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Shape Blur Filter In Photoshop Tutorial For Unique Blurs Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021


How to use the shape blur filter in Photoshop with custom shapes tutorial.


photoshop shape blur filter and custom shapes tutorialThe shape blur filter in Photoshop uses custom shapes as a source for blurs. The shape blur filter can be found via the blur section of the filter menu.

  1. Filter menu in Photoshop (to access the shape blur filter to use with the CSH custom shapes)

  2. Blurs category

  3. Shape blur filter

  4. Set radius

  5. Select the shape to use (or load new shapes)

  6. OK

The shape blur filter in Photoshop can be used to create the most unique and weird and wonderful blurring effects in Photoshop. Load the custom shapes via the shapes panel and then use the shape blur filter. The shape blur filter can be used as a smart object in Photoshop. The filter can be used once or multiple times.


shape blur shapes


The filter can be used with layers. It can be used with type as well to create amazing type effects in Photoshop. The shape blur filter can be combined with other filters in Photoshop. It can be used with low settings to create subtle blurring effects. It can be used with high settings to totally blur any image.


The shape blur filter can be used with selections. You can use it with channels.


shape blur shapes


The tutorial shows how to use the custom shapes in the shape blur filter in Photoshop. How to use the Photoshop shape blur filter with channels. How to use it as a smart filter. The tutorial also shows how the shape blur filter can be used with type.


The shape blur filter is a truly unique blurring effect in Photoshop

Custom shapes and shapes blur in Photoshop

The shape blur filter tool can use the Photoshop shapes (CSH presets) as source for a blur effect using different radii.


You can find the filter via the filter menu and blurs. The result can be more or less successful depending on the path selected.


The shapes appear in the standard presets panel in the tool so you can quickly load any vector path you want to use especially if you have 100s of different CSH sets


shape blur shapes


Low settings for the shape blur - you don't need to use the high settings for the blurs

shape blur very low settings in Photoshop
  1. Go to the filter menu and blurs and shape blur

  2. Set radius to 16

  3. Set shape blur

  4. OK


Apply the shape blur once with a low setting and only a subtle effect but still it makes a difference to any image


shape blur shapes


You can always add a fade to reduce the intensity of the blur and the fade offers a range of great features for the shape blur in that you can change the blending mode and opacity


shape blur shapes


High settings and shape blur - blast the entire image using high settings in Photoshop

blurring total in Photoshop shape blur
  1. Go to the filter menu and blurs and shape blur in Photoshop

  2. select the shape (really doesn't matter with a high setting)

  3. set to radius > 500

  4. OK

The result is much the same and is not dependent on the custom shape. Actually, mid range settings can result in all kinds of gradients as well as just a totally blurred in image. Set to 1000 and most pictures are totally blasted by the shape blur


shape blur shapes


Though again instead of just going for a full on shape blur apply, you can always fade the result


shape blur shapes

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 shape as well and a thin line design is very different from a thick chunky star design

Repeat settings of the shape blur - you can use the shape blur over and over

custom shapes and shape blur in Photoshop repeat applies face

You can also repeat the effect, perhaps best with a low setting

  1. apply Photoshop shape blur with low setting such as 10

  2. re-apply shape blur with low setting

  3. repeat 20 times

Perhaps record an action for this in the actions panel. The result is still pretty blurry but a more interesting blurring effect with more of the features still visible. You can also combine or interleave the effect with other effects


shape blur shapes


Using a selection and adding the effect

selection effect shape blur filter

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

  1. select menu

  2. color range

  3. fuzziness 200 / sampler colors

  4. filter and shape blur

  5. set the radius

  6. select the shape

  7. OK

  8. select menu

  9. deselect

All kinds of interesting effects can be generated combining selections with the shape blur in Photoshop


shape blur shapes


Blurring in color channels

channels and shape blur filter and custom shapes in Photoshop

You don't have to use the effect on the same Photoshop color channels. You can select the red channel and add the effect with one path and one radius and then use the effect again on the green channel with the same or different settings and so on.


  1. window

  2. channels

  3. select red channel

  4. shape blur filter

  5. set radius

  6. set shape and OK

  7. select green channel

  8. shape blur filter again but use different radius and different shape

  9. apply with blue channel

  10. return to RGB


shape blur shapes


Using them as a smart object / filter

hdr toning and channels

You can select any image and convert it into a smart object via the layer menu convert command.


You can then add one or more of the blur 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


  1. Layer menu

  2. smart object

  3. convert

  4. apply shape blur filter with low setting

  5. oil paint filter

  6. image menu

  7. adjustments

  8. vibrance with high settings


You can apply all kinds of filters and combine them with the shape blur. The list of the filters can be seen in the layers panel


shape blur shapes


Shape blur filter and text in Adobe ® Photoshop ®

shape blur and type

All the above can also be added to type in PS. Create some text 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.


  1. create some type

  2. flatten

  3. filter menu and blurs and shape blur

  4. set the radius very low (5 say)

  5. select shape

  6. OK


shape blur shapes