The best way to create a blurry background in your photos is to do it all in camera. But sometimes you may not have the right lens, or you are you are working with older photos you already shot.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to blur backgrounds in Photoshop using two fantastic techniques.
How To Blur Backgrounds in Photoshop With The Tilt-Shift Blur Filter
This first technique is geared for beginners and will be an easy-to-follow method that uses the Tilt-Shift Blur filter to fake the shallow depth of field focus on a flat photograph.
This filter works by dragging a few simple UI controls, and you can create a blurry background in Photoshop in no time!
How To Blur Backgrounds in Photoshop With The Lens Blur Filter
The second method is an advanced technique takes a few more steps to complete, but it creates a much more realistic shallow depth of field effect.
This technique will use the Lens Blur Filter alongside a Depth Map to create a shallow depth field effect much like a real camera lens would. You will be able to selectively chose what objects in the image will stay in focus and which will be blurred.
You can use a simple selection to determine which areas are blurred, but I recommend using a Depth Map since it allows you to create more complex selections quickly if your image requires it.
The black areas in the Depth Map are treated as though they’re in focus, and the white regions are treated as if they’re out of focus. The different shades of gray are of course different levels of focus.
Depth Maps are stored as Alpha Channels, and in this tutorial, you will learn how to create them.
Links Mentioned in This Photoshop Tutorial
Tutorial assets for the older tutorial can be found here:
067 - Lens Blur Filter - Blurry Backgrounds (2328 downloads)
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