Lens Blur

You may have an image with a good subject but a distracting background. Use focus (or lack of focus) to separate the subject from the background and make the image stronger. The Lens Blur filter is an excellent tool for defocusing part of the image.

1 Create a new Merged Image layer on which to perform the Lens blur (page 24). If you only have a background layer, duplicate it by selecting Layer>Duplicate Layer.. Name this the "Lens Blur Layer".

2 Make a selection around the subject. Use whichever tool best suits the image. I used the Polygonal lasso to make a selection around

Chris and Seema in this image, and use Quick Mask mode to paint a soft edge in the selection along the floor. Pixels that are partially selected will be blurred less by the Lens Blur filter - the soft edge of the selection along the floor will cause the Lens Blur filter to create a smooth transition in focus.

Once you have a good selection, save the selection by selecting Select>Save Selection, provide a name for the selection that refers to the blur. After saving the selection, remove it from the image; select Select>Deselect.

4 Select the Lens Blur filter; Filter>Blur>Lens Blur..

Open the Source option under Depth Map and select the selection that you saved for the blur. This defines where on the image the blur should

occur. Drag the Radius option to the right to set the amount of blur to apply to the image. More blur is often better, but a stronger blur will also make flaws in a less than perfect selection more obvious. As with many image edits, subtly is important. If the subject becomes blurred (rather than the background), check the Invert option in under Depth Map. Press OK to accept these changes.

There are many different options available for fine tuning the lens blur to provide additional options which mimic the effects of real photographic lenses.

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