Design insights & tutorials.

Faking Depth of Field in Photoshop (w/Ps action)

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faking-depth-of-field-header

Here’s a quick technique that I use to fake depth of field in Photoshop and add realism to my images. I’ve seen this technique mentioned in various tutorials I’ve read, so it’s really nothing new. But it’s a good trick that I feel you should know.

1. Create a new Channel

2. With that Channel selected, add a reflected gradient at about 80 degrees. Black in the center and white around the edges.

3. Select your RGB channel and go back to your layers.

4. Filter > Lens Blur

5. Select your new alpha channel as your “depth map” source

6. Adjust the radius to your liking, don’t overdo it. Be gentle.

spraypaint-beforespraypaint-afterspraypaint-light

See example images for before and after. Try adding lighting effects or other subtleties to make the effect more cohesive and realistic. Or better yet, work off a 3D render or image already in perspective for more accurate and convincing results.

3drender-before

3drender-after

What’s that you say? This would make a great Photoshop action? Indeed it would. You can download the Depth Of Field Photoshop Action (6153) right here!

About the Author, Jeff Finley

I'm a partner at Go Media, a Cleveland web design and development firm. We also specialize in print design and branding. I started Weapons of Mass Creation Fest and wrote the book Thread's Not Dead, teaching artists and designers how to start a clothing company. In my spare time, I write songs and play drums in Campfire Conspiracy. I'm a happy husband and an aspiring b-boy and lucid dreamer.
Discover More by Jeff Finley

Discussion

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  • http://www.stevemullencreative.com/ Steve Mullen

    Nice tip, Thanks!

  • http://www.orphicpixel.com Mars / Kulot

    this is useful to those low budget photographers

  • http://www.empfehlenswert-wien.at/ wien

    very helpful, thanks

  • http://graphicriver.net/user/GeertDD Geert

    Great technique. I had been using Gaussian Blur for similar effects, but Lens Blur is so much more realistic. Thanks!

  • http://www.natemaggio.com/ Nate Maggio

    Hahaha, love the alert in the beginning. Great little tut!

  • facebook-52803839

    For anyone that spends a lot of time taking pictures of things (particularly taking pictures of things while on top of rooftops/fire escapes/etc.) this is a great way to get a fake tilt-shift effect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilt-shift_miniatu

    It's what you see in some Adult Swim bumps and Keith Loutit videos.

  • Simon H.

    YEAAAAAAY :-) Thanks a lot!

  • marleymax

    Great one thanks – again!! :D

  • deathlock

    It is sad to see more and more people trying to compete to be the best digital photo editor.

    Hell, photography is the matter of technique in the field, not the technique behind the dark room. Art is not a matter of what, but how. People fail to realize the importance of originality of a photograph and praise the photoshopped result too much.

  • csj89

    I always suck at faking my DOF, thanks guys! :)

  • http://fara7wentblogging.wordpress.com/ Farah Mansour

    Nice trick, Thanks.

  • http://www.nazcarpine.com nazcar

    cool.. thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Brusheezy Brusheezy

    Very awesome! Definitely be using this in the future. Thanks Jeff!

  • PG

    Sweet! Never thought to do DOF this way, I always used another method.

    If you guys ever branch out to Columbus, I'm gonna come knocking :)

  • geoffmay

    Couldn't photo editing be an art in itself that's separate from the art of photography? Just sayin'

  • geoffmay

    Cool trick, Jeff.

  • Vim82

    great tip never actually thought of creating depth using this technique. This would be a great in future projects, i guess this would be something a low budget photographer would use?

  • http://www.gomedia.us jeff_finley

    A low budget photographer, someone without their own photography resources, or simply just a designer who wants to make their images look cool.

  • deathlock

    It could, but it won't be photography anymore.

    Problem is, people often do not separate photo editing with the real photography. Still classified as the same old buck. So, 'duh.

  • michal

    Nice and simple effect. thx

  • http://colorloaded.wordpress.com/ Fatal Frame

    I just used this and it worked great for the individual piece.

  • http://www.harmonlegal.net/ Arizona bankruptcy lawyer

    Awesome app! Thanks for the tip.

  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk Vim82

    Hi Sir/Madam

    I am currently out of the office until 4th January, i shall respond
    to any querries as soon as i return.

    Merry Christmas and a happy new year
    Vim

  • ceti

    Nice tip, Thanks!
    dizi izle

  • Matt

    Thanks for this nice work!
    dizi izle

  • http://www.clippingimages.com/ Clippingimages

    Nice one…great share…thanks.. :D

  • http://www.clippingpathindia.com Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni

    Helpful tip, Thanks for sharing.

  • Pingback: Design Process: Creating the Cover Art for Parachute Journalists – Graphic design tutorials, freebies, & advice by working artists and designers. | GoMediaZine

  • http://www.cardsoftware.net Amanda Smit

    Excellent tip and so easy to accomplish, Thank you!