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Creative Contrast With a Background Blur

by | May 30, 2010 | Articles, Photoshop | 0 comments

This tutorial is great for adding quick and simple contrast to a photo. When using this in your design, it is a good idea to choose a subject that has to do with target market.

To start, find a photograph with a main figure of subject in the middle, with a lot going on in the background. Duplicate the image so that you always have an original copy to work with in case something goes wrong. You want to make a selection around your main subject. I am using the quick selection tool, and I am going to refine my selection using the refine edge options in the top menu bar. The selection that we are making doesn’t have to be exact, because we are blurring the background anyway.

With your selection active, hit Command +I (Ctrl +I on the PC) to inverse the selection.Then hit command +J (Ctrl +J on the PC) to paste it onto its own layer. You should now have the background on its own layer above the woman. Command-click on the background image to load the selection again, because in that one, the woman is missing and where she should be in the image, the pixels are transparent. With that selection active, click on the layer with her and the background on it, and hit the delete key to get rid of it. This should give you a layer with the woman on it by herself and a layer with the background just by itself. Click on the layer with the background in it and drag it below the woman layer. Then, with the background-only layer active, go to Filter>Blur> Gaussian, and depending on your image size and dpi, you will need to set it to taste. I am using a screen resolution image, so mine was set to around 20 pixels.

Then, to take it one step further and make the image pop even more, I am going to desaturate the background, making the woman really stand out. To do this, i used a hue/saturation adjustment layer. I dropped the saturation on the master setting by 75% and clipped it to the background layer, so that the woman layer would not be affected.

The finishing touch is going to be a quote, letting you know what she is thinking as she walks down the street. I chose the typeface Univers Lt 55 and arranged it to emphasize key words, to make it more interesting than if I just plastered it in a straight line under her. It is a fun effect, and if you were using this in your work, you could add a logo or contact information. Maybe this example would be for a drug to help to increase your ability to remember things. I added a drop shadow to the text to make it stand out more, and sampled the shadow color from the red color in her tote bag.


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