desired file name and the folder that you’d like your photo to be saved in. Choose JPEG in the file type and hit SAVE.

Step 10: In the window that will pop up, enter your desired image quality and hit OK.

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