Have you ever wished you could create custom and controlled blur effects on backgrounds or photos? CS6 has added a new Blur Gallery that will give you just that… or wait, do you already have Instagram? You can access the Blur Gallery through the Filter Menu under Blur. You’ll notice the three new Blur options that have been added: Field-Blur, Iris-Blur and Tilt-Shift.
Field blur creates simple, all-over blurs or allows you to place pins around specific areas to control the amount of blur through the pin wheel or sliders in the blur menu. You may move your pins around by clicking on the middle point or delete them by hitting the delete key. Here’s an example of a field blur used on this image of tasty tacos.
And the result:
Iris Blur is great for focusing on single objects in an image. You may change the size, rotation and shape of the focus area by adjusting the handles. You can control the image feathering by adjusting the white handles that live inside the focus area. Here are those tacos again, using Iris Blur – which is much quicker and easier for what we’re trying to accomplish here.
Tilt Shift is great for giving photos a miniature or fantasy-like feel. It’s not great for close-up images and works best for bird’s eye views where you want the focus to be on subjects that are a distance away from the camera. Tilt Shift has the same blur pin point that is able to control the amount of blur or be moved to a specific point in your photograph, which lives inside of the focused area. You’re able to rotate your blur as well as adjust the height of the transition areas (between the focus area and the solid line – transitioning to blur) and the blur area (beyond the dotted line – completely blurred). If you’d like to distort the blur area even further, you may adjust through the Distortion slider in the menu, and select Symmetric Distortion to make each side of the blur match. Here’s the Austin Capitol Building… mini-land style.
If you’re wondering what the Bokeh menu is all about: Bokeh is a lighting effect that occurs to the out of focus portions of an image – think shiny light on water or lens-flare style lighting effects. You can adjust the sliders to show how it will affect your out-of-focus highlights to see if it’s a look you like on your image.
Out of focus is in – blur it up! We used these handy new tools on this promotional site we launched recently to help create depth in the background image: http://freerentcontest.com/.
Technocamp Bonus: iStock Photoshop Plug-in
Pretty handy little plug-in for those of us that peruse the stock photo sites quite a bit. Search is a bit limited to photos and illustrations only and no keywords, but allows you to place comps directly within your file and even purchase through the plug-in. Give it a whirl, saves a bit of time – you can download here: