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Blurring tha Background

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  #1  
Old 06-06-2005, 09:38 PM
mfgriggs mfgriggs is offline
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Blurring tha Background

I came across common situation a few days ago where I was taking a picture of a young girl. The background was cluttered and unattractive, unfortunately I was not able to recompose the picture for a better perspective.

I used a method to blur the background that I think is pretty good. Before I tell you how I did it, I thought it would be nice if you folks could tell me how you would go about blurring the background with one of your pictures.


Thanks
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2005, 10:30 PM
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creeduk creeduk is offline
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I would make a copy layer of the original, I would then blur the lower layer and then mask the top layer so that only the person was left hence showing a sharp person and blurred backgound. If I felt in a different mood I may blur the top layer and mask out the person so they showed from the sharp lower layer. either way works
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Old 06-06-2005, 10:37 PM
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Duv Duv is offline
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Not sure how you did it but the one thing that struck me was that perhaps the "foreground-background" should be sharper. Maybe a gradient to transition it.

Cheers
Dave
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Old 06-07-2005, 10:55 AM
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Racc Iria Racc Iria is offline
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Photoshop has a Lens Blur filter that's specially designed for creating depth of field effects like that. Just load an alpha channel selection to specify what stays in focus and adjust to taste.

It's at least in CS, but I thought it was in 7, too. Could be wrong, though.

--Racc
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Old 06-07-2005, 01:11 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Hi Racc, unfortunately its not in PS7. One of the few things in CS I'd like to have.
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  #6  
Old 06-07-2005, 03:00 PM
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Stroker Stroker is offline
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Before Lens Blur...

Make a mask (just like for Lens Blur).
Load it as a selection.
Gaussian Blur fairly low.
Hit ctrl + f until happy.

Maybe a few little things to stylize it a bit.
Like Motion Blur in a Low Pass method or something.
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Old 06-07-2005, 07:35 PM
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Racc Iria Racc Iria is offline
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That's too bad. I was hoping the Lens Blur filter started with 7. It really does a good job.

Well then, the best way to do it is like everyone else is saying... mask and blur.

Here's what I'd do if I didn't use Lens Blur. Especially if it's a full body shot and part of the background needs to stay in focus with the subject.

1. Duplicate Layer.
2. Blur upper layer as needed.
3. On upper layer, add a layer mask revealing the unblurred subject below.
4. Create a new layer set (or Group for the CS2 folks) and put the blurred layer into the set.
5. Add a layer mask to the set (group) layer, NOT the blurred layer (it should still have its own mask).
6. Using the gradient tool on the mask with white as the foreground color, decide where the focal point is and click there. Then, while holding the click, drag upwards in a straight line, and release at the point where the chage in focus should end. This is subjective and will depend on the image. It's not usually very far.

What this will give you is a subject that stays in focus, and a background that starts out in focus with the subject, but appears to get more out of focus as the distance from the subject increases. If you need to defocus some of the foreground, just make a selection from the bottom of the image to the focal point and add another gradient to the mask in step 6, but this time, drag down instead of up and you'll probably want to drag past the bottom of the canvas, so that the foreground won't be as out of focus as the background (unless that's what you want).

--Racc
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Old 06-07-2005, 11:57 PM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi everybody,

Doug wrote this excellent Tutorial on creating a 'Depth Mask' .... He used the new Lens Blur Filter, but it can be replaced by Gaussian Blur ....
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:31 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Hi Flora, agree with you about the excellence of Doug's tutorial.

However, using Gaussian Blur does not give quite the same result. By using a graduated mask and GB, the fall off in focus is linear, whereas that by Lens Blur does not seem to be so.

The effect is still quite good, but if the two are stood side by side, the lens blur is the more realistic.

I know because I don't have Lens Blur on PS7, and spent quite some time trying to replicate the effect using GB, and, despite endless adjusting of the mask, could never quite get it right.
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  #10  
Old 06-08-2005, 04:07 PM
edgework edgework is offline
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The problem I've found with usin G-Blur and a foreground mask is that the blurred background contains the foreground image as well, and, depending on the radius of the blur, tone will seep out from behind the edges of the sharpened foreground figure. I will usually do some down-and-dirty cloning along the edge between foreground and background, choking the background into the foreground (before duping the layer of course). That way you won't get that telltale bleed.

My limited experience with the lens blur is that this is not as much of an issue, since the blur is applied to a single layer.
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