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Adding Motion to a Static Shot in Adobe Photoshop Elements 14

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In this excerpt from Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Classroom in a Book, learn how to add dynamic-looking motion to your photograph.
From the book

From Photoshop Elements 12, the Guided Edit mode offers a Zoom Burst effect, which you’ll now find in the Fun Edits category.

Traditionally produced by manually zooming in on a subject while the shutter is open, the Zoom Burst effect creates an impression of speedy motion, while the limited area of focus draws attention to the central subject.

While the Zoom Burst effect emphasizes movement towards (or away from) the camera, the Speed Effect, the latest addition to the Fun Edits category in Photoshop Elements 14, creates the illusion of motion parallel to the picture plane.

  1. In the Organizer, select the image 07_07.jpg; then, click the Editor button (pse12_EditorButton_cmyk.jpg). If you’re not in Guided edit mode from the last exercise, switch modes now and click the Fun Edits tab above the preview pane.
  2. Click the Speed Effect—the second-last guided project on the Fun Edits tab.

Despite the absence of motion in the photo, the wind in the girl’s hair, and her animated expression, will work well towards creating the impression of forward movement; now, let’s see if we can add a sense of speed. The Speed Effect treatment consists of four steps: designating the object to which you wish to add movement; applying the motion-blur effect; defining an area of focus where the effect is to be reduced; and refining the effect by adding to or subtracting from the motion blur.

  1. In the panel at the right, click the Quick Selection Tool button. By default, the tool opens in Add mode. Starting at the left of the girl’s head, drag over her hair, face, arms, and body to make a rough selection; then, extend the selection to include her legs and the yellow buoy.
  2. Zoom in for a clearer view of the girl’s hands using the Zoom slider; if you need to pan the view, press the spacebar to temporarily activate the Hand tool. The default brush size should be small enough to add the girl’s fingers to the selection. While you’re still zoomed in, switch the Quick Selection tool to Subtract mode to deselect any parts of the background you may have included accidentally, including the shadow on the sand beneath the yellow buoy.

  3. Click the Add Speed Effect button; then, click the Decrease button once, so that it’s easier to see both of the girl’s legs through the blur. For our lesson image, the motion will be horizontal, so you won’t need to change the angle of the effect.
  4. Click the Add Focus Area button. Hold down the Shift key to constrain your movement to the horizontal as you drag from a point near the right edge of the photo, at the level of the girl’s waist, to the small of her back. Repeat this step, and then drag from the ring at the pint of the buoy to the same end point.
  5. Click the Refine button; by default, the tool opens in Subtract mode, ready to clear the motion blur from areas where it’s not wanted. Use the sliders to increase the brush size to around 100 (pixels) and its opacity to 100%; then clear the remnants of the motion blur from the area in front of the girl and the buoy. Reduce the brush size to 75 and paint over the girl; you don’t need to be very accurate—especially around the “trailing” edges of her figure. Zoom in using the Zoom slider, and reduce the brush to 12 pixels to clear her hands and fingers.

  6. Click Next at the bottom of the panel; then, click the Save As button. Name the file 07_07_Speed, and save it to your My CIB Work folder in Photoshop (PSD) format, with the Layers option enabled. Include the new image in the Organizer but not in a Version Set. Choose File > Close, or click the Close button (X) at the upper right of the Guided Edit preview pane.
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