PSE 101: Blurring a Background

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If you have a fancy camera and know how to use it, you can get amazing depth-of-field effects on your photos. You know the ones– the subject is in crisp focus, and the background is out of focus, bringing the eye to just what you want it to see? Well, even if you DON’T have a fancy camera (or don’t know how to use it), you can get that same effect in PSE.

First, open a photo that you’d like to blur the background of, and duplicate the photo by right-clicking on the layer in the layer pallette, and choosing “Duplicate Layer.”

Next, blur the TOP layer by selecting the layer, then going to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur.

You might want to decrease the magnification so you can see part of what will be the background, and then adjust the blur until it suits you.

Then you’ll need to erase your subjects. Yes, erase your subjects! Choose the erase tool, and adjust the size of your brush to the best size for your subject.

It may help to make the bottom layer invisible (by clicking on the eye icon next to the layer), so that you can see more clearly what you have and have not erased.

When you’re all done, turn on the bottom layer, and merge the layers. Fake depth of field!

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