A (Simple) Motion Blur Effect Tutorial, Part 2

September 24, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Last week we examined the application of applying a simple motion blur to a static scene to give it a sense of motion and abstraction.  Today, we will take a look at another image and apply a radial motion blur to enhance the “zoom” effect already performed in the camera.  I shot this image in Times Square, New York after dark a few years ago.  Stabilizing my camera, I minimized the aperture and maximized the shutter speed, zooming the lens as the shutter was open.  The result is what you see in the first image (fig.1).

In the second image (fig.2), I made a copy of the background layer (command-J or ctrl-J) and applied a simple radial blur to the layer, to enhance the blur already applied in the camera.  In photoshop, this can be found under the menu Filter-Blur-Radial Blur.  For blur method, I chose zoom, and set the amount to 100 (the maximum).

This created an entirely abstract pattern of color.  I want some of the original detail to come through, so I had to mask and erase portions of the blur layer -  in particular the stripes on the street and the eyes on the billboard in the upper right corner.  In the photoshop menu bar this can be accomplished by going to Layer-Layer Mask-Reveal All.  Here, I set the opacity to about 40 per cent and brush size appropriate to bring out the details.  I applied the brush a few times to the eyes to bring out more and more detail from the background.  The result is found in (fig.3).

In (fig.4), I cropped the image to set the vanishing point off center and boosted the overall saturation.  Any questions or comments are welcome below.


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