In this 20-minute tutorial by PiXimperfect, learn how to use Photoshop to create a realistic bokeh effect in your photo. Creating a shallow depth of field after you’ve taken the shot can be tricky to do convincingly, but this tutorial will show you one method for how to do it.
By harnessing the power of depth maps, you can tell Photoshop exactly how near or far different elements of the scene are to the camera.
Creating a selection of the subject is the first, and most important, part of the process. You can use any of your favorite selection techniques, but you need to be really careful to get it right as it’s a destructive action.
Once you’ve refined the edges of your selection, you can work on perfecting the mask which will act as your depth map. It’ll look something like this:
To make it realistic, you need to have the amount of blur in the image varying between those objects furthest away from the camera, and those nearest.
The technique lets you take a portrait like this…
…and turn it into this:
It’s a lengthy process, for sure, but it might be necessary if you’re trying to rescue a shot that you didn’t get quite right in camera. Check out the full tutorial above for proper instruction about how to achieve this.