advanced photoshop

How to speed up movement in sports images

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Tips & Tutorials, by The Advanced Photoshop Team

Use the Wind filter in Photoshop to make moving objects look like they’re going faster

When a moving vehicle is photographed, the true speed of its movement isn’t always captured. The background may be blurred so you can tell that it was a fast-moving object, but the object itself can look static. This is because camera’s try and stabilise moving objects so that they look crisp – a desirable feature in photography when you want no blur. However, in Photoshop, you can get more creative and create effects that you might not be able to do in-camera. And if you do it on a duplicate of your photo, you always have the sharp original to go back to.

Photoshop has a filter called Wind, which detects edges in an image and applies a blur, as if it’s moving. This technique is ideal for sports or motor photography.

By following these quick steps you can use the Wind filter for an instant injection of energy into your shots.

Step 1: Duplicate background

How to speed up movement in sports images

Drag your image’s Background layer onto the Create a New Layer button in the Layers palette. This will duplicate it to a new layer. Go to Filter>Stylize>Wind.

Step 2: Set up wind

How to speed up movement in sports images

In the filter’s menu set Method to Wind and Direction to either From the Right or From the Left. Notice in the Preview window how the effect looks.

Step 3: Strengthen the effect

How to speed up movement in sports images

If it doesn’t look very strong, simply apply the filter again by going into Filter and choosing the first option in the menu, Wind. This lets you keep adding more of the same effect.

How to speed up movement in sports images

  • Louis Stilling

    A bit too corny in my oppinion 😉

  • Sorry, but as a motorsports photographer, this not only looks fake, but is kind of a hack method. Why not show how to go from a static image (hi-speed shutter/ISO), to getting it to look like Photo #1 pictured here? That’s more of an everyday task and challenge that we deal with. It’s worth turning this 40-second tutorial into a 5-minute one and getting more realistic results!

  • Skyhawk
  • Skyhawk

    From experience I’ve learned two simple yet fundamental ways to express speed in an image: either the object – in this case the motorcycle – is stretched and blurred or the background is. Using both techniques simultaneously may not be the best way to express speed. In fact, it may even have an adverse effect by saturating the image with too much blur. Merely using a filter without making additional modifications to your image will not always yield the best results. Photoshop’s Wind Filter is an excellent tool, and a good means to an end result, but it would also help to know your subject, do your research, and pay attention to details.

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