How to Blur the Background in Photoshop

  1. Get professional results without being an experienced photographer
  2. What to use to blur the background
  3. magic wand
  4. Lasso
  5. quick mask
  6. How to Blur in Photoshop
  7. Gaussian Blur
  8. to fade
  9. lens blur
  10. Radial Blur

Get professional results without being an experienced photographer

Depth-of-field tricks like blurring the background can make a photo look more professional or focus only on the elements of the image you want to focus on. Whatever your reasoning, learning to blur backgrounds in Photoshop is a great way to keep your photos looking neat so they can stand out from the crowd.

The following guide is for Adobe Photoshop CC version 20.0.4. Most methods also work with older versions of Photoshop, but the method may not be as accurate.

What to use to blur the background

Actually blurring the background is the most exciting part of the process, but you need the right tools. Here are a few different ways to do it.

magic wand

The Magic Wand (fourth from the top in the Tools menu) is the fastest and easiest tool for selecting wallpapers, even if it has its drawbacks. Works best when shooting with a bright background that contrasts strongly with the foreground. Once selected, click or tap the background of your photo to select it. You can hold down Shift to continue selecting additional items as needed.

If you don’t see the Tools menu, select Windown instruments in the main menu.


If your background is too complex for the magic wand, the lasso tool gives you more control over how you select it.

With the standard lasso you can freely draw your choice; The polygonal lasso allows you to draw straight lines. The magnetic lasso will try to stick to the edges of part of your image, in our case the background. Click or hold the tool Lasso (third from the top in the Tools menu) to choose which one to use.

Make sure you go all the way around what you want to select. You can always “close” the selection beforehand by pressing . to click ctrl or cmd and then click or tap anywhere on the image.

quick mask

A much more practical method of choosing a background is the second tool at the bottom of the toolbox, which looks like an EU flag in grayscale.

  1. Choose a resource quick mask

  2. Choose a resource Brush in the “Tools” menu and then use careful strokes to paint over whatever you want to select. It turns red.

  3. When you’re done, click the icon again quick mask to see your full selection.

You can also use the Clear tool to refine your selection.

Whichever method you use, once you’ve selected the background, be careful not to click or tap anywhere in the main window as you could invalidate the selection. If you do, click ctrl (or cmd z to cancel the action, or press ctrl (or cmd alt z to undo multiple steps.

If you find you’ve selected the foreground and not the background, just click ctrl (or cmd Shift l to invert your selection.

How to Blur in Photoshop

Now that you’ve chosen your background, you can start the blurring process. There are different ways to achieve different effects. Try the above tools and see what you think of the results.

Gaussian Blur

The most basic of all blurs, but often the most effective, is that Gaussian blurs merge and overlap all pixels, creating an overall blur effect.

  1. Select Gaussian Blur and then use the slider to control how blurry the background will be.

  2. You can use the preview pane to view part of your image, or check the box Example to see how it will look over the whole image.

  3. If you are satisfied with the result, select Okay and wait for it to be applied.

to fade

This effect gives the impression of movement, as if the background was moving at high speed, or the photographer was walking very quickly past it.

  1. Select motion blur.

  2. Use the distance modifier to change how strong the blur effect you want.

  3. You can also change the angle of movement by entering a number in the corresponding field or by clicking and dragging on the small grid.

lens blur

For a more subtle blur, more like what is achieved when using a shallow depth of field when shooting, use lens blur It has many options to play with, including:

  • Ray : Affects the strength of the blur.
  • Form And leaf curvature : Adjust the virtual lens causing the blur.
  • specular highlights † Used to brighten some areas of the image to simulate a longer exposure than the original shot.

Play with the settings until you find the effect you want, then select Okay

Radial Blur

Try Radial Blur for a unique look. It’s not exactly the natural look of the image, but in fact the object in the foreground looks like it just went through some sort of portal.

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