Blur distracting backgrounds

When shooting a portrait you can flatter your subject by switching the camera to Portrait mode. This opens up the lensaperture to a wide value such as f/4.5. As a result of this wide aperture value the subjectface will look nice and sharp, while background and foreground details will become blurred. When capturing a wider shot of your subject, youneed to step back or zoom out to fit them into the frame. However, if you use the same wide aperture setting it can be more difficult to get the person looking sharp while keeping the background blurred. Youalso get less background blur when shooting while zoomed out, allowing the eye to become distracted by background detail. In this walkthrough weshow you how to use Photoshop Elements to take control of your shotbokeh (background blur), so you can hide distracting details and draw the eye to your main subject. Weshow you how to create a realistic background blur by using the Selection Brush to isolate particular regions and then masks to stop the rest of the frame from blurring. This enables you to apply different blur amounts to specific areas depending on their distance from the lens, mimicking the look of a lens-induced bokeh effect. Youalso learn how to use masks to control the behaviour of Adjustment Layers, so you can target and reduce the intensity of the distracting specular highlights without adjusting the exposure in the rest of the shot. Open the start file 1 Drag blur_before.dng into a folder on your computer, launch Photoshop Elements, then go to File>Open. Browse to the start image and click Open. The raw shot will open in the Adobe Camera Raw editor. Press O to see any over-exposed areas as red patches. Clobber clipping 2 Drag the Recovery slider up to 35. The clipping warning patches will disappear, restoring detail to the over-exposed areas while leaving correctly exposed tones unaltered. Set Vibrance to +40 to boost colours without over-saturating skin tones. Sharpen up 3 Use the Zoom tool to view the shot at 100%. Click on the Detail tab. Increase the Amount slider to 45 to tease out more detail, then drag Colour to 100 to remove colour noise from the blurred background. Drag Luminance to 15 to reduce the grain. Duplicate the layer 4 Click Open Image to take the shot into the standard Photoshop Elements editor. Click on the Background layer s thumbnail in the Layers palette and press Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate it. Double-click on the duplicated layer s label and re-name it Rear Trunk. Select the trunk 5 Grab the Quick Selection tool and tick Auto-Enhance. Click and spray over the rear trunk to select it. If you accidentally select the foreground trunk, tick Subtract from Selection, then spray to remove the foreground trunk from the selection. Add a mask 6 Choose Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection and a Layer Mask will appear. Click on the Background layer s eye icon to hide it. Most of the Rear Trunk layer is masked, but some background leaves may still be visible. We ll tidy the selection by editing the mask. Modify the mask 7 Grab the Brush tool and choose a soft tip of 45 pixels. Click Brush Dynamics and set Brush Hardness to 50%. Click on the Layer Mask. Set the foreground colour to black and spray over unwanted details. Use a white tip to reveal missing bits of trunk. Try selective blur 8 Click on the Background layer s eye icon to make it visible again, then click on the Rear Trunk layer s thumbnail to target that layer (rather than its Layer Mask.) Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, set Radius to 7 and click OK to blur the rear trunk only. Select the leaves

Blur distracting backgrounds9 Click the Background layer and press Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate. Name this  Leaves . Use the Selection Brush and spray to select the background leaves. Use Subtract from Selection to remove the girl s head from the selection. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection.

Blur the leaves 10 Click on the Leaves layer, then go to Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur. Push the Radius up to 17% to make the distant leaves look more blurred. Click OK. Click on the mask and spray a white tip to blur sharp leaves around the edge of the subject or the trunk. Add selective blur 11 Click on the Rear Trunk s mask and set the foreground colour to white. Set the Brush tool s Opacity to 20%. Spray a grey stroke over the rear trunk above the girl s head to create a semi-transparent blend between the blurred layer and the details below. Reduce the highlights 12 Ctrl/Cmd-click on the Leaves layer s mask to re-activate the selection marquee. Choose Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels and click OK. An Adjustment Layer with a mask appears. Drag the white highlight Output slider to 227 to darken the highlights. Create believable blur in Photoshop CS6 Create an even more realistic bokeh effect using CS6more sophisticated Lens Blur filter When you shoot with a wide aperture setting, the blur in the background is referred to as bokeh (a Japanese term for blur). Lens-induced blur has a distinct look, in which colours and shapes blend into each other. A lens-induced bokehhighlights can appear as polygonal shapes. This is due to the interlocking iris blades that enable your cameraaperture to open and close. However, when you apply the Gaussian Blur filter in Photoshop Elements, areas like the leaves’specular highlights become soft irregular-shaped blobs. PhotoshopCS6 boasts more advanced blur filters that enable you to produce a smoother and more natural-looking bokeh effect. Create a mask 1 Follow steps 1 to 3 of our main walkthrough to tweak colours and tones in ACR, and then open the image in the standard editor. The selection and mask-creating techniques in steps 4 to 7 also apply to Photoshop CS6, but the following blur techniques differ... Field Blur 2 Once you ve added a mask and targeted the Rear Trunk layer, go to Filter>Blur and choose Field Blur. This is designed to create the type of lens blur produced by a shallow depth of field. Drag the slider to 10 pixels to gently blur the background tree trunk. Select the leaves 3 Photoshop CS6 s new Blur Gallery also boasts a quick way to produce Tilt-Shift effects. Click OK to apply the Field Blur to the trunk, then follow step 9 of our main walkthrough to isolate the background leaves. Next, we ll show you how to create a convincing bokeh. Add Lens Blur 4 Go to Filter>Blur>Lens Blur. Tick More Accurate and set Radius to 21. Set the Iris Shape to Octagon and drag the Blade Curvature slider to 52. Set Noise Amount to 2 and tick Monochromatic. This helps the blurred areas match noise in the rest of the shot,

Comments are closed.