One of the many ways to stylize your work as a graphic designer is to blur it, making the image look unclear or fuzzy. Photoshop has a Blur feature with various types to choose from. Here is a straightforward step-by-step guide on using the blur layer in Photoshop to understand how to use the blur feature.

Key takeaways

  • Select a layer or object in Photoshop
  • Go to the Filter menu => Blur
  • Adjust settings in the box as needed
blur a layer in photoshop featured image

Step-by-step guide on how to use Photoshop blur layer

open a new document in photoshop

Step 1: Create/open a new canvas

The first step, as illustrated below, is creating a new work canvas. Scroll to the left-hand side of your Photoshop screen; at the Menu toolbar, click on Files. A drop menu box appears; scroll down it and click on New.

A dialogue box pops up with the necessary details for the new canvas. Details such as width, height, resolution, etc., are needed. Go ahead and fill in the required information as seen above, create a name for the canvas, and once done, scroll to the right-hand side of the dialogue box and click OK. Filling the dialogue box opens up a new canvas immediately.

a blank canvas in photoshop

Step 2: Create a shape (a rounded-rectangle shape)

The second step is to create something on your canvas to effectively employ the blur feature in Photoshop. For this illustration, the designer picked the rectangle shape to work.

Scroll to the left-hand side of your Photoshop screen, and click on your tool shape. Pick the desired shape you want; here, the option is a rectangle shape. Drag your tool to your canvas and create your shape. You can go ahead to fill in the shape. The filling used in the illustration above is a red-colored filling. Go ahead and use any filling you want to make your work better.

a red rectangle in the black photoshop canvas

Step 3: Highlighting the rectangle shape using a pick tool

After creating your rounded rectangle shape on your canvas and filling it with your desired color, you need to highlight the shape to use the blur function/feature.

To highlight your shape, scroll to the right-hand side of your Photoshop screen; at the Layer menu on the screen, click on the layer named Rounded Rectangle 1. By clicking on that layer, you are automatically highlighting/selecting the image for the next phase/step of your work.

Selecting the blur option

Step 4: The blur feature on Photoshop

To access the blur features on Photoshop, scroll to the topmost part of your Photoshop screen, at the Menu toolbar, and click Filter. A drop-down box appears. On it, scroll downwards and select Blur. Once you choose that, another drop-down box with a list of different types of Blur appears.

On it, you’ll see some blur types that are faded, i.e., you can’t access those types of Blur, and then you’ll see other types of it like Surface Blur, Radical Blur, Blur More, Blur, Gaussian Blur, and so on. The commonly used Blur types are the Gaussian Blur, Lens Blur, and Motion Blur. Regardless of the popular ones, you can always choose other types, depending on the effect you desire.

For this step-by-step illustration, the Blur type employed is the Gaussian Blur.

Rasterizing the layer

Step 4: Using the blur feature

After you click on the Blur type you desire, a dialogue box pops up right on your screen, asking you if it can Rasterize the shape.

To Rasterize an image means to change it from being a Vector type image to a Bitmap Image.

You need to Rasterize your image because a shape is naturally a vector image, and in Photoshop, you can’t Blur or sharpen it. Hence, the need to Rasterize it.

Note: Photoshop images are in the Bitmap image format. If the image on the screen is already a Bitmap image, the option to Rasterize it will not appear on your screen.

On the dialogue box on your screen, click Ok to allow Photoshop to convert your image to Bitmap format.

Adjusting blur settings

Step 5: A blurred image

After clicking Ok, as done in the previous step, you’ll see a dialogue box on your screen titled Gaussian Blur. On it, you can change the Radius, which is the extent to which the blurring should go. For this illustration, the Radius is 15.5. Once you adjust the image right above, it gives you a preview of what the main image will look like once done. Once satisfied with the blurred level, click Ok on the right-hand side of the dialogue box.

final blurred image

Once you click Ok on your screen, the final product is what you see on your screen, as illustrated above.


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Blurring an image is mainly for special effects, a means to stylize your work. As a graphic designer, you need to know which type of Blur will suit your work and how to use the variety of blur types available in Photoshop. With this straightforward guideline, you’ll master how to use the feature in no time.