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Old Thursday 6th August 2015, 20:21   #1
Rapala
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How to Blur a Distracting Background

I find the background in this photo especially distracting and I am looking for advice on how to fix it. I have played around with it and have been able to apply a Guassian blur to the background and used the Blur tool to blur the legs and tail to a lesser extent, but I am looking for a way for it to look a bit more believable (or does it look alright?). Because the bird is sitting on the ground the blur needs to be gradual for the birds position into the fore- and background. Photo #1 shows it without the blur and #2 has the blur applied. Any comments on how I could have processed it better are welcome as well (So far it's been cropped, sharpened, and brightness/contrast, shadow/highlight and levels have been adjusted). Does anyone have a way to fix the background (I have CS2 BTW)? Thanks
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Old Saturday 8th August 2015, 13:50   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rapala View Post
I find the background in this photo especially distracting and I am looking for advice on how to fix it. I have played around with it and have been able to apply a Guassian blur to the background and used the Blur tool to blur the legs and tail to a lesser extent, but I am looking for a way for it to look a bit more believable (or does it look alright?). Because the bird is sitting on the ground the blur needs to be gradual for the birds position into the fore- and background. Photo #1 shows it without the blur and #2 has the blur applied. Any comments on how I could have processed it better are welcome as well (So far it's been cropped, sharpened, and brightness/contrast, shadow/highlight and levels have been adjusted). Does anyone have a way to fix the background (I have CS2 BTW)? Thanks
To me the blurred bird appears to be walking on air. I would not blur some of the foreground and area closest to the bird. Just does not look real.

I have just started playing around with PS but I am sure it can be blurred to perfection in there.

Last edited by HantaYo : Saturday 8th August 2015 at 17:49.
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Old Saturday 8th August 2015, 13:58   #3
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I've not a clue how to do Photoshopping I'm afraid.

What you have done in the second picture, to me, just makes the legs look out of focus. When I opened it I kept moving my head to try and improve the focus (I wear multifocal glasses).
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Old Saturday 8th August 2015, 16:04   #4
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I agree. My only attempt at improvement here would be to try and clone out the distracting grasses and replace with rocks. Nice subject. Don't wreck it.
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Old Monday 10th August 2015, 13:11   #5
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Here's my quick attempt done in Photoshop. I created a layer mask of the wren using Topaz Remask. On the background layer I applied a gaussian blur of about 3 with a layer mask created with the gradient tool so the foreground remains untouched. I also adjusted the colour balance and increased contrast slightly.
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2015, 03:15   #6
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Here's my quick attempt done in Photoshop. I created a layer mask of the wren using Topaz Remask. On the background layer I applied a gaussian blur of about 3 with a layer mask created with the gradient tool so the foreground remains untouched. I also adjusted the colour balance and increased contrast slightly.
I think leaving the foreground untouched makes it look more real. Why Topaz Remask?
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2015, 07:05   #7
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I think leaving the foreground untouched makes it look more real. Why Topaz Remask?
I find it is a good tool to quickly get good masks of birds.
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Old Sunday 16th August 2015, 23:40   #8
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Thank you all
I'm still wrapping my head around Photoshop and learning the ropes, so I don't quite understand layer masks yet (just figured out how to make detailed selections and how adjustment layers work). Does the layer mask feature in CS2 provide a comparable job to Topaz? If so, how exactly do you use it? Thanks
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Old Monday 17th August 2015, 06:47   #9
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Thank you all
I'm still wrapping my head around Photoshop and learning the ropes, so I don't quite understand layer masks yet (just figured out how to make detailed selections and how adjustment layers work). Does the layer mask feature in CS2 provide a comparable job to Topaz? If so, how exactly do you use it? Thanks
A layer mask is just a selection within a layer. If you create a selection and then create a new layer the selection will be applied to that layer.

You can create detailed layer masks in CS2. I prefer to use Topaz Remask, which is a plugin for Photoshop, as I find it allows me to get a good mask of the bird very quickly. I mainly use it to mask out the bird when I want to apply a lot of noise reduction to the background. Depending on how strong the noise reduction is this can also have the added benefit of slightly blurring the background.
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Old Saturday 29th August 2015, 17:01   #10
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Thanks Michael

Just out of curiosity (and mostly for fun) is there a way to remove the blurred foreground branch from the photo below? I've heard of CS6's content aware patch tool, which I assume would fix it, but I have CS2 which is quite outdated. Recently I heard that Adobe gave the CS6 Beta version away free, but it is now too late to get it. Can anyone fix this photo? Thanks
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Old Sunday 30th August 2015, 08:57   #11
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Thanks Michael

Just out of curiosity (and mostly for fun) is there a way to remove the blurred foreground branch from the photo below? I've heard of CS6's content aware patch tool, which I assume would fix it, but I have CS2 which is quite outdated. Recently I heard that Adobe gave the CS6 Beta version away free, but it is now too late to get it. Can anyone fix this photo? Thanks
I have CS5 and the content aware tool is useful if you need to repair something in the background. It looks around the adjacent areas and uses this to repair your selected area. You could potentially use this to remove the branch either side of the bird but I don't think much can be done in this case where the branch crosses the bird's head.
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