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[Technique] Have fun with the filter effect in Photoshop!

In this tutorial we will be exploring a couple of the various filters Photoshop has to offer. We will be looking at how to create movement, depth and two different typography effects all using simple steps and filters.

Time: 45 min.

Level: Intermediate

Program: Photoshop CS6

Images used:

Soothing ripples aim to relax at the marina.

Soothing ripples aim to relax at the marina.  10492116@Ian Grainger

Vector - vector illustration of feather

Vector illustration of feather. 18500284@Roman Malyshev

Stock Photo - magical gate in a mysterious forest with fog

Magical gate in a mysterious forest with fog. 13403280@andreiuc88

First Filter: Blur Filter For out first filter we will be covering a few of the Blur options. Motion Blur, Radial Blur and Gaussian Blur to be exact. These filter will be some of the strongest tools in your toolbox and will provide you ways to create movement, depth, and various other effects!

First Effect: Creating A Fog-Like Text Effect with Motion Blur Instead of using the “Motion Blur” filter to add movement we will be using it to distort and stretch creating a ghostly fog text effect. Step One In a blank document paste an image of a foggy forest. I will be using the one below (Photo #13403280)

Step Two

Next, using the font “Times New Roman”, in the center of your image type out “The Forest” in all caps. Set the layer mode to “Soft Light”

Duplicate the text layer and got to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Set the Angle to 90 degrees and the Distance just enough to where you can see the text start to blur out vertically. The amount will depend on the size of your image. Set the layer opacity to 50%.

Duplicate the layer you just applied the Motion Blur to and RE apply the same Motion Blur. This will intensify the current effect and further pull out the motion blur effect.

Repeat the step one more time.

Step Three Now, we are going to do the same think AGAIN only this time set the Angle to “0” so the the motion blur is moving horizontally. Again, the Distance amount will depend on you image size.

Step Four For the finishing touches we are going to first duplicate the text layer again, and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set it to a high amount. We just want to add a large but slight glow to our text.

Next, duplicate your text layer again and place it on the ground of your image, and squish it using the Transform Tool.

To add a glow to the ground go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur again and apply another large blur. Set the layer mode to “Overlay”.

Step Five Create a new layer below all your previous layers, but above your background, and with a very large soft round brush paint a dark pal green color (#243a37) behind your text in the middle of the forest. Set the layer mode to “Overlay”. This is to make the text more readable.

Finally, below the layer you just created do the same thing again, only this time with a light pale green (#a7e5dd), and set the layer mode to “Screen”.

Second Effect: Creating Movement With Radial Blur The Radial Blur tool creates a much more organic sense of movement that Motion Blur.

Step One Grab some feathers (photo #18500284) and arrange them on your image. Arrange them both behind and above your text, in the fore-gourd, mid-ground and background.

To add a bit more depth, make the closer feathers darker than the ones farthest from the front.

Step Two Next, with the lasso tool with a medium “Feather” amount (the amount will depend on your image, just make sure it’s enough so there are no harsh edges) first select the ends of the feathers that are in the front.

Now, go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and set the Blur Method to “Spin”, the Quality to “Best” and the Amount to a small number. Again the number will depend on the size of your image. If you don’t like the results simply undo, and try and new amount! you don’t want anything too extreme, just enough to give the feathers in front movement. Next, do the same to the feathers in the mid and fore ground. You may have to lower the Feather rate on the Lasso Tool and the Blur Amount on the Radial Blur filter.

Third Effect: Creating Depth with Gaussian Blur My favorite way of using the Gaussian Blur filter is creating depth with it. It helps give composites a more dynamic feel and is incredibly easy. Step One With the Lasso Tool select the fore-ground feathers. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set it to a low Radius. Again, this will depend on the size of your image. You want it to be enough to where you blur out any fine details, but the general shape of the feather is still there.

Now select the feathers in the background and add a slight Gaussian blur to them as well. Step Two When working with Gaussian Blur I will often give a slight outer glow to the object being blurred to give the object more light and make it blend better. Give the feathers a Outer Glow layer effect. Settings: Blend Mode “Soft Light”, Opacity 50%, Color white, and size around 25px (or more depending on image size).

Now to add more feathers, duplicate the feathers layer and flip it horizontally and vertically. Erase a few feathers to make it look less repetitive

Finally, to add more depth, using the Lasso Tool select the trees and ground furthest in the back of your image.

Lastly, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and add a slight blur just to the very back of your image.

Second Filters: Distort and Liquify Filter Next we are going to explore some possibilities with the Distort and Liquify filter. Effect: Creating Words in Rippled Water We are going to use a combination of the two filters to create a more organic looking ripple effect. While Photoshop does have it’s own Ripple filter, it’s best used as a support to the much more powerful Liquify filter. Step One Select a image of a rippled pool of water (Photo #10492116), and in the middle type your phrase in a large, thicker font. I am using “Sitka”.

Step Two Rasterize your text by right clicking on the layer > “Rasterize Type”. Now, using the “Perspective” option in the transform tool stretch out your text to the back horizontally.

Step Three Next, go to Filter > Liquify and you should see something like this:

Make sure you have “Advanced Mode” checked. You can check “Show Backdrop” on and off if you need reference to what your image as a whole looks like. Using a medium brush side, drag the brush back and forth horizontally, slowly over the text. We are trying to match the distortion/shape in the waves.

Step Four To blend your text more, now we are going to go to Filter > Distort > Ripple. The amount will depend on the the size of your image and the size and shapes of the ripples in your water. I added just a slight extra ripple to my text. Size should be set to “Medium”

Step Five To blend your text better, set the text layer mode to “Soft Light”.

Duplicate the text layer and double click the left side of the layer to open up the “Layer Style” panel. Set the “Blend If” sliders to what you see below, or something similar. This will bring some highlights to our text.

Now duplicate that layer.

Step Six To tie everything all together create a new layer and with a very large, white, soft brush paint a large blob in the middle of your image and set the layer to “Soft Light”. Bring down the opacity to around 40%-50%.

Create a new layer above that and with the same brush, but this time set to a dark blue (#001528), paint around the corners of the image. And finally, create a Color Lookup layer set to “Soft Warming” at 50%, and above that a Color Lookup layer set to “Foggy Night” set to 85%.

There you go! Have fun with these filters and it will give you endless possibilities! Share your results with us below=D


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