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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Nov 4, 2012

Instagram DIY or Another Photoshop Tutorial

I've gotten a few requests for an easy tutorial on increasing blur in portraits. Here's a super easy how-to using a selection and a filter. For this sample, I used a low-res portrait of myself snatched from a social site.

1. Open your image with Photoshop and unlock the layer by double clicking on it and hitting “OK”.
Create a duplicate copy of that layer.

2. With the top layer selected choose the Lasso tool from the toolbar. Change the feather radius to between 75 and 250px—choose a higher feather for higher resolution images. I used 100 px for this portrait.

3. Draw an oval around the area that you want to remain sharp. When you close the shape,
Photoshop will alter your selection. Be sure that the area you choose is large enough to keep your
subject in focus. Redraw your selection if you need to.

4.From the top dropdown menu choose Select > Inverse.
Your marquee is now around the area that will be blurred!

5. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and choose a blur radius between 5 and 15—
use higher numbers for higher resolution images. I used 5.5 for this portrait. Hit “OK”

6. NOW, DO IT AGAIN. Choose Crtl + D OR Command +D on your keyboard to deselect the area.

7. Choose the lasso tool and draw another marquee around the subject. Your feather radius will remain the same. Select the inverse and then choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
 Use a smaller radius this time—between 1 and 5 px. I used 1.6 for this portrait.

You now have a sharp focus area and blurred border to your image. You can stop now or apply one more filter to add a little more visual interest. Check out the simple vignette…

(I used a blur radius of 34px and output of 99 for this one)