How to Apply a Tilt-Shift Blur Effect in Adobe Photoshop

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In Brief...

Tilt-Shift Blur is one of the options in Photoshop's Blur Gallery, which allows selective blurring of some regions of an image while maintaining focal points in others. Tilt-Shift creates blurs in a linear direction. To apply a tilt-shift blur to an image, follow these four steps.

This features works the same in Adobe Photoshop CS6 and CC.


  1. Turn the layer to be blurred into a Smart Object by choosing the layer in the Layers Panel, then going to the panel menu and selecting Convert to Smart Object.
    Layer Panel Menu

  2. Go to Filter > Blur Gallery > Tilt-Shift.
    Filter Menu

  3. The gallery interface features an Options Bar and Panels with blur controls on the image preview:
    • Center Pin: Drag to the focal target (the area not to blur).
    • Blur Ring: Drag to adjust blur amount.
    • Feather Lines (mirrored either side of Center Pin and Blur Ring): Drag to adjust the point where the image has transitioned to the maximum blur.
    • Focus Lines (mirrored either side of Center Pin and Blur Ring): Drag to adjust the point where the blur begins.
    • Rotate Handles (mirrored either side of Center Pin and Blur Ring): Drag to rotate the direction of the blur.

    Blur Gallery Interface

  4. Use the blur controls to adjust the focus, direction, and blur zone. When satisfied, click OK. Tip: Holding down the Shift key constrains rotation to 22.5° increments.
    Blur with Adjustments

Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.