Photoshop tutorial: Master Photoshop CC 2014’s new Path Blur

Photoshop CC 2014’s new Path Blur to create a rear sync flash effect


The new Path Blur filter in Photoshop CC 2014 is a great tool for adding or enhancing the idea of movement within an image. Whether its a ball being thrown, a racing car or a galloping horse, movement within an image is great for adding narrative or direction to an otherwise static image.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

In this tutorial, photographer Tigz Rice will show how a dance based image can be enhanced by creating a rear sync flash effect in Photoshop.

Tigz also reveals tips to get the best out of Photoshop CC 2014’s Path Blur filter.

Time to complete

5 minutes

Software needed

Photoshop CC 2014

Step 1


Open your chosen image in Photoshop CC 2014 and convert your image to a Smart Object by right-clicking on the background layer and selecting Convert To Smart Object.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

Tip: Working on a Smart Object gives you the flexibility of amending your blur transformations at any point later on in your workflow, rather than relying on the History Panel.

Step 2


Now go to Filter > Blur Gallery > Path Blur, which will bring up the Blur Gallery dialog box. Photoshop will automatically add a straight blue path to your image to control the blur’s direction.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

Click and drag the end points to control the direction of your blur. There is also a mid-point on the path, which can be repositioned to add curvature to your path.

Tip: To add more curved points on your path, click anywhere along the blue line.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Step 3


Click and drag on a new part of your image to create additional blur paths on your image. In this particular image, I’ve created a motion path for each limb, plus an extra one for the head and a final one for the long fabric.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

Tip: You can control the strength of each individual blur path by hovering over an end point of a path and using the little radial sliders that pop up.

Step 4


In the Path Blur section of the Blur Tools panel on the right hand side, click on the drop down menu and choose Rear Sync Flash, which mimics the in-camera settings and will create a frozen strobe flash at the end point of each blur point.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

Adjust the Speed and Taper sliders until you get the desired effect. Once you’re happy with the blur paths, click OK.

Step 5


Back in the main Photoshop screen, you can now clean up your blur paths by clicking on the Smart Filters Mask and press Cmd/Ctrl + I to invert the mask to black, which will hide the blur effect. Now, with the Brush tool (B), choose a soft-edged brush set to white and carefully brush in the areas of image you want to add more movement to.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

Advertisement. Article continues below