Shape Blur Filter In Photoshop

Where ?

The Photoshop shape blur filter uses the presets as a source for manipulating the direction / strength of the effect. It can be found via the blur category.

Set the radii and select a preset

Set radius. Select a design to use from the current selection of presets, you can also use the panel to load additional sets/ to use by going to the right side menu and selecting the import item and you can then select additional CSH files and designs to use with this dialog. Once you have selected the preset and the radius setting (large or small) then click OK

Subtle effect

To create a very subtle effect set the radius to a very low value

Total wipe out

to totally wipe out the image set the value to a very high value and whatever preset has been selected, the image will be totally zapped. The maximum value is 1000 pixels for the radius. For the best results, set to about 100 pixels etc. The end result really depends on the preset selected.


You can always add a fade to reduce the intensity and the fade offers a range of great features for the effect in that you can change the blending mode and opacity. Fading with a blend mode of difference with a high setting of radius can create very interesting results as well as using other blending modes. Of course, you can always vary the source preset as well and a thin line design is very different from a thick chunky star design

Repeat settings

You can also repeat the effect, perhaps best with a low setting. Apply the effect with low setting such as 10, re-apply with low setting, repeat 20 times.

Using a selection

You can use the effect with the entire image but you don't need to, you can add a selection such as perhaps focus on the person in the image and then add the effect to the rest of the image or perhaps the person. You can use any number of tools to select the area. Select menu, color range, fuzziness 200 / sampler colors and then apply the effect and set the radius and select the preset and OK and then select menu and deselect. All kinds of interesting effects can be generated combining selections with this powerful effect.

color channels

You can use the effect in RGB however if you go to the window menu and select the channels panel you can also use it on the red channel or the green channel etc. You can use the same settings with the channels or vary the settings as well as the preset used so in one you can use a grid preset and in another you can use an arrow preset and and on another channel you can use a ring preset or a type themed preset, You can also vary the radius setting as well per channel as you can use a low value for the red and then a high value for the green. You can also apply it multiple times for the same channel. Once you are happy with the end result, you can always go to the RGB entry and work with it in that instead.

smart object / filter

You can select any image / design and convert it into a smart object via the layer menu convert command. You can then add one or more of the effects as well as combine the effect with tools such as oil paint filter and camera raw etc as well as image adjustments added to only that image. Goto the layer menu and then smart object and convert. Use apply the effect with a low setting and then oil paint filter. Goto image menu and adjustments and apply vibrance with high settings. You can apply all kinds of filters and combine them with the effect. The list of the filters can be seen in the layers panel. Multiple objects and multiple effects can all be bundled into a single smart object


All the above can also be added to type. Create some characters (lorem ipsum even) and then add the effect to the text either using it as a smart object / filter or as just a pure image. The results on type can be very variable and it is quite easy to totally wipe out the small letters in any page etc of text. Create some type, flatten and apply the effect with the radius set very low (5 say), select a preset and click OK.


You can set up an action to apply the effect over and over without the need to go to the filter menu. Open an image and then goto the actions panel (window menu) and click the record and give it a name and then go to the filter menu and apply the effect and set the radius for it along with the selected item. Stop the recording. Apply the action to generate the same effect, repeat the action if you want. You can also set up an automate / batch processing via the file and automate and batch and use the action for the effect and add that to an entire folder or set of sub folders

Different presets

It is one of the most amazing effects but can be hard to work out the end result. Select a different preset and the result can be radically different. Select a ring preset and apply with a radius of 100+ and you will see an image of a square end up with hazy curved edges. If you go for any hollow presets, the result can be a very unusual ghostly look with a selected artwork. A good test of the possible range of presets is the legacy default set. You can then use it with frames, arrows, rings, light bulbs, paws, grids etc. Or anything made up of thin lines can have a dramatic effect with the design.