Hi there! I’m here today to share a tip for blurring portions of your scrapbook pages for posting on the web. Do you post your scrapbook pages online? If you do, you may have found that there are occasions when your pages contain items that you don’t feel comfortable sharing online. That could be any number of things, perhaps identifying information, private journaling, names, or the face of a child. You get the gist. I’m here to tell you that you can still post those pages online. You’ll just want to blur the portion of your scrapbook page you want to keep private.
I’ve accomplished this several different ways over the years, but I’ve got a method that I use now that I feel works really well and is pretty quick. What’s my method you ask? I use the Gaussian blur and I’ll show you how.
I am a digi Project Lifer and I like to share my weekly pages online, but the pages occasionally contain things that I’d prefer to keep private. I’m going to show you a Project Life page that I created earlier this year and show you how I easily blurred a portion of my page to keep it private. Following is the page I’m going to start with. In reality, I’m comfortable with anyone reading or seeing any part of this page, but I’ll blur a portion anyway to show you my method.
FYI, I created this page using Scotty Girl Design’s This Year 2014 Spring collection and my own Project Life template.
This method works for whatever you want to obscure, but I’ll start with a portion of my journaling. I’m going to show you a really zoomed in portion of my page. Let’s say I don’t want to share the cities where my husband traveled that week. I’ll share with you my process of blurring those words so they can’t be read.
Step 1: Start with a flattened version of your page.
I don’t like to blur portions of my pages on my layered PSD files because I don’t want to run the risk of accidentally overwriting or messing up my “real” page. If I start with the JPG I know that I can always recreate it if I goof something up. (You know, we all goof up sometimes, right? OK, I do at least!)
Here are a couple options (1) Open the JPG you’ve saved for print. OR (2) If you’ve got your layered PSD file open, you can flatten it. Please, if you’re flattening your PSD file SAVE IT FIRST and work on a COPY. It would be so sad if you accidentally saved over your PSD and couldn’t get it back. Been there. Done that. It did make me sad and mad at myself! OR (3) If you’ve got your layered PSD file open you can create a composite layer as the top layer and work on that. To create a composite layer, in the layers palette go to the top most VISIBLE layer and press CMD+OPTION+SHIFT+e on a Mac or press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+e on a PC.
Step #2. Select a portion of your page you want to blur.
Grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool (Hotkey M) and select the word (or whatever it is you want to obscure) that you want to blur. In this case I selected the names of the cities my husband visited that week. NOTE: You can select multiple areas at one time if you click on the Add to Selection button on the top bar. (See image below.) Notice the marching ants around the words I am going to blur out?
NOTE: Another option you can make at this point when you’re making your selection(s) is whether or not to feather your selection(s). When I’m blurring only words I don’t use a feather. If I’m blurring a face I do blur the selection. Feathering the edges will make the edges of the selection less crisp.
NOTE: If I’m blurring faces I use the Elliptical Marquee Tool. You will find the Elliptical Marquee Tool hidden beneath the Rectangular Marquee Tool.
Step #3. Blur the highlighted selection(s).
Select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
From here you can see how much (or how little) what you’ve highlighted is going to be blurred by the filter with the current settings. For my example I chose a radius of 4 pixels. Reducing the number of pixels means less blurring; increasing the number of pixels means more blurring. You will see the effect of the blur radius you chose in real time as you move and release the slider. Click OK when you’ve chosen a blur radius.
Step #4. Deselect the highlighted selection.
You will now want to deselect the area(s) you had highlighted. You can do that by pressing CMD+D on a Mac or CTRL+D on a PC. At this point you’ve blurred your selection and you can move on to another part of your page if you’ve got more you want to obscure.
NOTE: I typically blur smaller portions at a time because I usually want to use a different blur radius/feather depending on what I’m selecting. I’ll blur the words from one portion of my page and move on to words in different sections and then do faces, house numbers, license plates, etc. It’s all personal preference and what works best in your workflow.
Now that I’ve shared how I do this process, I’m going to quickly share a page where I broke my rules. I didn’t blur only a small portion of the page; I blurred nearly all the journaling. Another thing I did was I performed the steps to obscure portions of my page within a layered PSD file. I know, I said never to do that. In this instance though, if I’d blurred from a flattened version of my page it would have blurred the blended image behind the journaling and I thought that would look odd, so I broke my rule of always working from a flattened page. I did duplicate the PSD file before I did the blurring so that I was still working on a copy. (To duplicate a file go to Image > Duplicate > OK) Blurring the entire journaling allowed me to share a page I otherwise wouldn’t have wanted to post.
FYI, I created the page above using: Scotty Girl Design’s More than Just Mom kit, Wishing Well Creations’ Everyday Life Library Date Card Stamps 2013 , and the heart brad was from Creashens’ Krafternoon Delight kit – all available at Pixels & Co.
So, that’s it. It’s not so bad, right? Now you can just move on to saving your page for the web.
As with all things Photoshop, there are lots of different ways to blur and obscure portions of your pages, this is the method that works best for me. If you’ve got other methods you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear about them. Post them in the comments!