How to use the shape blur filter in Photoshop tutorial

How to use the shape blur filter in Photoshop with custom shapes tutorial (CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc)

Start point for the shape blur

The tool can use the Photoshop shapes (CSH presets) as source for a blur effect using different radii. You can find the filter via the filter menu and blurs. The result can be more or less successful depending on the path selected. The paths appear in the standard presets panel in the tool so you can quickly load any vector path you want to use especially if you have 100s of different CSH sets (such as those available on this site such as grid shapes and gear shapes and cat shapes). The effect below was using a line themed artwork in the path section and a very low radius added to a woman in a room.


christmas tree effect


Low settings

The filter works best (it seems) with lower settings though it depends on the source image and source path. For me it is very similar to the excellent Camera motion blur in Painter, though I wish Photoshop would have a similar feature as that tool (since Adobe seems to be adding more and more blurs these days). The result below shows first a high setting and you can see from that the radius totally wipes out the image and there is little to see though at this point you could of course just fade the effect via the edit menu to see more of the image again. The next is a more subtle setting of 5px for the same path and you will see the changes are dramatic. It is a pity that the scale of the radius is a little more sensitive but you can always just enter the value into the field. You can, if you wish, just re-apply over and over with the 5px setting and eventually the image will probably get to the same level of blur and you will notice that the actual path at those low settings make a very subtle difference in the actual result as well. The last image in this section is the result of 20 applications of the low setting radius with the same path. You could always alternate the paths and settings or perhaps interweave effects and this could all be set into an action for re-application perhaps






multiple subtle


Using a selection and adding the effect

You can use the effect with the entire image but you don't need to, you can add a selection such as perhaps focus on the person in the image and then add the effect to the rest of the image or perhaps the person. You can use any number of tools to select the area


selection effect


Blurring in channels

You don't have to use the effect on the same channels. You can select the red channel and add the effect with one path and one radius and then use the effect again on the green channel with the same or different settings and so on. This can be done by going to the channel panel and selecting them individually. The image below using the approach with different paths and uses an auto tone to create a surreal color effect at the end with the smear (you could also use the HDR toning tool perhaps as in the next image and the HDR toning can be found via the image adjustments menu)




hdr toning and channels


Using them as a smart object / filter

You can select any image and convert it into a smart object via the layer menu convert command. You can then add one or more of the blur effects as well as combine the effect with tools such as oil paint filter and camera raw etc as well as image adjustments added to only that image


smart filters


Shape blur filter and text in Adobe ® Photoshop ®

All the above can also be added to type in PS. Create some text and then add the effect to the text either using it as a smart object / filter or as just a pure image. The results on type can be very variable and it is quite easy to totally wipe out the small letters in any page etc of text.


Related items

You can find more vector presets via Photoshop custom shapes They can be used in PS and PS Elements as well as exported to other applications


You can also find many additional tutorials on Photoshop and shapes such as how to use the shapes as a pattern tile and new features of the custom shapes in Photoshop CS6 (and, of course, beyond)


Video tutorials on the same subject

Video showing the use of the source material [Youtube]

How to use the shape blur in different channels [Youtube]