8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 30, 2017 5:24 AM by davescm

    How do I blur a background?

    MarieMeyer Level 1

      What is the best way to blur a distracting background in a photo? I want to keep the general shapes and colors but reduce the sharpness of the details.

        • 1. Re: How do I blur a background?
          davescm Adobe Community Professional

          1.Use select and mask to select the parts you do not want to blur and output as a "New layer with layer mask"

          2. Click on the mask in the channels panel and at the bottom of the panel click on the dotted circle to load the mask as a selection

          3. Now go to your background layer - turn the visibility on with the eye symbol  and Edit - Fill -Content aware

          4. You can now Deselect your selection and then use Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur to blur the background layer.

           

          Steps 2 and 3 are necessary to prevent a blurred image of your foreground appearing as a halo

           

          Dave

          • 2. Re: How do I blur a background?
            Derek Cross Adobe Community Professional

            There are a number of ways, depending on the type of image and your skills.

             

            A quick and dirty method would be (and use a copy, not your original photo):

             

            1) In the Layers panel duplicate your image to a separate layer (ctrl/cmd J).

                1a) If you know how to add a Layer mask to the top layer that would make your actions non-destructive.

             

            2) Apply a gaussian blur to the top layer (Filter > Blur > Gauassian blur).

             

            3) Use the Eraser tool on the top layer to remove the blurred part that you want in focus (If you temporarily reduce Opacity to the top layer it will help you see what has to be removed.

             

            4) Save the image as a JPG.

            • 3. Re: How do I blur a background?
              davescm Adobe Community Professional

              What I did not add above is when blurring in Step 4 it is best to convert the layer to a smart object and then apply the filter. That way it is non -destructive and you can adjust the blur later if required.

               

              Dave

              • 4. Re: How do I blur a background?
                Zaid Al Hilali Adobe Community Professional

                If the background is out of focus even slightly, while the main subject in the photo (foreground) is in-focus, you may want to try to use a relatively new function from the menu Select > Focus Area, this would be a very fast way to select foreground then inverse to the background then add blur as detailed in above posts.

                • 5. Re: How do I blur a background?
                  sccarol Level 1

                  Dave, I am trying to follow these directions, since I have had the problem of blurring on the object I'm trying to keep sharp. In step 2, however, I don't understand how to do it. In the paths panel, I just have a blank box. So I click on the mask icon at the bottom and get a white rectangle. but it won't let me click on the dotted circle at the bottom. Can you help me with this? I am relatively new at PS. Thanks.

                  • 6. Re: How do I blur a background?
                    davescm Adobe Community Professional

                    Wow - I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that. Step 2 should of course have read "Click on the mask in the channels panel...................."

                    I have corrected it above - thanks for pointing it out

                     

                    Dave

                    • 7. Re: How do I blur a background?
                      sccarol Level 1

                      So nice to know that it wasn't just my ineptitude! thanks for your correction - I'll give that a try. I also discovered while fumbling around that if I convert the image to a smart object and create the selection/mask from there, I don't seem to have the problem with a blurred mask - does that sound right to you?

                      • 8. Re: How do I blur a background?
                        davescm Adobe Community Professional

                        No - put it down to my ineptitude when typing the original answer

                         

                        The steps to create a fill before blurring are just to prevent the subject itself from becoming part of the blur, which can create a halo type effect around the sharp part of the image. There are other ways - such as cutting the subject out etc. Without seeing your layer panel it is hard to comment on what exactly you did with the Smart Object.  However, if it works for you - go with it.

                         

                         

                         

                        Dave