Make BEAUTIFUL Blurred Backgrounds in Affinity Photo


Today, we’re going to
take this photo and give it a beautiful blurred background. (upbeat motivating music) Hello and welcome to an
Affinity Revolution tutorial. My name is Ezra Anderson, and today we’re going to create a
beautiful blurred background in Affinity Photo. If you’d like to follow along with the same image I’ll be
using, I’ve included a link down in the video description. After opening Affinity Photo, the first thing we need to do is make
a selection of the woman. To do this, we’ll use
the Selection Brush Tool. Using this tool, just paint
a selection across the woman. If you’ve selected too much, you can hold down Alt or Option, and then paint to remove from your selection. Also, you can use the
left and right bracket keys to change the size of your brush. Now that we have a rough
selection, it’s time to refine it. To refine our selection, we’ll
press Refine up at the top. Now we just need to paint over the parts of the picture that we
want Affinity to refine. In particular, we’ll need to paint around the edges of her hair. We can also change our mode to Foreground to add to our selection. I can see that there’s some parts of the top of her hair
that aren’t being selected, so I’m going to paint across those areas. Then I’ll turn my mode back to Matte, and have Affinity refine that
part of the photo once again. Now that we have a good
selection of the woman, I’m going to press Apply. The woman is the one part of the picture that we don’t want to be blurred. Because we want to blur everything except the woman, we need
to invert our selection. To invert your selection, press Command or Control, Shift-I. Now with the background selected, we can apply a Gaussian Blur filter. Press on the Filters icon and then select Gaussian Blur Filter. Now as we bring up the radius, the background will be blurred. You’ll also notice that this is giving our picture opaque edges. To fix this, check on Preserve Alpha. Then we can exit out of this dialog box, and press Command or
Control-D to deselect. With this filter applied, we have successfully
blurred the background. Next, we’re going to work on improving the lighting in this picture. To do this, we’ll select
the Background layer, and then apply a lighting filter. I’m going to zoom out a little ways by pressing Command or Control-minus. Then, using this handle, I’m going to click and drag to
move the light source. Then, I’ll use this
handle to reposition it. Our picture is too dark
now, but we can fix that by increasing the ambient light. We can also make the picture warmer by changing the ambient light color to a light orange. I’d say this is looking pretty good, so I’m going to exit
out of this dialog box. Then I’ll press Command or Control-zero to zoom back in to my picture. To make the lighting in this picture even softer, I’m going
to select this group, and then press Command or
Control-J to duplicate it. Then I’ll change this top
layer’s blend mode to Soft Light. This has now added a beautiful soft light effect to our picture, but it might be a little too strong. To fix this, we can lower its opacity by clicking and dragging
on the word Opacity. Now we’ve applied a much more
subtle soft light effect. With our Soft Light effect applied, we are now finished. You now know how to make
beautiful blurred backgrounds. Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed learning how to make blurred backgrounds
in Affinity Photo. If you’d like to learn even more about this program, I’ll leave a link in the video description for our complete beginner’s guide to Affinity Photo. It shows you every tool and technique you need to master this program. Once again, thanks for watching, and I’ll see you in the next
Affinity Revolution tutorial.

93 Replies to “Make BEAUTIFUL Blurred Backgrounds in Affinity Photo”

  1. Thank you for providing a clear and complete tutorial. I appreciate that you do not assume we know how to initiate the simpilist of tasks.

  2. I highly recommend this man's Affinity Courses. They are worth way more than they cost, financially and the skills and techniques you'll learn are fantastic and easy to remember thanks to the teaching methods of the tutor.
    Very well done on this tutorial. I thought it would stop simply at the gaussian blur filter but the added lighting certainly adds a punch. Thanks for this!

  3. Nice tutorial, but would be a lot better if you also showed where to find all of the buttons instead of only using shortcuts.

  4. I cannot invert using the Command shift I or cannot get it inverted at all – when I blur it blurs the complete pic. Im sure im doing something very basic wrong but cannot for life of me work it out??? Can anyone help! – Thanks in advance
    .

  5. awesome, learning an editing software can be very intimidating for most beginners but you make it seem so simple..thank you sir.

  6. A classic, elegant and very friendly technique.Very few people have a wonderful gift for teaching. You are one of those. Thank you very much.

  7. Great tutorial, nice and concise. Just a quick question, do you also do tutorials for Affinity Designer please?
    I am hopeless at freehand drawing, but would love to learn vector drawing without going to Adobe for Illustrator as I don't agree with the subscription system. I have downloaded both the Affinity Photo and Designer trials to try them out and I love them so If you do, do you have any links to your tutorials like the one for your Affinity Photo above please?
    Subbed and clicked the bell.

  8. Hello I would like to learn kaleidoscope effect. I tried watching a photoshop tutorial but is not the same I could not do it. Thank you I learn a lot here

  9. Ezra your way of explaining step by step are so easy to follow it look like everybody can be a professional editor with your guide, amazing tutorial

  10. Without your work making these tutorials workflow would be tortious indeed. Many thanks for the time you take and also the included subject matter for working along with you.

  11. So after I select the object I don't want blurred and go to "Command Shift I," it doesn't select the outer image, what am I doing wrong?

  12. Iโ€™d love to see this same tutorial but for the iPad Pro. The controls/commands are so different that I just canโ€™t figure it out when compared to these instructions.

  13. Thanks so much for clear and concise instructions. I'm new to Affinity but not to photo editing, and yet this has been the clearest and most understandable tutorial in almost 20 years of photo editing. I love Affinity and plan to switch from Paint Shop Pro to Affinity.

