The Blur tool

EEven with the tool set to 100% strength it can seem like it doesn't blur to a very high degree. In fact it feels like it reaches a plateau where it no longer has any effect.This is because as the pixels get more blurry you need an ever stronger blur to see any effect. But since the strength is at maximum,the tool just appears to come to a halt.

E There is however a simple way to overcome this and to boost the Blur tool's power.What you need to do is edit the Spacing setting for the brush you are using. The default 25% spacing is often not enough. Reducing the Spacing means the 'flow'of the effect in increased,so blurring is given a boost.

EThe tools can be set to different blending modes,and this can be very useful for certain effects.In Darken mode, blurring parts of an image creates an eerie dark glow around objects.The result is actually similar to some types of old cinematic film.

E Setting it to Lighten mode does the opposite and creates a light glow or halo.This is a great way to soften bright highlights within an image in order to create soft focus and bloom effects on otherwise dead sharp images.

Blurred or focused?

The trick for a successful blurring effect, as on the girl's portrait, is to apply the blur tool only to parts of an image and leave key areas, such as the eye, in focus.

Blurred light

Other blending modes on offer - Hue, Colour and Saturation, are less suitable modes to use with the Blur tool in most cases. But Lightness can be quite handy, as it blurs the details but not the colours.

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