How To Blur Text In Photoshop (Step By Step)

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Blurring text in Photoshop is an easy way to stylize any basic text layer. Whether you want to blur the entire line of text or only sections, this guide will show you exactly how.

How To Blur Text In Photoshop

Step 1: Add Text To The Page

If you already know how to create text in Photoshop, jump to step 2. 

First, enable the Horizontal Type Tool (T) in the Toolbar.

Once the Horizontal Type Tool is active, you can go to the Options Bar and customize the font in various ways. In my case, I chose a black Open Sans font in a Condensed Bold version at size 72 pt.

Next, type your text on the canvas.

Step 2: Convert The Text Into A Smart Object

Converting your text into a smart object allows you to make changes to it non-destructively. That way, you can apply smart filters to the text and edit or remove them anytime. Additionally, you can edit the text itself later. 

To do this, go to the Layers Panel and right-click the type layer. From the flyout menu, choose Convert To Smart Object.

A layer turned into a smart object will get a small document icon.

Step 3: Apply A Gaussian Blur Filter To The Text

The Gaussian Blur filter is one of the Photoshop smart filters. That means the filters work similarly to smart objects, preserving the original layer. The Gaussian Blur filter allows you to evenly blur images and text. 

To enable the Gaussian Blur filter go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. 

Play around with the Radius value until you’re happy with the amount of blur applied to the text.

Make sure to zoom in on the text to see the changes being made. You can do this by clicking the magnifying glass icon within the Gaussian Blur box.

 Click OK when you’re finished applying the effect.

Step 4: Edit The Smart Object (Optional)

As mentioned previously, the text in the smart object is still editable. To do this, double-click the Smart Object layer thumbnail.

Your text will open in a new tab, and you will find it on the canvas against a transparent background. This is the contents of the smart object and where you can edit the words or style of the text.

The Horizontal Type Tool (T)will be enabled by default, allowing you to click on the text and type anything over it. You will also be able to customize the text in any way you want using the options available in the Options Bar. In my case, I changed the text color to a blue pastel color. 

When you are finished editing the text, press Control + S (Win) or Command + S (Mac) so that the changes are saved back to the main document. You can then exit the Smart Object tab and open the main document again.

How To Selectively Blur Text In Photoshop

You often won’t need to blur the whole text, just parts of it. Fortunately, this is a very straightforward task. You only need to understand how layer masks work and how to use a brush. 

Follow these steps after you have added the blur effect to the entire text using the method above.

Step 1: Select The Smart Filter Layer Mask

First, go to the Layers Panel and click the smart filter mask, the white box in the corresponding layer. 

Step 2: Enable The Brush Tool (B)

In a layer mask, the white represents visible areas, while the black represents hidden areas. To restore sharpness in specific text areas, you need to paint them black.

In the example below, the layer mask is half black, half white, which means the initial text was completely blurred, but as I painted it half black, half the blur was gone. 

You can paint your layer mask using either a brush or a Gradient Tool. However, using the Brush Tool is the easiest and fastest method.

To enable the Brush Tool, press B on your keyboard or select it in the Toolbar.

Step 3: Set The Foreground Color To Black

Ensure the foreground color is black and the background color white. If your background/foreground color swatches are set to another pair of colors, press D on your keyboard, and the swatches will instantly turn black and white.

Step 4: Adjust The Brush Settings

Knowing how to adjust the brush settings properly is essential to achieve the desired blur effect. 

Let’s start with the brush preset picker options.

If you want to erase the blur of the text in one shot, set the brush to a large Size, big enough to cover the entire text. However, if you want to erase half the blur or just a small portion of it, set the brush to a smaller size.

Set  Hardness to 0% so that the transition between the sharp and blurred areas is smoother.

Choose a Soft Round Pressure Opacity And Flow Brush for a smoother blur effect.

Set the Blend Mode to Normal. Otherwise, you will unnecessarily alter the luminosity of the blurred pixels. 

Opacity should be lower than 100% to blend blurred and sharp pixels smoothly.  However, try not to go below 50% because it can suppress the blur so much that it won’t be noticeable.

By decreasing the flow, the brush will work more slowly. Thus, you will have to apply multiple brushstrokes to remove blur.  But if you want to cover parts of the text quickly, 100% will be ok.

Step 5: Paint Over The Text

With the brush properly adjusted, paint over the parts of the blur you want to hide. In my case, I erased the blur from the bottom part of my text.

After applying the blur to the text, you can still edit it by double-clicking the smart object icon and then making changes to it in the new tab that will open, as shown in the previous section. 

When you’re finished editing the text, remember to save it by pressing Control + S (Win) or Command + S (Mac). The changes will then be saved and appear in your main document. 

After learning the tips here, you can now effectively add blur to any text with complete control over the effect. I have used it to create posters and other creative pieces needing an easy stylized text effect. What will you use this effect for?


Photo of author
I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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