How can I make an object look like it’s moving fast?
Answer Tony replies
There are all kinds of ways to make something look fastmoving. I’ll go over a couple of different approaches, with the help of a time-travelling pilot.
The first thing to consider is whether the ‘camera’ is tracking the object. If so, the focus will have sharper edges and the background will be almost all soft edges. If the camera is stationary, the background will be clear and anything fast is going to be a blur. I’ve done something in between the two, so you can see how both approaches work.
For a background in motion, try using Filter>Blur>Radial Blur, ensuring it’s set to Zoom. Use the little grid to move the focal point over your desired vanishing point (remember to keep all motion visuals in perspective), and you’ll get a kind of tunnel blur effect.
For a fast-moving focal point, I suggest painting the subject on its own layer. Then you can duplicate it and use Filter>Blur> Motion Blur. You’ll end up with a ghostly streak effect that suggests an object moving a large distance fast.
Another way is to have the colours and values from an object bleeding back in perspective, like comic-book speed lines. The red bombs bouncing around are examples of this effect. For every layer you want to treat this way, I suggest making a blurred and non-blurred version. Adjust Opacity to refine later.
Motion blur is a great start for implying movement in an illustration. Make sure to keep things in perspective, though, and don’t soften everything so much it becomes uninteresting.
Composition is another big component in expressing movement. Have figures leaning into their step to give the impression that they’re hurtling forward.