Photoshop CS5 Blur Tools Creating Nasty Posterization? Help!

Started Dec 18, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Shawn Storm
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Photoshop CS5 Blur Tools Creating Nasty Posterization? Help!
Dec 18, 2012

This has been driving me crazy for a couple months and I can't seem to find a solution anywhere.  I shoot mostly RAW and process with Adobe Lightroom.  I then usually touch them up in Photoshop CS5 before saving them for the web.  I often like to take slightly noisy backgrounds that are out of focus and blur them with the "lens blur" filter to give a nice soft blurry background look.  However, lately this has resulted in nasty looking "posterization" (I think that is the most appropriate term..?).  I have been doing this for years with great results and I'm baffled as to what has changed.  This happens with all blur tools (gaussian, blur tool, lens blur, etc).  I have tried working with 16 bit images instead of 8 bit, but the issue is still identical.

Below is an example that hopefully shows what I am talking about.  Original image on the left and blurred image on the right.  Notice the caterpillar is nice and blurry with no posterization, while the green background got all funky instead of soft and blurry.

Example of my issue.

Thanks in advance for any help with this.

Shawn

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