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Creating Lens Blur Effects with Focal Point 2

Article Description

Photoshop expert Dan Moughamian demonstrates how Focal Point 2 helps photographers to draw attention to the most important parts of their image, by carefully blurring other parts of the shot.
Working with the Focus Bug

Working with the Focus Bug

Once a Focus Bug is applied to the image, we can open the Focus Bug panel, which contains a few simple options for adding and removing bugs, and for controlling their shape, opacity, and feather values. By default, a round Focus Bug is added to the scene, creating a “sweet spot” or central focus region, with blurred pixels surrounding it. There is also a planar (or linear) Focus Bug option, which we’ll use in this example and which is generally more applicable for landscape photos, or any diorama-like effect you may want to create.

To change the shape of the Focus Bug, choose Planar from the Shape pop-up menu. Afterward you should see a blur running from the top of the scene to the bottom, with a central sweet spot down the middle (Figure 3).

Figure 3 The Planar Focus Bug provides a good option for applying linear blurring effects to landscapes.

To orient the bug horizontally, move your cursor over the center of the preview, click and hold one of the solid handles, then rotate it until the grid that appears is horizontal (Figure 4).

If you wish to expand the size of the grid, click and drag either of the solid handles away from the center of the bug. Keep in mind that with a planar Focus Bug, the pixels near both the top and bottom of the grid will blur. To move the Focus Bug, click inside the square box and drag; as you stop at each new location, the preview will updated.

Figure 4 Use the solid handles on the focus bug to rotate the focus grid so that it matches up with your horizon or subject.

For this example, I settled on a spot that blurred everything up to the boulder in the foreground, and then beyond the rock formations in the distance (Figure 5). This is what creates the “miniature effect” that where a scene photographed in the real world is made to look like a scale model. The intensity of the optical illusion depends a lot on the details in the scene and the intensity of the two blurred areas at the top and bottom of the frame. The more blur you use, the stronger the illusion is likely to be.

Figure 5 Once oriented, you can move the Focus Bug to a location that causes small areas in the foreground to blur, as well as the background.

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