Adding a Sparkler and Motion Blur effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial I use Photoshop to show you how to easily add a unique sparkler and motion blur effect for your portrait photograph.

For this tutorial, you’ll need a basic understanding of Photoshop Classic, including how to use layers, blending modes, masks, filter effects, brushes, and layer opacities.

Step by Step; Adding a Sparkler and Motion Blur Effect in Photoshop

  • Start with your image that already has the basic edits completed (i.e. exposure, white balance, toning, etc.)
  • Duplicate your background layer, then select Filter > Blur > Motion Blur
    • When the Motion Blur panel pops up, select your options. For this image, my angle was 90ยบ and my distance was 688.
    • Decrease the opacity of this layer to expose some of the detail in the layer below. I chose 82%
  • Add your sparkle layer. You may want to rotate, resize, or recolor your sparkle layer — I chose to apply an HSL layer adjustment. You can read a tutorial here for how to do an HSL layer adjustment.
    • You’ll need to select the drill down icon (square with an arrow pointing down) so the adjustment only applies to the layer immediately below it and not to the whole image.
    • Select your blending mode – for this image I chose “Screen Blending”
  • Finally create another duplicate of your original/background image and drag it to the top of your layers.
    • Select the subject by selecting the Object Selection tool and then clicking “Select Subject” at the top of the editing window. Note that the Object Selection tool is usually more accurate than the Magic Wand or Quick Select tool.
    • Once you’ve got your selection, click Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.
    • You can then further tweak your mask once it’s created.
  • That’s it!

You can read more about my photoshop mentoring here, my recent accomplishments and achievements here, and see some of my creative work here.