In this tutorial you’ll learn how to make strategically radial blurred background imagery. Along the way you’ll pick up a number of other useful techniques and strategies.

Note: Very few base images will lend themselves to successful radial blurred backgrounds. A radial blur without a strategically selected focal point typically leads to visual noise.

Gallery Imagery

The nature of the geometric focal point will help you select imagery more likely to produce visually interesting blurs.

Selecting Our Image

Please do NOT violate anyone’s copyright because we DO intend to use the imagery for commercial purposes.

Starter File

Download the largest version of the starter file from Pexels.

Thanks, Timur!

Crop to Focal Point

Take care to get the crop exactly on the mark. The more precise your crop, the better chance you’ll have to generate visual interest.

Image Size

In the Menu, use Image > Image Size to upsample your image to 5000 x 5000 pixels.

You may need to also adjust the Canvas Size as explained in the video.

Convert to Smart Object

Smart Objects are your friends. Use them!

Enhance in Camera Raw

Season to taste. Unlike cooking, we CAN go back and use less salt if we spoil the taste—or in this case, if we have too much color or detail enhancement.

Good News!

If you move the focal point, Option > Reset re-centers the focal point.

All these years and I never knew that. D’oh!

The First Radial Blur

Sometimes one blur is all it takes.

But if you stop now you’ll never know if additional blurs might add visual interest.

Secondary Smart Object

Adding the blur to an additional layer adds another layer of creative opportunity.

Blend Mode

It turns out Hue was final Blend Mode I chose. Your mileage may vary.

Experiment and have fun with strategic radial blurs.

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