the original eiderduck picture... So lets begin!
the original eiderduck picture… So lets begin!

The final imageYou have probably seen a good few images with that trademark radial blur, derived from zooming in during an exposure. The problem with this is hat it is very hit-and-miss, and photoshop offers a much more precise, controlled way to apply the same effect.

Step 1

 

Begin by opening your image and applying any usual edits, such as levels, cropping, etcetera. Once you have finished that, hit Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate the background layer, or drag it over the create new layer icon.

Step 2

Go to Filter > Blur > Radial blur. The default will be pin, but we want a zoom effect, so select zoom instead. Adjust the amount to your satisfaction, I used 20.


Now you have a nice zoom blur. However, the image could probably benefi from a little more, so click on the original background layer and  hit Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate again. Move the new layer to the top of the layer stack, and hit Ctrl/Cmd+F to repeat your zoom blur filter. Do this a second time for even more oomph!

Step 3

Next step is to Retrieve some detail in the main subject, in the centre. This is done by adding a layer mask. Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All and you will have a blank layer mask. If you are using an earlier version of photoshop elements, you can create a similar effect by using the blur tool, BUT the changes will be destructive!

Select a soft edge brush, and make it quite large. Ensure that black is your foreground colour, and select the mask. The spray over your main subject. This reveals the finer details of the subject.

Step 4

The next step is to reduce the opacity of the layer below, adding further sharpness to the subject. Reduce the opacity to about 85%. Now you have a beautiful image! Apply any last edits, maybe some levels, or similar, and you are done!