Photoshop Friday 2007 #4!

Hi there! Welcome to another edition of Photoshop Friday! This week’s tutorial involves another cool way to add journaling directly to a photo.  Here’s the backstory: The other night we were having a Noisy Kid Night (ever have one of those?) when for some reason neither kid wanted to settle down and fall asleep. So I went downstairs, turned on CSI Miami. Love that show. Anyway, the opening sequence caught my eye - they have these blurry bars sliding in and out of the background - and they looked like blurred segments of the background image itself. It was really cool, and I thought (as I often do, actually), I could make that in Photoshop! Ha. So there we have it.

Here’s this week’s layout:


Supplies by DesignerDigitals:

Blurry Photo Journaling Background 

Can you see how the background behind the journaling block and the date element is a blurry copy of the photo itself? I think this adds such a cool, edgy effect, while at the same time making your journaling really easy to read.

This technique requires an off-center photo, and (for once) will actually be cooler if there is some background stuff in your photo, since the technique will be more dramatic that way. So bust out those pictures with a pile of laundry in the background, and let’s get to work! :D 

  1. Open a photo in which the focal point is off-center. Go ahead and do any edits to your photo (brightening, sharpening, etc) that you would like.
  2. Get out the Rectangular Marquee tool. Draw a rectangular selection down one side of your photo across the background.
  3. We’ll be using this same selection a couple more times, so let’s save it. Go to Select > Save Selection. Give this selection the name Vertical and hit OK. This saves your selection into the document, and you can re-load it at any time. It should look something like this:
  4. 722646-648088-thumbnail.jpg
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  5. Now with your selection still active, go to Ctrl-j. This makes a copy of a selection and puts it on its own layer (the equivalent of Ctrl-c, Ctrl-v).
  6. Now target your new layer in the Layers palette, and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter something between 25-35 in the box, so you get a really nice blur, and hit OK. (Anything less than 25, and you’d still be able to make out background shapes – and your text on top will be harder to read). Mine looked like this:
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Creating a sharp border around the blur

When you use the Gaussian blur filter on an element, it blurs that element out in every direction, leaving us with a  really fuzzy 35 pixel border all around our blur. We need to make that a nice sharp line to put our border on, so we don’t have blurry edges peeking out underneath the white border. We’ll use our original selection in two ways here: first, to cut off the fuzzy edge of our blur, and then to draw a nice white border.

  1. First, let’s get our selection back out, and use it to cut off the fuzzy blurred edges. Go to Select > Load Selection. In the box that pops up, make sure that Vertical is selected, and click the Invert checkbox. Hit OK. Your selection reappears, but inverted to the exact opposite of your original selection. So like this:
  2. 722646-648094-thumbnail.jpg
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  3. With your blur layer targeted, hit Delete to erase the edges that bled out when you created the blur.
  4. Go to Select > Inverse to invert back to your original selection.
  5. Create a new layer. (Layer > New > Layer). (It’s good practice to always make a new layer when you’re drawing lines.)
  6. Go to Edit > Stroke. In the box that pops up, type 10px, select White for the stroke color, and choose the Outside radio button. Hit OK. Now you can deselect your selection (Ctrl-d). 
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Neat! Now you have a cool blurred section with a white border around it. Very CSI-Miami, don’t you think?

To make your blurred selection stand out even more

  1. If you want to use white text, darken the blurred section just a bit more. Target your selection, then go to Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Brightness/Contrast (CS2: go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Slide the brightness slider down until you see your blurred section darken. Something like this:
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  3. If you want to use black text, simply do the step above, but slide the brightness slider up (into the positive numbers) until your image brightens enough to see black text.

Now, your homework assignment:

Complete the above steps on, not just one, but TWO blurred sections of your photograph. I chose a slice down the left side for my journaling (I labeled the saved selection Vertical), and a slice across the bottom for my date element (I labeled this saved selection Horizontal). At the intersection of the two, I cut and fit a little rectangle of patterned paper.

Here is a full-size version of the layout, so you can see the detail of the technique:

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The List

If you haven’t already signed up, I’ve got an announcement list going - I’ll send you an email every week when the new Photoshop Friday is posted. It’ll also have freebies, goodies, or coupon codes, cause I’m all about that kind of stuff. :) Just enter your email address in the box over there on the right.

Also, we had some very *slight* technical issues with email confirmations… but we’re getting that worked out. If you did not receive the announcement email, but you signed up, check your spam or junk-mail boxes (ack! the horror!) or try signing up one more time.  

 p.s. This week’s announcement email had a coupon code in it, to one of my favorite digi shoppes. If you sign up today or over the weekend, I’ll send out a follow up email on Sunday night with the code in it, just for you. :)

Have a wonderful day, and Happy Photoshop Friday! 

Jessica Sprague22 Comments