Add a blurred background effect to Photoshop

In this lesson, I will teach you how to create a blurred background effect without luminous halos around the main composition object. First we use the tool. Select and Mask (Selection and mask) to create a perfect selection of the main object and cut it. Then apply a background filter. Field Blur (Blur field).

Step 1

We open a working photo through the menu File – Open (File – Open). So that we have a backup copy of the unedited photo, use the Ctrl + J key combination to duplicate the original layer.

Call the copy “Blur” and turn off the visibility of the original layer by clicking on the eye icon next to the layer name.

Step 2

First we need to create an exact selection of the model in the photo. For this we will use the tool Pen Tool (P) (Feather). I did not waste time on hair extraction, because later we will separately work on refining this area.

Step 3

Next, without removing the selection, we take Quick Selection Tool (W) (Fast selection). If you are using Photoshop CC 19.1, a button will appear on the top panel. Select and Mask (Selection and mask). Click on it to open the panel with the selection parameters.

If you use Photoshop CS6, first apply the mask to the layer with the selection, then right-click on the mask and select Refine Mask (Refine mask). As a result, you will have a window with almost the same settings as in Select and Mask (Selection and mask).

Step 4

Opening a window Select and Mask (Selection and mask), select the tool Refine Edge Brush Tool (R) (Refine the edges) and run them through the hair to remove the background. How it works? The tool performs calculations and determines where the background, and where the details of the model.

Please note that I did not save small sticking hairs. Instead, I deleted them beforehand. Later I will write a lesson in which I will tell you in more detail how to cut hair and what to do with small hairs. For now let’s focus on the current lesson.

After working with the tool, you should get the result as shown below.

Below you can compare the results before and after use. Select and Mask (Selection and mask).

Do not close the window with the settings Select and Mask (Selection and mask) and go down to the settings Output Settings (Export settings). On the menu Output To (Output to) choose New Layer with Layer Mask (New layer with layer mask). This means that the result of the selection will be displayed on a separate layer with a mask. If you want, you can activate the option Decontaminate Colors (Clear colors) to remove color distortion.

After clicking OK, another layer “Blur Copy” with a mask will appear on the layers panel.

Step 5

Now we have a perfectly cut out object, and we can tackle the background. To start, re-select the model by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on the mask thumbnail on the layers panel.

Then select the “Blur” layer:

Then go Select – Modify – Expand (Allocation – Modification – Expand):

Step 6

In the window that opens, enter 5 pixels to expand the selected area to this value. Extending the selection will allow us to avoid the glow around the object.

After expanding the selection go Edit – Fill (Edit – Run Fill) and in the menu Content (Content) choose Content-Aware (Given the content). Configure the remaining parameters:

Step 7

If you turn off the copy of the “Blur” layer, you will see that the person has almost completely disappeared. Photoshop cloned different parts of the photo and just filled the selected area with them.

Right click on the “Blur” layer and select Convert to Smart Object (Convert to smart object). Also, do not forget to turn on the visibility of a copy of the Blur layer.

Next, apply Filter – Blur Gallery – Field Blur (Filter – Gallery blur – Blur the field).

Step 8

Now we have to configure the filter. First, we add two reference points in the center of the document (we simply click with the mouse in the place where we want to add a point). This will create a smooth blur from the top center border of the document to its center. On the panel on the right install Blur (Blur) 32 pixels.

If you want to blur the entire background, then one point will be enough. Please note that for each point we set the degree of blur separately.

Once again, click on the document to add a second point. This point we indicate the place after which the blur disappears. The program will only blur the area between these two points. If you blur the bottom of the background, the result is not very beautiful. Therefore, set the blur of the second point to 0 pixels.

Step 9

Look below for the result of the blur. As you can see, there is no glow around the model:

Do not forget that the filter Field Blur (Field Blur) we apply to the Blur layer. Do not apply it to the Blur Copy layer.

Step 10

If we take a closer picture, we will see that there is no light noise in the background, which is on the model.

Select the “Blur” layer and go to Filter – Camera Raw (Filter – Camera Raw).

Tab Effects (Effects) (fx icon) there are settings Grain (Corn). Just pull the sliders to set Amount (Value), Size (Size) and Roughness (Roughness) as shown below.

And we get this final version:

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