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No one wants a resulting picture that can not be used due to a blurred effect, especially on the subject. Whether your photos are ruined due to camera shake or wrong focus, learning how to fix a blurry picture in Photoshop can help you save it and make it usable.
Before starting out, it is better to clarify that Photoshop cannot retrieve details from a photo that has a high amount of blur. As the blur increases, the details are lost, which simply means that any efforts to fix a high amount of blur would go in vain.
However, an image that is slightly blurred can be sharpened by several methods in Photoshop.
Suppose you have an image where the subject is slightly blurred due to movement, shaking of the camera, or a slow shutter speed. You can improve it and restore many of the details using sharpening, noise reduction, and some other features in Photoshop.
Naturally, the method that closely fits your situation will give the best results, but you can always retry with another method if one doesn’t seem to work. Let’s dive deep into the automated and manually tweakable features that are helpful for the restoration of blurred photos.
1. Shake Reduction Feature to Fix Blur
The most common type of blur in photos is caused by motion. When a motion blur occurs, there are issues with noise, sharpening, as well as contrast. Among various automatic features by Adobe Photoshop, the Shake Reduction feature does a pretty good job at handling such issues.
Whether your image looks hazy due to a linear, rotational or zigzag motion, try running it through the Shake Reduction to fix it.
Create a duplicate layer of your Background to ensure non destructive editing. Additionally, convert it into a smart object by going to the Filter menu and select Convert for Smart Filters.
Go to the Filter menu once again, scroll down to Noise, and select Reduce Noise from the options.
You can zoom in and out and use the hand tool to focus on the area with the most blur.
Click on the Basic mode
Tweak the sliders for Strength, Preserve Details, Reduce Color Noise, and Sharpen Details. Try to set the balance until you get the desired results.
Check the option for Remove JPEG Artifact.
Select OK to close the Noise Reduction dialog.
As you have used a smart filter, you can always go back and re-edit if desired.
The Advance mode in Noise Reduction will show the Per Channel tab. You can select the red, blue, and green channels one by one and Tweak the sliders for Strength and Preserve Details for each one.
After you get the desired effects, click on OK to close the Noise Reduction filter.
3. Smart Sharpening Method to Fix Blur
The Smart Sharpening mode gives you complete control over the editing, and you can improve your editing skills by practicing it on blurry photos.
Open your blurry image in Adobe Photoshop CC.
Make a copy of your Background layer to preserve the original image. Press CTRL/CMD + J to make a duplicate layer.
Convert the duplicate layer into a Smart object. Go to Filter > Convert for Smart Filters.
Now that you are set with the initial steps go to the Filter menu and select Sharpen. Next, click on Smart Sharpen from the submenu.
When the Smart Sharpen dialog opens, choose the type of blur from the drop down that you want Photoshop to fix.
Increase the Amount Slider to the maximum that is 500.
Reduce Noise all the way down.
Gradually increase radius until details are sharpened. Don't worry about noise in this step.
Now gradually increase the Noise slider. Finally, click on OK once you see improved results and recovered details.
Select the Smart Filter mask on the layer, and invert it by pressing CTRL / CMD + I.
Select the Brush tool. Decrease its flow to 10% from the Options bar at the top.
Select the soft round pressure opacity and flow brush. Next, select the appropriate size for your brush.
Make sure that the foreground color is white. Then, start painting on the details.
You will see that the blurry areas are now significantly clear and sharpened.
4. High Pass Filter to Fix Blur
The High Pass filter is also a very handy smart filter when you are looking to sharpen a photo. It can be accessed via the Filter menu. Try following this method on a blurry image to see how efficiently it works.
Import a blurry image into Photoshop.
Choose the background layer in the Layer panel, and press CTRL/CMD + J to create its Duplicate.
Go to the Filter menu and select Convert for Smart Filters.
Now go to the Filter menu, hover to the Others option, and select High Pass.
Select the appropriate Radius by bringing the slider up until you see a significant improvement in the image’s sharpening. You may stop when the lines and image outlines start becoming clear.
Click on OK.
Now go to the Blend Modes in the Layers panel, and choose Linear Light or Overlay from the drop down.
Bring down the layer opacity to get the results that you want.
Flatten the image by going to the Layer menu and selecting Flatten Image.
You can now compare the before and after views to see how well the High Pass filter and the blending mode of layers have worked.
Although blur and haziness cannot be removed 100%, Photoshop editing techniques explained above will make your photos usable by improving the sharpness. You can apply adjustments like levels, contrast, curves, and vignetting to enhance the images further after you have tried any of these methods. You can finally save all the blurry photos you earlier thought were ruined.