If you are going into photoshop then there is a chance you will come across the blur tool. The main reason is blur tool is a pretty handy option to photo editing in various ways. You can do a lot with this simple tool setup.

While it’s very handy it’s a bit tricky to use as well. You will need to learn the different aspects of using the blur tool. That’s why we are here to help you learn how to use the blur tool in photoshop.

So, open up your photoshop on the side and start practicing along with this guide.

How To Use Blur Tool In Photoshop

The purpose of using blur tools is many to describe. We will discuss that later on in the article. Let’s go through the process or technicalities involved in using the blur tool. First of all, you will need to open the picture on photoshop that you want to edit.

Then get to the layer panel on your photoshop workspace. Right-click on the tab that says background. That’s your background image layer. You will need to duplicate the layer. You will see the option for duplicating the layer when you right-click.

Having a duplicate layer keeps your original file intact and you can do whatever you want with the duplicate layer. So, things get easy, and if you make a mistake that won’t bother you much.

Then you have to select the blur tool from the tools section. You might not have the option in the beginning. If that’s the case then go to the top menu and click on the Tools tab. Choose the blur tool there. You will see the sharpen tool and smudge tool also. To customize the brush, you can simply go to the brush preset picker.

Usually, that’s on the top of the photoshop options. From there you will need to work on the size, hardness, strength, and shape of the blur tool. Size refers to the thickness of the brush you are choosing. Hardness works with how sharp the brush will work.

There is also an option called mode. This determines the blending options of the blur that you are going to put. There are various options such as normal, overlay, multiply, darken, lighten, etc.

This part mostly depends on the results you are looking forward to. The kind of blur you want in the photo has to do a lot with the settings. Once you are satisfied with the brush settings you can just start using it. This will allow you to blur out specific parts of the photo. It’s called selective blur. Apart from this blur option, there are several blur filters that you can use in photos. We will discuss them later in the article.

For now, let’s go through the basic use of the blur tool which is to isolate a subject from the background.

Creating Depth Of Field

This is an effect you get from DSLR cameras automatically. In fact, with advanced mobile phones, you can get the same effect. But if you don’t have either or you are not satisfied with the results from your device then don’t worry. The blur tool in photoshop is always there to save the day. We will be discussing the later one here.

So, in the second option of creating depth of field first thing to do is isolating the subject. To do that select the quick selection tool. Or you can use the pen tool for more precision. Now using either of the tools make a selection of the subject. Then you will see an option on the top that says select and mask. This will take your editing window to a new workspace.

On the new window, you will already see some form of isolation of the subject. In view mode, you can see the difference. Then select the quick selection tool and work around the tight spots especially the edges of the subject. You will see some sliders on the side. You can make adjustments using them.

When you are done making adjustments get to the next step. Create a new layer with a layer mask. You will see that on the layers option drop-down menu. This will give you an isolated subject. Now, hide the subject layer. Now select the background layer and click it while holding down ctrl/cmd. This will load the mask selection. Then go to the top tab and choose select. There you will see an option that says modify. Click on that and choose to expand.

A new window will popup. There you have to choose 10 pixels in the settings and click ok. Then make the duplicate layer visible again and press shift+delete. There you will see a window called Fill. Choose the option that says content-aware and click ok.

Press Ctrl+D. This will make the subject invisible again. This is the last step of the process. Now, make your subject visible and select the background layer. Then from the top menu go to the blur gallery in the filter options. Select field blur from there. This will bring a pin to the center of the image. Now, keep a pin on the subject and move around the sliders. These sliders allow you to control the blurriness. And then add another pin on the background. Then make it blurry. You will need to work with the sliders a lot to get the desired results.

A general tip is to keep some areas near the subject less blurry than the background. And that’s how to use the blur tool in photoshop. We discussed one use of it in detail. Now let’s check out the different uses of the blur tool and how they work.

How To Blur In Photoshop

Well, now that you know how to use the tool let’s go through how you can get the most out of it. Apart from the selective blur, there are different blur options available in photoshop. These are known as blur filters. When you ask how to blur in photoshop you are mostly referring to these different types of blurs.

Motion Blur:

Well, this is pretty simple to understand. Whenever you click a picture from a motion you will see a natural blur that comes along with some trails. You can create that in photoshop with this filter.

You can make a static element look in motion with this motion blur option. Usually, this filter is used for making advertisements for automobiles. In short, if you want to add a motion effect on something still you just go for this filter.

Gaussian Blur: 

This blur was originally introduced by a physicist and mathematician. With the use of this blur, you can easily create a nice and smooth effect on your image. It helps a lot in smoothening certain elements of an image. One of the most popular usages of this blur is in reducing digital noise from your images.

Also, you can add blur in specific parts of the images to make it much more interesting. Another great use of this blur effect is getting smooth skin on your images. Learning the gaussian blur is surely worth it because of its wide usage.

Radial Blur:

Radial blur can be understood with the idea of the shape. Whenever you want to add a blur that acts circularly you can use radial blur. It also looks a little bit like motion blur. But instead of a complete motion, you get to see a zooming effect. You can get this from your camera with some skills too.

But if you want to take the easy way you can just go for editing it in your image. Using this blur depends mostly on your creativity. How you can integrate it into your images will be completely up to you.

Average Blur:

This is a blur filter that isn’t commonly used. Because there are various color grading options available out there. Still, if you want to reduce some extra colors from your images you can try out this blur option. It works almost like the gaussian blur but the usage is a little different.

Using this will allow you to take down some of the colors from your image and averaging them. It’s helpful if you have got too many colors going on in your image. Also, this is something that you can’t get from a device you just have to rely on editing for this one.

Field blur:

When people ask how to blur in photoshop, most of the time they mean-field blur. We already discussed a lot about field blur. We discussed the process of using it as well. The basic use of field blur is creating depth of field in images.

You can even have different levels of focus even without a camera that features this option. With the use of field blur, you can make the subject look more prominent in the image. Also, if there are distracting elements in the background you can use this blur filter to fix the issue.

Lens blur:

This is one of the most controlled blur options you can get on photoshop. You can control the depth of the blur, the location of the blur precisely. It almost works like a field blur but gives you much more control. You can have control over the color options of your image with this blur filter.

The results you get from the filter are much more precise and the blur is much more focused on the element you are targeting. So, if you are looking for a blur option that requires on-point blurriness then lens blur is the way to go.

Box blur

Box blur is a bit tricky to understand and work with. What it does is it gives you a blur effect surrounding a certain pixel. With that specific pixel information, it averages the color profile of the nearby pixels and gives you a result. In terms of customization, you get an option like adjusting the radius of the pixels to be averaged.

You can blur a picture with this filter quickly. But the drawback with this one is the unrealistic vibe of the filter. So, if you are working with something where you want to make it look dreamy and unrealistic then this is the best option to go with.

So, this how-to blur in photoshop. These are some extensions or filters that allow you to achieve different types of blurs from your images. But if you want to do things manually then you can always go for selective blur with just the blur tool brush. It’s a little hard to master so you will need to put in some time and effort to get this done.


Here, we tried to make a way for the people to get into photoshop. It’s undoubtedly a great skill to acquire in the modern world. And blur tool is a huge part of it. Hopefully, now you know how to use the blur tool in photoshop. We tried to describe things in detail and keep it easy for you. We discussed all there is to know about blur tools. So, you don’t need to worry about missing out on anything in particular.