Long exposure cloud movement: how to give a sharp sky a slow shutter effect

Long exposure cloud movement: how to give sharp skies a slow shutter speed effect

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 13-15

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 13

13 Select the landscape
Hold down Ctrl and click the ‘Layer 1 copy’ thumbnail to reactivate the selection, then go to Select > Inverse so the landscape is selected instead of the sky. Click the Background layer’s thumbnail, then press Ctrl+J to copy the selected landscape to a new layer (‘Layer 2’).

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 14

14 Set the blur values
Click the ‘Layer 1 copy’ layer’s eye icon to hide the layer. Click ‘Layer 1’, then go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Set Amount to 10, Blur Method to Zoom and Quality to Best. Drag the Blur Centre down in the window to make the clouds blur more towards the top. Hit OK.

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 15

15 Mask the blur
Add a mask to the blurred ‘Layer 1’, then select the Brush tool. Choose a soft brush tip of around 500 pixels, set the Opacity to 100% and make sure the foreground colour is black. Click the mask to target it, and paint over the sky just above the horizon to reveal the sharp clouds.

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How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 16-18

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 16

16 Blur the top layer
Reduce the Opacity of ‘Layer 1’ to 45% to blend the blurred clouds with the original and produce a more subtle layered effect. Click the ‘Layer 1 copy’ thumbnail and go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Set Amount to 20 and click OK. Add a mask to the ‘Layer 1 copy’ layer.

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 17

17 Blend more clouds
Select the Brush tool, use the same size and hardness settings as before, but reduce the Opacity to 30%. By painting grey strokes onto the mask you’ll make the lower part of the sky transparent to blend with the clouds on the lower layers. Set the Opacity of ‘Layer 1 copy’ to 65%.

 

How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: step 18

18 Hide the blurred edges
Some blurred clouds may still be overlapping the top of the building. To fix this, drag ‘Layer 2’ to the top of the layer stack. This will sharpen up the edges of the hills and buildings. You now have a well-exposed shot with motion-blurred clouds.

PAGE 1 – How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 1-6
PAGE 2 – How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 7-12
PAGE 3 – How to create a long exposure cloud movement effect: steps 13-18

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