Add Motion to Your Images in Adobe Photoshop

In photographs, motion blur – the apparent streaking of moving objects caused by rapid movement or long exposure times – can add dynamic excitement to a subject.
See how we use Adobe Photoshop to create a motion blur effect.

Step 1

Open your image and unlock the layer

Start by opening your photograph in Photoshop and click the Lock icon on the layer to unlock it.

For this example we have selected an image of a dancer.

Step 2

Convert to Smart Object

Then right-click on the Layer in the Layers palette and select Convert to Smart Object.

Step 3

Blur your image

Apply a blur to the entire image by choosing Filter > Blur Gallery > Path Blur. To create the appearance of movement on specific parts of the dancer, update the default marker that Photoshop added by dragging the arrow to control the direction of movement. Drag the points to refine the movement, then add more markers by clicking the image with the Pen tool.

Step 4

Speed it up

Use the Speed slider to adjust the appearance of movement and click OK.

Step 5

Stay focused

We want some parts of the model to be more in focus. Click the Smart Filters mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to specify which parts of the model you would want in focus. Then choose the Eraser tool, adjust the brush size and brush over the areas that should not be blurred.


Final results

Adding motion to your images can bring new life to your photographs!