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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grace Jameson View Post
    Me too. I'm not good in taking photos so I use Photoshop to blur the backround.
    Editing in photoshop is a lot more work to me than just taking the photo like it should.
    By just adjusting blur on a surface in photoshop, you get a subject that is sharp, the rest blurred... but in most 3D perspectives, a lot of things return from the background back to the foreground. So the trick won't work perfectly in photoshop.
    Besides, the blur needs to get gradually heavier in distance on your image, that is called the depth of field. And no photoshop can know in advance which field is further away from the lens.

    Even if you don't know how to set a higher aperture (rtfm), you can always set your camera to an automatic 'portrait/macro' mode.

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulevardi View Post
    Editing in photoshop is a lot more work to me than just taking the photo like it should.
    By just adjusting blur on a surface in photoshop, you get a subject that is sharp, the rest blurred... but in most 3D perspectives, a lot of things return from the background back to the foreground. So the trick won't work perfectly in photoshop.
    Besides, the blur needs to get gradually heavier in distance on your image, that is called the depth of field. And no photoshop can know in advance which field is further away from the lens.

    Even if you don't know how to set a higher aperture (rtfm), you can always set your camera to an automatic 'portrait/macro' mode.
    That would depend on how well-equipped your camera is, wouldn't it? What of those who take pictures on their phones? Although I understand where you are coming from, I do think that graphics programs have a place in helping to create the effects that our cameras missed or just wouldn't take.
    Linda Jenkinson
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulevardi View Post
    Besides, the blur needs to get gradually heavier in distance on your image, that is called the depth of field. And no photoshop can know in advance which field is further away from the lens.
    You can apply a gradual blur to an image from foreground to background very easily in Photoshop.

    I'm using Photoshop Elements 8 which doesn't have layer masks for non adjustment layers, so I "borrow" a layer mask from an adjustment layer to create the gradual blurring.

    1) create a copy of the image in a new layer above your original image.

    2) open any adjustment layer in between the original image and the copy in 1)

    3) link the copy in 1) to the adjustment layer in 2). The layer mask in 2) can now be applied to the copy in 1)

    4) blur the layer in 1) to the maximum you want in your final effect.

    5) set your foreground/background colours to black and white.

    6) select the gradient tool and then the foreground to background gradient.

    7) click the layer mask in 2) and then drag your cursor on it from where you want the blurring to start to where you want it to end. This will create a gradient from black to grey to white on your layer mask and thus cause a gradual blur effect on your image.

    In the attached image, I apply a gradual blur effect from the bottom left hand corner to the top right hand corner. You should be able to see the gradual blurring from the bottom of the image to the top. Half way up the image is slightly blurred. The top of the image image is heavily blurred.

    All of the above takes no more than about a minute to do. You might have to change the start/end points of the blurring or the stops on the actual gradient to fine tune the effect.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by webdev1958 View Post
    In the attached image.........
    This image is a better example of what I described in my previous post.

    (it was too late to replace the image in my last post. I could only delete it)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulevardi View Post
    Even if you don't know how to set a higher aperture (rtfm), you can always set your camera to an automatic 'portrait/macro' mode.
    I'm not a professional photographer by any means, so I'm just throwing an idea out there to see how far it goes.

    Sure, if you have a high tech camera you can set it up to include special effects like depth of field blurring and whatever else your camera is capable of. But in this case, your original image will have the blurring already recorded in the image's pixels. The issue I have with that is: long term flexibility. What I mean is, say in 6 months time you want to do something else with a deliberately partially blurred image and for the new purpose you think "Geeee, I wish that part of the image was sharp and in focus and not blurred". Afaik, it's not possible to sharpen heavily blurred images to the point where the processing is not noticeable, let alone achieving satisfactory sharpening.

    So to my way of thinking, especially since you can create just about any special effect you can imagine in something like Photoshop, why wouldn't you always take sharp in focus images to the max possible and then you have the flexibility to apply any special effects afterwards in your image processing/editing.

  6. #31
    Under Construction silver trophybronze trophy AussieJohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webdev1958 View Post
    This image is a better example of what I described in my previous post.
    What does that look like if you would use a foreground subject with a shallow depth of field background (i.e. blurry background)? Will it look anywhere near as good as the real thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower
    What of those who take pictures on their phones?
    If you're trying to take photos on a phone and expecting the same results as an SLR then we have worse problems :P

    Having said that, that is definitely a case where graphics editing would have a good use.

