How To Blur Text In Photoshop (Step By Step)

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?


Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

Continue Reading:

How To Invert Colors In Photoshop

Learn how to quickly invert the colors of an image or a layer mask in Photoshop along with tips to selectively invert your colors instead!

How To Invert A Selection In Photoshop

Learn the importance of learning to invert a selection in Photoshop with the help of simple keyboard shortcuts and several other methods.

How To Use The Gradient Tool In Photoshop

Learn the ins and outs of how to use the gradient tool in Photoshop with useful tips to help make the most of this impressive tool!

Adobe Lightroom System Requirements For Mac & PC

Here's a breakdown of the system requirements for Adobe Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC to make sure it will run smoothly on your computer.

How To Add A Watermark In Lightroom Classic & CC

Learn how to add a text or graphic watermark to a photo in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC to protect your photos from theft.

How To Use Dehaze In Lightroom

Learn how to use dehaze in Lightroom along with five different ways you can use the dehaze tool to improve your images in Lightroom.

35+ Best Fonts For Logos In Canva

Here's a list of the best fonts for logos in Canva to help give you inspiration in your next logo design!

How To Create Curved Text In Canva

Learn how to quickly create curved text in Canva desktop and mobile with just a few clicks to spruce up any design!

35 Best Fonts For Teachers In Canva

Discover the best fonts for teachers in Canva to help with your next worksheet or presentation for your class!

The 9 Best SD Cards For Sony

Discover the best SD cards for Sony to find the most reliable and best valued memory cards for your photo and video needs.

The Best Canon Lens For Low Light (10 Top Picks)

Get a complete view of the best Canon lenses for low light photography and video along with tips to make the right buying decision.

Affinity Photo VS Photoshop – Which Should You Choose?

Let's take a deep look at the similarities and differences between Affinity Photo and Photoshop to see which program you should pick.