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.

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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


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.

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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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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


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.

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