Digital Toolbox: Sharp Blur

Here's how to easily turn a humdrum image into a dreamy, romantic photo.

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The first thing to do is find a picture that could stand a little prettying up. When you’ve got one open, duplicate the background layer: Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer and click OK.

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Next, change the Blend mode of your duplicate layer to Multiply. You can switch it by grabbing the pull-down menu in the upper-left corner of your Layers palette (initially, it’s set to Normal).

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Don’t worry if your image looks much too dark — we’ll fix that later. Now, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

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This is a fairly big file, so go for a Radius of 16.4 pixels. Images that have lower resolutions require less blur; if you add too much, you’ll lose the effect.

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The key to adding saturation is subtlety, so don’t go overboard! Gently drag the saturation slider to the right. In this case, 8 is enough.

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How-To Make Dreamy Images Using Blur*After*