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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Helper - Using The Depth Of Field Tool

About 2 months ago I upgrade from Photoshop Elements 7 to PSE10.  There are so many new editing tools that this version offers.  Naturally, I'm still behind in my investigation of what these new tools can do for you. I decided to check out what the Depth of Field tool could do for me.  If you've taken some photos but didn't adjust your depth of field settings to blur out the background when you took the original photo, you can still make some adjustments afterward to "fake" that effect.

Here's my before shot.  As you can see, I've got all of the background greenery in focus.  So let's try to blur out that background to make the hippo stand out a bit more.

Start with the Guided Edit mode.  Under Lens Effects, select Depth Of Field.

You'll need to chose a method - either Simple or Complex.  I tried Simple but it didn't give me enough control over how the image was processed, so I recommend you skip right to the Complex method.

You'll be guided through 3 simple steps.  The first thing to do is click on the Quick Selection Tool which allows you to trace around the area that you want to keep in focus.

Draw around the hippo and you'll see how you get the marching ants.  Inside this shape will stay in focus.  Second is to click on the Add Blur button.  This will create a blur around the entire hippo outside of the marching ants.  And finally, you can use the slider bar to increase the amount of blur.  If you don't like the effect, you can always reset to get back to the original photo.

Here's the after photo.  See how the hippo pops out a bit more?

With portraits, you can blur out the noisy background behind the main focus of Pooh Bear hugging my 2 boys.  Here's the before:

And now after the background was blurred.

Another wildlife example.  Before:


By adjusting the sliders, you can make the blur very slight or very dramatic.  It's all a matter of taste.  Give it a try this week.  Hope you have a fabulous week!

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