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by Wendi Elizabeth Martha Scarth


Speed Bursts
Adobe Photoshop


 Create Speed Bursts
  Suitable for Adobe Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 & CC
Skill Level - Intermediate

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This tutorial demonstrates how to add impact and movement to images by applying a speed burst. To work along, you are welcome to download the image I am working with HereUnzip and open it onto Photoshop’s workspace.

Understanding Layers
Understanding Blending Modes
Understand The Workspace And Palettes

Undo and Navigation Steps
Two ways of undoing steps are from the top menu, Edit then Step Backwards. Alternatively, click a previous snapshot in the History Palette.

Navigate (zoom in and pan) your image using the Navigator Palette,

or the Zoom Tool.

Activate The Hand Tool by tapping the Spacebar, keeping the Spacebar pressed, pan your image in the usual way.

Open your Start Iimage onto Photoshop’s workspace.

Then Duplicate the Background Layer by left-clicking and dragging it over the following Create a new layer icon - located at the bottom of the Layers Palette.


Now, working on the Background Copy Layer: from the top menu, choose Filter then choose Blur then choose Radial Blur. Set the following attributes and click OK. The Top Layer will then change to the following.


Still working on the Background Copy Layer, activate the Eraser Tool.

And set the following (Basic Brush) attributes - notice the Opacity is set to 50%.

Now, gently remove the blurred biker to reveal the underlying unedited image.

Depending on the size of your image, you may need to resize the Eraser Tool’s Brush

Quickly Adjust The Brush Size
To adjust the Brush Size, press your Keyboard’s Square (left-side or right-side) Bracket Keys - ensuring the Keyboard is set to lower case, and Not capitals.


Still working on the Background Copy Layer: from the top menu, choose Image then choose Adjustments then choose Curves. Now, to darken the image slightly, click two points along the Curve, then manipulate the Curve into a gentle S shape - as illustrated below, then click OK.

The Top Layer has been darkened slightly: - however, for personal results, always experiment with the Curves Editor.

It’s time to create the flare, and to render it moveable we are going to apply onto its own Layer. Therefore, ensure the Foreground Colour is set to Black by tapping your Keyboard’s D Key. (This sets the default Foreground and Background Black and White Swatches).

And ensuring the Top Layer remains active, click the following Create new layer icon.

This places a New Transparent Layer above the Background Copy Layer.

Now, to fill the New Transparent Layer with Solid Black: press and hold the Keyboard’s Alt Key: then tap the Backspace Key

Alternatively, from the top menu, choose Edit then choose Fill Layer.  From the subsequent Fill Layer dialogue box, under the Contents menu, change the Use to Foreground Colour - then click OK.

(Alt and Backspace clicking fills a canvas with the Foreground colour).


From the top menu, choose Filter then choose Render then choose Lens Flare. And from the subsequent Lens Flare dialogue box, set the following attributes, or experiment, then click OK.

Grab the flare and drag it to a central position.

From the Layers Palette, change the Flare Layer’s
Blending Mode from Normal to Screen.

(Changing the Blending Mode to Screen renders Solid Black pixels transparent).


Now, because you have created the flare on its own Layer, it can be repositioned.
To reposition the flare: from the Toolbar activate the Move Tool.

And then drag the flare to a different position.

12/ Monochrome Optional Tip
Prior to Flattening the Layers: activate the Background Copy Layer (the Middle Layer) - as illustrated below. 

Then from the top menu, choose Image then Adjustments then Desaturate. This changes just the peripheral area to monochromatic.

For personal results, experiment with Photoshop’s various Filters and Commands.

Prior to Flattening the Layers, you can preserve them by saving your work as a
PSD File.

To finish, from the top menu, choose Layer then choose Flatten Image

Congratulations your work is complete
and is ready to save.

Wendi E M Scarth. 
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