  14. Perhaps not the best photo for this specific tutorial but your explanations are really good.

    Easy to follow and as you never try anything too Affinity specific it should be not that difficult to tranfer the technique to other softwares.

    Keep 'em comming ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Ezra, have you tried using the "Maximum Blur" filter with "circular" set on to create a Bokeh effect, instead of the Gaussian Blur? It should work well with this masking technique.

  16. Don't get me wrong you're great man, but This blurred background thing is so fake….lenses don't work like that at all

  17. Just a quick tip that eliminates that tell tale halo caused by burring around the subject (most evident behind the head where the dark hair's edge pixels invade the light background). Before blurring it's common to copy the isolated subject to it's own layer first. Turn off the subject layer after selecting and copying it, only working on the bottom original. With the clone, inpainting or patch tool copy some background area over the subject's perimeter (so you're effectively erasing the subject by some margin all the way around). You don't have to get too fussy about this step because you'll be blurring it anyway. Turn your subject layer back on, and now blur the background to taste. It's a bit more work, but the results can be like adding an actual shallower depth of field to your image. Keep in mind your subject's edges may look comparably too sharp after this, so take advantage of the feather options during the selection process.

  18. Wonderful teacher, clear and to the point instructions. I regret spending more than $100 on Affinity Workbooks. Your instructions are problem based and very precise. Thanks.

  19. Thanks for all the great tutorials on Affinity Photo. You have such a nice, positive approach, and fluid presentation style.

  20. Learned so much from this guy. Sub'd and liked a few tutorial vids I've seen ๐Ÿ™‚ keep up the great content man!

  21. The refine tool doesn't work for me. I have a flower with prickly ends that I want to smooth out before blurring the background but the tool doesn't work at all. Any ideas

  22. I'm a beginner photographer, I'm confuse between Affinity and Adobe. I don't like the Subscription system on adobe, does Affinity do what Lightroom and photoshop do?

  23. Well done Ezra, masterly handled and delivered, keep it up, your knowledge is a great help to us beginners, looking forward to many more videos, please don't stop. Regards, Pete.

  24. I'm having a huge problem with the selective tool brush, it keeps selecting everything!!! How do I fix this issue???

  25. Great! I liked it. Thank you.
    However, I've one point to be clarified. See the model's arm pit area and also the back of her. There is a light grayish hazy border of sort created. Can that be avoided / removed?
    In fact I also found such borders created in my image at certain portion, after I followed the tutorial. The original image doesn't have such border.
    Well, if you say this has come due to the 'refine' process that you have done, I have doubt about it as in my image editing I avoided 'refine' process.
    Please help me get clarified. Thanks.

  26. Awesome tutorial! Even though this guy looks like he's been silently making people 'disappear' since the early 2000's lol.

  27. Its a okay quick fix move for a blurred background. Can you do a tutorial with detail steps for a far more complicated background and hair that is more difficult to refine.

  28. Affinity revolution i know how to do the blur background but whenever I try to put on a text it blur my text too. Need help please.

  29. Love your videos. Iโ€™d love when you do them if you gave the iPad steps as well. Like if you are on an iPad do this instead of pressing shift or alt. Iโ€™ve learned so much from your channel. Great work guys

  30. My problem is that my gaussian blur doesn't work on already blurred edges. My document is 18×24 at 300dpi. I have blurred brush ink blots, and the gaussian blur doesn't seem to be working on them. It does, however, work on a brush blot with very sharp edges. What i'm trying to do is create a blurred image of different colours of the rainbow. Why is this so difficult. Not to compare, but for some other programs, so long as you continue the command, they will blur the heck out of the image until it becomes one big colour. What am i doing wrong? Thanks.

    ONE HOUR LATER: Ok. After re-blurring the image over 20 times, I realised that it was indeed working; my image was just very large….i'm so slow. hehehe. I'm learning.

  31. Every time I use the selection brush tool to select and try to blur the background after doing the invert step, instead of the background blurring… what I have selected blurs. Why?

  32. I applied a marquee effect to a bird shot using the selection brush, inverted the effect, then attempted to blur the background. No matter what I do, blur is applied to the whole photo, not just the selection! Any idea what I'm doing wrong? Thanks!

  33. Your tutorials are the best. This is extremely helpful but is there a way to control the amount of blur.?? Itโ€™s just a touch too strong for my taste.

  34. I followed the steps but what I see after deselction that a coloured hallow remains outside the selected area in finished picture.Reduced the radius but found same effect in less. How to get perfectly clean blur ?

  35. The refine selection option after selecting the object is just amazing in affinity. Hair is just to easy to select with the brush in refine option

  36. Excellent tutorial. I've never had any luck in getting good selections of complex subjects in other packages, e.g. Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, and so on, over the years. I saw this tutorial, having just bought Affinity Photo and thought "Yeah, he's chosen an easy, ideal image to work with, it won't be this easy in real life". How wrong I was!

    I opened a picture of my son, which is grainy and slightly blurred, and used these techniques on that…imagine my surprise when it worked like magic, on the first attempt, with a tricky photo too! That selection tool is borderline witchcraft, and the refine option is simply amazing, I don't know whether selection algorithms have improved over the years, but this worked brilliantly for me, and opens up all sorts of artistic options (now I can get great selections) that I'd considered off the table to me previously. It didn't take me very long either, 5-10 minutes in total.

    Thanks for a great tutorial, looking forward to many more!

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