How to Create Tilt Shift Effect using Adobe Photoshop

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In this tutorial I am going to show you how to simulate tilt shift effect using Adobe Photoshop. You might want to use this effect to simulate an expensive Tilt Shift lens. It is basically selective focus which creates miniature model like look and is known in Photography as Tilt Shift. Miniature models are usually viewed from above, so photos with elevated view point are perfect for this and will give you the best results. Photoshop is perfect if you do not want to buy an expensive Tilt shift lens which can cost up to 3 000 $. Of course Photoshoped picture wont look the same as snapped with the original lens, but the result is close enough. So let’s get started by importing the picture into Photoshop.

Let’s duplicate our background by pressing Ctrl and a letter J.


Make sure that your foreground colour is set to Black, if it isn’t press the letter D.

Then select a gradient tool, make sure Reflected Gradient is selected and click on the gradient box.


Then you click on the Gradient Box, gradient editor will pop up. Click on the Foreground to Background preset box and click OK.


Now you got to decide where in your photo you want the attention to be, then press Q to call up the quick mask and go to the centre of that area. Then while holding a Shift key draw a vertical line down to where you want it unfocused. So the middle of the mask will be in focus and it will gradually lose focus towards the edges. You may have to do this a few times until you get a look you will be happy with.

TS4Then press Q on your keyboard to turn quick mask back into selection.
Now go to Filter > Blur > Lens Blur.


The lens Blur window will open. I am choosing More accurate; None for the source; Iris Shape – Pentagon 5; Radius – 18; Blade curvature – 10; Rotation – 0;
For the Specular Highlights I chose: Brightness – 0; Threshold – 0; Noise amount – 0; Distribution form – Gaussian and uncheck Monochromatic. And press OK.

Keep in mind that depending on the size, resolution and content of your photo the numbers might vary. So play around and see what effect each slider has on your photo.

TS6  Now press Ctrl and the letter D to delete the selection. We are pretty much done, the last thing I’m going to do is add a little vignette (if you feel like you don’t want to add a vignette you can skip this step). To do that click Create a new layer; select Elliptical Marque tool ( M ), then create an oval by clicking and dragging the mouse.


Now right click on the outside of the selection and click Select inverse. Then select the paint bucket tool ( G ), make sure that foreground colour is Black and apply it on the selection. Once you are done press Ctrl D.

TS8Then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and select the Radius to your liking and press OK. You can also transform the vignette by clicking Ctrl and a letter T on our keyboard. Then hold the Alt key and stretch it out, this will make a Vignette less visible and more subtle.


Tilt Shift

And that is it! We have simulated Tilt Shift / Miniature like look using Adobe Photoshop. All we have done: imported photograph into Photoshop; applied gradient tool, applied lens blur and added a little vignette. As you can see it is easy and relatively quick to do. I recommend you try this and see for yourself. This effect is useful if you want to simulate an expensive Tilt Shift lens, the results are pretty similar.

If you liked this tutorial be sure to like it and share it with your friends! Have fun and see you in the next tutorial!


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