Hello everyone. Today we are going to transform an image to create a motion blur effect in Photoshop. It is a very simple technique where you can take an image of a standing car for example and turn it into a driving car by applying a motion blur effect to the background.
Start by opening an image of a parked car in Photoshop. When you take photo yourself remember to be quite far from the car. If you are too close to the car, like in the example on the left, the effect will not be realistic. Keeping the car far form the camera leaves you with a lot of space to work with.
I assume you have chosen the image that you are happy with and you do not need to do any adjustments (if you do, make any adjustments required). For example, you may want to adjust the colour in the image to create an interesting effect. I have increased contrast by applying Curves Adjustment Layer using Adjustments Panel (new in CS4).
Back to the image, you will need to extract the car from the background and put it on its own layer. I am going to use Quick Selection Tool (new in CS3) and then I will refine the selection in Quick Mask Mode. As you can see from the image, my selection looks very well with Quick Selection Tool (and it really was quick 😉 ). Quick Selection Tool was a fantastic new selection tool introduced in Photoshop CS3 and it has been one of my favourites since then 😉
Now it is time to refine the selection. For this reason I will enter Quick Mask Mode by pressing Q on the keyboard (you can also click on the last icon at the bottom of your Tools Panel, it looks like a rectangle with a circle inside). The red colour represents the mask (the area outside your selection) and your selection becomes transparent. Now using a Brush Tool you can refine your selection. When you paint with white you add to your selection (revealing the content), when you paint with black you subtract from the selection (hiding the content behind red mask). Before you start using Brush Tool, set the Foreground Colour (this is the colour that Brush Tool uses) and check the options for the tool (the area just below the Photoshop menu). You want to make sure that you use Hard Edged Brush (100% Hardness) with Opacity set to 100%, the size is up to you.
Now, using the Brush Tool brush over the areas you want to include in your selection (white) or exclude from the selection (black). When you are done, exit Quick Mask Mode and put the car on its own layer using keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J (Win) or Cmd+J (Mac) or using menu Layer → New → Layer via Copy. Rename the layer and go back to the Background Layer. We are going to blur it using Motion Blur. With the background layer selected go to Filter → Blur → Motion Blur and in the dialog box that opens, set the Angle to match the road angle and increase the Distance value to achieve the desired effect (the setting will depend on the resolution of the image).
We are not done yet. We are also going to blur the wheels to make them spinning to create more realistic effect. On the car layer select the wheels and copy them onto a new layer (above the car layer). Load the wheels as a selection by Ctrl-clicking on the Wheels Layer Thumbnail (you will see “marching ants” representing a selection), deselect one of the wheels (we will need to apply the filter to each wheel seperately) and apply a Radial Blur from Filter → Blur menu. I set my options to: Amount – 50, Blur Method – Spin, Quality – Good. Apply the filter to the other wheel and… voila! We’re done!