How to Use the Blur Tool in Photoshop? (a Detailed Guide)

How to use the Pen Tool in Photoshop?

Meta: Find out how to blur parts of your image the right way. Our guide to Photoshop‘s Blur Tool will help you master your blur editing techniques.

Are you searching for tutorials on Blur Tool in Photoshop? Then you have come to the right place.

Photoshop‘s Blur Tool can be helpful in some situations. For example, whenever you want to blur something, like someone’s face or any identifying information about somebody.

The Blur Tool is also great to make your subject stand out from the rest and the background a little softer. In other words, it creates a depth of field in the image.

Luckily, the Blur Tool is very simple and straightforward. You can fully utilize it after reading this article.

Also, we recommend you install the latest version of Photoshop CC. Since Adobe updates it regularly, some features may not be in the same place or even be missing.

What is the Blur Tool in Photoshop?

As described above, the Blur Tool in Photoshop makes parts of an image look blurry or out of focus.

When using this tool, the cursor will have a circle shape. You can make it smaller or larger by pressing the right or left bracket keys. The longer you click and hold your mouse, the more blur you add with Blur Tool.

Where is the Blur Tool in Photoshop?

The Blur Tool is located in the toolbar to the left of the Photoshop workspace window. To use it, look for the teardrop-shaped icon. You will find it grouped with Sharpen Tool and Smudge Tool.

Where is the Blur Tool in Photoshop?

Adobe groups these tools together because they are all designed to de-focus or focus images.

How to Use the Blur Tool in Photoshop Effectively

To get started, open a photo you want to edit in Photoshop. Next, we recommend adding a duplicate background layer. So you can make edits without altering the original image. This step is not necessary. But it has several benefits:

  • If you do not like the changes you have made, you can easily start over. Just delete the old duplicate background layer and create a new one.
  • And by clicking the eye icon next to the duplicate background layer, you can quickly compare any changes you have made to the original.

To do so, in the Layers Panel located on the right side of the window, right-click on the Background layer. Then, select the ‘Duplicate Layer…’ in the dialog box that appears.

How to Use the Blur Tool in Photoshop Effectively

Another way is to go to ‘Layer‘ > ‘Duplicate Layer‘ in the top menu bar.

On the left side of the window, select the Blur Tool. Use it to blur the areas of the image that you want.

select the Blur Tool

Click, hold and move the mouse around a bit to start blurring the image. Just clicking and holding the mouse will not do anything.

As with most of Photoshop’s tools, you can customize the brush of the Blur Tool. To do so, click on the Brush Preset picker at the top of the Photoshop window.

Next, you can choose between different brush types and sizes, strokes, settings, and more.

When using the Blur Tool, you should avoid using large brush sizes in combination with long brush strokes. It is because the blur action is processor-intensive. Therefore, the effect will lag behind the stroke.

Also, you can modify the Mode and Strength of the brush tool. The Strength specifies how much blur the brush creates. It ranges from 0% to 100%. You can choose to be very modest, which will give you more control. Or you can create a strong blur.

Or you can create a strong blur.

The Mode refers to how the brush effect blends with the rest of the image. By default, the Mode is set to Normal. But you can change it to Darken, Lighten, Hue, Saturation, Color, or Luminosity.

Do not worry too much about the Mode (and several other tweaks). These options are more advanced. And you will probably use this mode most often anyway.

Blur Filter in Photoshop – an Additional Way to Apply a Blur Effect to the Entire Image

The Blur Tool also has a feature that can apply a blur effect to the entire image quickly. It is called Blur Filter.

To use a filter, go to ‘Filter‘> ‘Blur‘ in the top menu bar. Then choose the one you prefer. Now, let’s discuss these filters in detail.

Blur Filter in Photoshop
Blur Filter in Photoshop


This one-step blur filter works by taking all the colors in a selection or image. Then it averages them together, resulting in a single color throughout the selection/image.


This is also a one-step filter that gives the general blurring effect that you can get with the Blur Tool.

Blur More

This produces a significant amount of blur compared to the previous filter.

Box Blur

If you want to blur your image with squares, you can use this filter.

Box Blur

How to Use the Blur Tool in Photoshop

It produces a blur effect by taking a pixel and averaging the pixels around it. You can adjust the radius of the effect, which means you decide how many pixels are included.

Box Blur is a quick way to blur a photo, but it does not look very realistic all the time. However, if you want to create some stylized special effects or completely blur something, it is an appropriate choice to use.

Gaussian Blur

Photoshop‘s Gaussian Blur filter helps you adjust the amount of blur by providing radius control over the image.

It is considered a great tool because it gives you notable control over the type and amount of blur you get. This is especially true when comparing it to the Blur and Blur More filter.

Gaussian Blur

Lens Blur

Photoshop‘s Lens Blur filter mimics the blur that can happen when you take a picture with the camera. Therefore, it gives you more control over the depth and position of the blur than other blur filters. The result is a more precise, focused blur.

Lens Blur

Motion Blur

As you might have guessed, Photoshop‘s Motion Blur filter helps create a sense of speed, motion, and action in an image.

If you want to create a speed-trail effect, this is the filter you will want to use.

Motion Blur

Radial Blur

Photoshop‘s Radial Blur filter also creates a sense of motion. But it creates a spin effect instead of a speed-trail effect. You can use this blur filter to make the wheels of a car move, for example.

Radial Blur

How to Use the Blur Tool in Photoshop

Shape Blur


, this filter helps to blur your image according to the shape you choose. You can move the radius slider to the right for a larger blur effect.

Shape Blur

Surface Blur

You can use Photoshop‘s Surface Blur filter in these two scenarios:

  • You wish to blur the surface or interior of an image rather than the edges.
  • You want to preserve edge details and blur everything else.
  • Surface Blur

Smart Blur

If you want to control how Photoshop applies a blur effect to the edges and other details of an image, then you can use this filter.

Smart Blur

Final Words

In this article, you have learned how to blur images in Photoshop quickly using the Blur Tool. You also learned a bit about Photoshop‘s blur filter. This information should give you a good start in creating unique photos that capture people’s attention.

However, just like other tools, using and perfecting Photoshop‘s Blur Tool will take some practice. Therefore, the first time you start trying to blur an image in Photoshop, try playing around a bit. This is the only way to know what the blur options look like.

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