Soften with the Photoshop Elements 11 Blur Tool

The Blur tool in Photoshop Elements 11 can repair an image, or you can use it for more creative tasks. Adding a bit of blur here and there can save an image with some flaws. Blur can also be used for artistic effect – for example, to add a little movement to a soccer ball frozen in time at a very high shutter speed.
You can also darken parts of your image to emphasize and focus on a specific element. The Blur tool makes it easy to draw blur effects exactly where you want them. This tool reduces the contrast between adjacent pixels in the painted area.
The mechanics of using the Blur tool and many of its options are similar to those of the Smudge tool. Just follow these steps:
1. In Photo Editor, in Expert mode, open an image and select the Blur tool from the Tools panel.
2. In Tool Options, select a brush from the Brushes Presets drop-down panel.
Use a small brush to apply small areas of blur.

Use larger brushes with caution. For example, if your goal is to completely blur the background to make the foreground object appear more visible in comparison, it is best to make a selection and apply a Blur filter.
3. In Tool Options, select the blending mode from the Mode drop-down list.
4. In the tool options, select the strength of the blur effect using the strength slider or the text box.
5. If your image contains multiple layers, select the Sample All Layers option to make the elements use the pixels from all visible layers when they produce the effect.
Selecting this option can result in a softer blur when you merge layers later.
6. Paint over the areas you want to blur.
7. When done, choose File → Save to store your image.