Get creative with zoom blur

George Cairns shows you how to use filters and Layer Masks to mimic a striking in-camera effect.Zoom blur can be a challenge to pull off effectively. You need a slow enough shutter speed to catch the zoom blur effect in-camera without overexposing the shot, and you need to experiment with the speed at which you zoom in or out with your lens to get the best results. By recreating a zoom blur effect in Photoshop Elements you can add as much or as little zoom blur as you like, avoiding the hit-and-miss approach of producing the effect in-camera. You doneven need to worry about over-exposing the image, especially when adding the effect to a daytime shot. All in-camera zoom blur streaks emanate from the centre of the frame, but by adding the effect in Photoshop you can also change the angle of the blur effects to match the pictureperspective more effectively.

Get creative with zoom blurHere, wedemonstrate how to apply zoom blur to a separate layer and get the blur to converge on a street scenelow-angle vanishing point. This enables the computer-generated blur to follow the perspective in the picture and evoke the movement of the traffic. Wealso show you how to edit Layer Masks and adjust layer opacity to take control over the strength of the zoom-blur effect.

Crop and straighten 1 Open zoomblur_before.jpg. The image is tilted, so grab the Crop tool and set Aspect Ratio to No Restriction. Drag a crop box to lose some of the frame s edges, then drag outside one corner to rotate it so the bottom is parallel with the horizon. Hit Return. Adjust blur attributes 2 Set Blur Method to Zoom, then tick Best Quality. Drag the Blur Centre down to meet the shot s horizon. Click OK. Blur again 3 Click on the original Background layer and press Ctrl/Cmd+J to create another copy. Drag this copy to the top of the layer stack. Press Ctrl/Cmd+F twice to apply twice as much zoom blur to the top layer. You should now have two blurred layers to blend together. Get creative with zoom blurMake a hole 4 Click on the mask, then set the foreground colour to black by clicking on the swatch in the Tools palette. Spray over the most distant areas. Blend the layers 5 Click on Layer 1 and reduce its Opacity to 84%. This blends some of the sharper details from the original image (like the bus s destination) with the streaks of zoom blur. Thanks to masks and blends you can control the zoom blur amount with precision. Tweak the tones 6 Set the black slider under the histogram to 5 and the grey slider to 1.12 to improve the contrast. To add a cross-processed green tint, set the top dropdown menu to Red and drag the grey slider to 0.70.

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