Blur and Sharpen - car photography

What are the Blur & Sharpen Tools for?

There are so many uses for the blur and sharpen tools, but then again there are many uses for ALL of the tools that Photoshop has to offer. For that reason, it’s impossible to cover all of the uses for the tools but I will tell you why I use them for car photography and how I think they will help you out.
 
First, let’s start of with where you can find these 2 tools. They are both under one section, which splits up into 3 different tools: Blur Tool, Sharpen Tool, and Smudge Tool.
 
blur,sharpen,smudge
 
To switch between the 3, just right click on either one of those and the other 2 will appear in a list for you to choose from.
 

BLUR TOOL

blur
 
We’ll start with the blur tool since it’s the first thing that shows up out of those 3 tools.
 
The Blur Tool allows you to blur different parts of an image by using a brush of whatever size you choose.
 

What do I use it for?

 
I use this mainly when I’m trying to add something to an image and it doesn’t blend in. For example, if I’m changing out the background then the actual image and the new background will probably not blend in correctly and it will just one big visible line.
 
Take your Blur Tool, and make it really small. Drag the blur tool across the edge of your image and the background. This will blend them in together as if they were already like that, making it look more realistic.
 
This can also be used in other ways but I have found myself really only needing to use it for those situations (blending the edges of two images so it looks like a real transition).
 

SHARPEN TOOL

sharpen
 
I can hear you right now, why do I need to use the sharpen tool when I can just use a sharpen filter.
 
The Sharpen Tool allows you to increase the contrast in anything by brushing over it. It is different from the filters because it allows you to paint over anything you want to sharpen with a brush.
 

What do I use it for?

 
I’m not sure if many other people do this but I will give you a little tip that I think will greatly increase your quality. I always have people asking me how I get such sharp images on a camera that’s not known for extremely sharp images. Aside from using the Unsharp Mask for the whole image, I use the Sharpen Tool to make the lines pop.
 
Here’s what I mean: I will take the sharpen tool with a really small brush and lower the strength to 20% – 40% depending on my image. If you use a strength that’s too high it will make your images look bad and give it that halo effect around the image.
 
Now, the only things that I am going over at this point are the lines of the car. Literally every single line, the outside of the car, lines between the doors and bumpers, and sometimes even the curves of the car. What this does is bring out more contrast in the lines, making them pop more, which increases the quality of your images.
 

THAT’S ALL FOLKS

 
Well, there you have it. Now you know what the blur and sharpen tools do. I know there are 3 tools in that little section but I honestly never use the Smudge Tool. I’m pretty sure you can use that to blend in the images like the Blur Tool but it doesn’t work as good from my experience.
 
If you have different uses for any of these, I would love to hear them. Drop a comment below and let the LTSC community know what you use these tools for!

 

Feature image credit: Trevor Thompson

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