Motion blur

If you have seen my Marseille post, you may have noticed the picture below.

A building in Marseille

This is an easy effect I have seen being used more and more recently. I will try to show you how to achieve it. I believe it creates an ethereal look and works very well when dealing with some king of pattern. Feel free to download the picture and try it for yourself.

Original file

Original file

1. Straighten (optional): depending on the direction you want to give, you may need to straighten up first. I wanted to give a 90 degrees angle here so I had to straighten the window frames. To do this open in Photoshop,  duplicate the layer, select the ruler tool either by picking it up in the Eyedropper tool group or clicking Shift+I until you get it. I did put my starting point at a window corner near the bottom and the end at an upward corner on the same column. The longer the distance, the more accurate you will be. Once done, go to Image -> Image Rotation -> Arbitrary. It will display the angle calculated. Just validate. Use the cropping tool on the result.

Just before the cropping

Just before the cropping

2. Selection: Use the rectangular Marquee tool (M) and select the zone you want to apply the effect to. I selected a zone that is about 1/3 of the picture and in the center. As I may want to redo this step in the future I will create a new layer with the selection. With the selection still active go to Layer->New Layer->Layer via Copy.

The new layer from Step 2

The new layer from Step 2

3. Motion blur: Duplicate the newly created layer and with the Magic Wand Tool (W) select the empty space at the bottom by clicking anywhere in the empty space. With the Shift key pushed do the same thing on the top part. Then go to Select->Inverse to get your original Marquee tool selection. With the selection active go to Filter->Blur->Motion Blur. A box like the one below should appear.

Step 3 Options

Step 3 Options

Angle will give you the direction of the movement. Below are 3 different angles

0 degrees. Only the distance is a factor here.

0 degrees. Only the distance is a factor here.

45 degrees

45 degrees

Minus 45 degrees. See how the direction is opposite to the 45 one

Minus 45 degrees. See how the direction is opposite to the 45 one

As I want a downward direction here, I will use -90 degrees. Distance will impact the force of the effect. The lower the distance is , the more you keep  the forms.

Distance 100

Distance 100

Distance 300

Distance 300

Distance 600

Distance 600

I used the -90 / 600 px setting. As I want to also have this effect upward I do another copy and apply the effect with 90 degrees and still 600 distance.

Move the layers up and down to your liking. You should get something like this.

Result of step 3

Result of step 3

4. Overlap : You can see that were the layer overlap you have some transition issues. To fix this I used a Polygonal Lasso (L) selection as follow

Step 4 Selection

Step 4 Selection

I select the upward layer and a use the Erase tool (E) on it. Once done I do the same with the downward layer.

Step 4 Result

Step 4 Result

5. Integration: The last step is to integrate your motion blur with the rest of the picture and do the adjustments you wish.

Here’s a creative use by someone way better than me:

By Sebastien Grobelny

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