    I would recommend playing with camera settings (and if you're serious about taking nice photos, upgrading your camera). A phone or point-and-shoot will hardly ever give you the same sort of options that even the cheapie Digi SLRs give you.

    Quote Originally Posted by webdev1958
    What I mean is, say in 6 months time you want to do something else with a deliberately partially blurred image and for the new purpose you think "Geeee, I wish that part of the image was sharp and in focus and not blurred".
    Often the point of creating a shallow depth of field shot is to give emphasis to a foreground subject, to make it stand out in front of its surroundings and background, if you would have picture with everything in focus that would probably negate what someone was trying to convey in the photo in the first place. Besides, if you wanted to have multiple applications for a photograph in such a manner you could just take it in different ways with varying levels of aperture.


    Perhaps I'm too much of a purist?
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  7. #32
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    Visit the Library

    Blurring the background as described in the early part of this post is a really basic function of photography. It would be covered in almost all basic photography books in your local library. Once you understand the basics of how a camera captures light and what influences how it is then represented as an image then you really have the freedom to tweak a camera to make it do what you want. Lots of compacts are very easily manipulated also, but because they are sold to a mass market the auto-modes are the easiest to find.

    I would strongly encourage anyone to learn these basic relationships because it demystifies what all those "weird camera buttons and thingys" actually do. Sure it takes an hour or two of fiddling and getting your head around it, but once you do you can pick up any camera and know what can and can't be easily achieved.

    I would also say get comfortable because it is WAY easier to do this in-camera than using photoshop. I use photoshop everyday for my work and while I can intentionally do all sorts of things with it, it is painful when I know the photographer was just being lazy. Sure sometimes you don't have a choice with momentary captures, but most of the time there is no shortage of time to move a bit this way or that, to change f-stops etc. Save yourself some post-processing time and get it right in camera, it will also look much more natural.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by AussieJohn View Post
    What does that look like if you would use a foreground subject with a shallow depth of field background (i.e. blurry background)? Will it look anywhere near as good as the real thing?
    The photo I posted was just a quick and simple example of how you can create a variable blur on an image in reply to someone else's post.
    I'm not a professional photographer, but afaik, in terms of blurring at least, you can create in Photoshop any effect that you can create directly with camera settings. So, yes, to my knowledge it would look as good as the real thing.

    If you cannot produce an effect in Photoshop that can be created directly with the camera, then obviously you will need to create an effect directly with the camera.


    Quote Originally Posted by AussieJohn View Post
    Often the point of creating a shallow depth of field shot is to give emphasis to a foreground subject, to make it stand out in front of its surroundings and background, if you would have picture with everything in focus that would probably negate what someone was trying to convey in the photo in the first place.
    I agree with the red bit, but the point of my original question was, since I'm not a professional photographer, why is it not better to just take an all in focus, or as much as possible, and then add the blurring afterwards in Photoshop.

    Quote Originally Posted by AussieJohn View Post
    Besides, if you wanted to have multiple applications for a photograph in such a manner you could just take it in different ways with varying levels of aperture.
    That is not always practical unless you envisage all possible uses of the original photo for 6 months, 1 year or X years down the track. Hence my question why not take a photo with as much as possible in focus and then apply any required effects afterwards in Photoshop?

  9. #34
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    It all comes down to time. If you don't mind spending hours creating complex selections to create something that a twist of the aperture ring could have done in seconds then yes, you can approximate it well enough in Photoshop. There are some subtleties though that creating it in camera give you. The way the blur is created can vary depending on the distance of the subject against the foreground. Distance will have a stronger or lesser effect on the blur. While you can still create this effect in photoshop to create it authentically is harder than just plonking on a blur filter. You can definitely approximate it quickly and easily BUT you still have to factor in selection time. If the subject were something like plants or flowers I'd be taking those extra shots during the shoot.

    While you can't anticipate future usage, most photos are taken for a reason in the first place. How they are taken is usually defined by the subject matter. Unless the subject is out of focus in the original you can usually 'fake' some sort of context if you really have to. Sometimes you just have to work with what you've got.

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    ok, I see your point and it makes sense.

    For professional photographers who take photos for a living, it would make sense to use the camera to create the effects especially since it would most likely be quicker than creating them in Photoshop. A professional photographer would also be much more confident in getting the desired effect by using the camera.

