How to Create Motion in an Image

Above is the finished product of this tutorial.

Here I have an image of some children playing soccer. I used a fast shutter speed while taking this image, to freeze the action. At this point I think I’d like to put some motion into the image:

The first thing I do is drop the image into Photoshop. I’ll make a selection around the boy who is ready to kick the ball. He’s the main focus of this image. To make the selection I’ll use the lasso tool in the tool bar:

When I make the selection around the boy, I’ll make sure to feather the selection so that the boy doesn’t look selected with a hard edge. To feather the selection, I go to Select / Modify / Feather:

For this image I think I’ll feather at 45 pixels. Then I click OK:

The next thing I need to do is to inverse the selection. Right now the boy is selected. I need to have everything around the boy selected. This is why I’m going to inverse the selection. I’ll go to Select / Inverse:

Then I’ll go to Filter / Blur / Motion Blur:

This is where you have to decide how much motion blur you want. For this image I think I’ll use a motion blur of 171 pixels and keep the “Angle” at 0. I make sure the preview box is checked in the Motion Blur dialog box. Then I click OK:

On my keyboard, I hit the keys CTRL-D to deselect the selection. For any reason you see something else in the image that you wish you didn’t blur, you can always go to the history brush and bring it back.

Here I decided to bring back the ball, but not 100%. I’ll go to the history brush and I’ll also make sure the history is marked off (the little paintbrush next to the Open step in the image, below) in the History Palette to the point I want to go back:


Here I’m going to bring the opacity of the history brush to 35%. I brush the ball to see how I like how it comes out. If I want to see more of the soccer ball, then I just brush over it again:

Here’s the finished image:

Have fun!

8 thoughts on “How to Create Motion in an Image”

  1. I really like this tutorial. Easy to follow and I’m learning a lot about Photoshop and it is not just for professional photographers. It is for grandmas who have a lot of grandchildren pics to play around with.

  2. Good one! I think I will try this on a basket ball game pic of my son! I recall reading somewhere that you can actually create motion in a pic as in literally see the water moving for example….is that possible in photoshop?

  3. Hi, Rupa,

    I believe you can create motion in Photoshop using GIF files, but I haven’t gotten into that yet.


  4. This didnt work for me. When I feathered the image a oval selection appeared around the boys body

  5. Hi Anthony,

    I played around with this, and tried it with a low-res picture. And I got the same results you did. If you want to use a low-res picture, like a picture from the Internet, you need to lower the pixels in the feathering section. It looks like 45 was too much for a low-res picture. I think 10 or so is fine for this type of picture.

    Give that a try. It should work.


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