ugaldew's blog

Create Depth of Field in PS

posted by ugaldew, May 19, 2006 2:35 AM — 31 comments

HI SXCers : In today’s tutorial we will learn a very cool trick to create an exceptionally convincing Depth of Field effect . Trick initially posted in the Photoshop users magazine but we will add a little trick of the NAPP an do it in the SXC way !! So lets check this out ! Visual steps / 5 minute edition / Photoshop CS min

Note : The minimum software version is Photoshop CS , I’m using CS2

This is the effect we want to achieve at the end of this practice

Photo Summer Smiles by Chrissi

Download this practice’s PSD File (0.5MB)

I will use for this exercise the Photo Pupil and Books by Radzio

So lets get started !

>> Step 1
(Add a new channel )

Open your desired image in Photoshop (CS or CS2) , Then go to your layer palette and click channels (in the top)

At the bottom of this channel palette there is an icon named “create new channel” it is a square icon with the shape of a folded sheet , Click it

The Alpha 1 layer will be added and your image will turn into black cause the RRB channel is not selected anymore , So select visualize the RGB

>> Step 2
(Create a gradient )

Now we have our image under this red layer , the red means the area of the new “ alpha 1 layer “ and it also means the area the will not be affected by the blur lens effect . So next we need to add a gradient to erase part of the alpha channel and to get our blur area

So activate your gradient tool in the tool panel and your make a gradient

The gradient start point has be over 20 % inside your focused desired object , and the end pont is edge of your pic.

it should look like this

>> Step 3
(Add Lens Blur Filter to the Background Layer )


First you have to turn off he visibility of the “alpha 1 layer “ and select the RGB channel , then go to your layers palette , and select the Background Layer


Next open the Lens Blur Filter panel ( Filter / Blur / Lens Bur )

In this panel selct "alpha 1" in the source box ,this is the name of the layer we have just created , if you named the layer differently it will appear as you named it

Now play with the radius scale to add the desired lens blur to your image .

-If you want to invert the blur click the invert box

Note : if you see a black and white gradient instead of your image , it is because you , didn’t select the background layer or because you didn’t deselect the channel layer we created . In case this happened , click cancel and repeat step 3

we've finished click okay and that was all !!!

Important Tip : If your desired focal point is in the centre of your image. you will have a hard time adding two the gradients (step2) , so in order to have these 2 gradients . 1) Selct new channel’s layer (alpha 1 ) then change it to mode screen blend( in the mode box at the top of Photoshop ) and VUALA !!! you will be able to add a second gradient

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial , This definitively will add a very convincing depth of field effect to your pics !

For any doubt or problem with this tutorial feel free to write to : I will answer asap

Miguel Ugalde (Ugaldew)

Comments | RSS

1. posted by Slantsixx, May 19, 2006 6:21 AM

I think I know whose getting the iPod!

Dang. Did I say that out loud? :)

2. posted by rrss, May 21, 2006 11:18 PM

Great tutorial.

Don't know how I ever missed the 'Lens Blur' filiter, I always use Gausian.


3. posted by poetul, May 23, 2006 12:19 PM

I won`t comment alot about this tut... Just a few that know how to do it share it with the rest and you are one of them :) I will rate this as the best, because it just is. Cheers ;)

4. posted by Ballez, May 24, 2006 8:10 PM

Nice! very nice!

5. posted by magstefan, Jun 2, 2006 11:18 PM

Hey! Very useful. You can even work with sphearical fillings to receive a great spot off one sharp point!!


6. posted by alx_drakko, Jul 21, 2006 10:39 AM

Yep, you're good dude!

7. posted by VijayDave, Aug 24, 2006 5:39 AM

This is really very good. I would like to show my examples, exactly blurred as like a lence with different focusing and appartures blurrs the forground and background. See the example on my site : at the following link : cus.html

8. posted by dianazuru, Aug 6, 2012 1:45 PM

Very simple, thanks!

9. posted by silent_2_h, Sep 17, 2006 11:06 AM

very useful :)... thnx..!!!

10. posted by Morigaine, Oct 10, 2006 2:31 PM

Thank you very much for posting this.. I am taking digital photography and have wanted to know how to add it to already taken photos.. This tutorial is really helpful.

11. posted by jwmedia, Oct 16, 2006 7:56 PM

OKAY I am not getting it. After you create an Alpha Channel, your instructions say - "So select visualize the RGB".
Where exactly do you select visualize the RGB? Perhaps my PC version of CS2 doesn't have this option?

12. posted by jwmedia, Oct 16, 2006 8:14 PM

OKAY I get ot now. Thanks for this groovy process. I used to try the same thing but laboriously cutting out the "focused" section, then pasting it on top of the blur. What a hassle and very messy.

13. posted by numa, Oct 24, 2006 9:06 PM

i will use it....voy a usar para mi clase de fotografia y es mas facil hacerlo en la compu que con la reflex...

14. posted by stv5, Dec 20, 2006 7:03 PM

To simulate lense blur you 1st have to know what depth of field is and how it is introduced in a photo.making a mask for using in lense blur filter is not that easy as just drawing a gradient,it takes a lot of work,depending on the picture.
This is definately NOT a convincing Depth of Field effect.Its obviously a randomly blured image and a bad technique.You could just duplicate the layer,blur it and mask it with the same gradient to have the same effect in no time.

15. posted by morleys, Aug 7, 2007 2:51 PM

Where do I find the visualize the RGB? Sorry haven't got past step one yet!!

16. posted by dirtypaper, Jan 31, 2008 12:00 AM

Great turotial, but instead of using the LENS BLUR i would use the GAUSIAN BLUR. Although the lens blur should be more natural the gausian one seems better, but thats a matter of taste i think.

17. posted by pixella5, Aug 1, 2008 7:00 AM

usefull tut.
thank you

18. posted by tengcheer, Oct 15, 2008 11:40 AM

thanx so much! i no longer i hav to worry tat i'm not a good photographer!

19. posted by curchods, Mar 9, 2009 3:49 PM

Duplicate layer, gausian blur, add layer mask, black out the area in focus. Ten seconds to create the same result?

20. posted by sohbet, Jun 20, 2009 3:30 PM

Great turotial, but instead of using the LENS BLUR i would use the GAUSIAN BLUR. Although the lens blur should be more natural the gausian one seems better, but thats a matter of taste i think.

21. posted by youem, Sep 30, 2009 4:36 AM

thank u

22. posted by perikueto, Jul 20, 2009 8:18 PM

This tutorial rocks. Thank you so much.

23. posted by perikueto, Jul 20, 2009 8:19 PM

i will use it....voy a usar para mi clase de fotografia y es mas facil hacerlo en la compu que con la reflex...

Jajajajaja. Qué mal. Con la cámara es sencillísimo, sólo practícalo.

24. posted by escan, Aug 20, 2010 2:42 PM


25. posted by disenoweb9, Feb 22, 2013 7:49 AM


26. posted by softener, May 31, 2013 7:57 AM

I like these easy and simple tutorials, all very helpfull, thanks.

27. posted by trainer2, May 31, 2013 8:53 AM

I would love to make such effects!!!

28. posted by piabpn953, Jun 21, 2013 2:03 AM

Nice! very nice!

29. posted by carlislekm, Jul 29, 2013 4:25 AM

Very interesting

30. posted by korinci, Aug 23, 2013 11:59 PM

very useful :)

31. posted by shannahqxh, Aug 24, 2013 6:39 AM

very nice

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