    But for a mug photography enthusiast like me, I'm not confident enough in my photography skills and equipment to be able to determine if I achieved the desired effect using the camera by simply looking at the not overly large lcd camera screen. Although, I can taken reasonably well exposed photos in most conditions. So with my level of photography skills, I feel safer taking a photo with as much of the scene as possible in focus and than apply any effects afterwards in Photoshop.

    Generally, I work on the principle that the better the original image is, the less time I will need to fix it in Photoshop. But overall, my Photoshop skills are much better than my Photography skills and so I can "rescue" most poorly taken photos by myself or other people.

  11. #36
    Under Construction silver trophybronze trophy AussieJohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webdev1958 View Post
    But for a mug photography enthusiast like me
    As long as you're enthusiastic about it

    Seriously though, after I got my first DSLR, my photography skills went up phenomenally ... if you want to become a better photographer I can highly recommend the upgrade to one (a cheap one will set you back between $450 and $600, maybe even cheaper on eBay)
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  12. #37
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    Yea I can understand that too, however I'd still say that spending an hour or two with a good basic photography book and your own camera would save you many hours in the long run. Cameras these days are intimidating with their many functions and dials etc. Most of it is fluff. I forced myself to learn with a basic manual camera and have never regretted it though that camera and the film is long gone. The principles still hold on any camera I pick up now.

    I'd also say that when you understand how the camera works, your photoshop skills will improve as well. They work on similar concepts and at the end of the day most of the time we're spitting out a 2d flat image for people to view. Most of the time what we try to recreate in photoshop is what is naturally seen or done by the use of a camera. It takes a lot of skill to trick the eye into believing that light is consistent across a scene that has been composed with different elements after the fact, or making adjustments so they appear real. I love playing in photoshop but have spent waaaaayy too many hours on projects where a little more thought at the time would've saved that time (and ultimately money in most cases).

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    ok, thanks for the advice AussieJohn and Slackr

    Hopefully will bring me a new camera in a few weeks. I might have to leave a bottle of wine and a few tim tams out for him though rather than just the usual glass of milk and teddy bear bikkies

  14. #39
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    Another consideration is how much available light there is, and how fast a shutter speed you need. If you shoot natural or low light subjects, or fast moving stuff, then shooting with a wide open aperture (i.e shallow depth of field) will allow a faster exposure, or lower iso. The same shot with a closed aperture and wide depth of field to get everything in focus, might need 3 or 4 times longer exposure.

    One thing that's also quite hard to fake in photoshop is the effect of bokeh, which when really done well can give real wow factor to shots.

  15. #40
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    blur.jpg

    I made an example of a picture (see attachment).
    I hope this will explain things.
    Of course, you can make everything in photoshop aswel, but some things can be a lot of work in photoshop.


    The first one is a normal one where everything is in focus.
    As you can see in detail, that biggest white street light became a star. That is only possible with a small lens aperture and a long shuttertime.
    Some other lights aren't. That is something that can only be done with the lens. If you take an average shot with for example a smartphone, you will have an average aperture setting, where your lights will be 'normal'. You can't set it naturally by photoshop, unless you would modify every light point manually. (this is already one example where a lens setting is different)

    Then, you see the blur photo results below.
    The natural lens blur sets the street lights as round circles, mellow 'bokeh' thing. While with the photoshop example, where you blur it (gradually if needed), the street lights will be blurred aswel, but not in natural circles like a lens would produce. Of course, you could fake these circles with photoshop aswel, but it would take you a bit more work. You can do everything in photoshop aswel.

    A nice solution is: take most of your pictures a few times, 1 totally sharp, 1 with a blurred background, 1 with a blurred foreground, 1 semi blurred,... so you have your photo data in different dimensions. You can always play in photoshop on the totally sharp image later on. But if you want a natural blur, you have it aswel.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by webdev1958 View Post
    I agree with the red bit, but the point of my original question was, since I'm not a professional photographer, why is it not better to just take an all in focus, or as much as possible, and then add the blurring afterwards in Photoshop.
    Well, some photos are just too much work in Photoshop.
    Think about some photo where you have to select a lot of different parts that need to be blurred between the sharp parts, like in the following example attached.
    0606011.jpg

    As you see all those tubes of this burned vehicle, you have to select the parts in between that need to be blurred. Some objects you shoot are quite complex, and so gets your Photoshop work.
    Think about a portrait photo of a woman whose hair blows in the wind. Only the hair needs to be sharp, and the background blurred. So you have to select every piece of photo between the hairs, because these need to be blurred.
    It IS possible in Photoshop, but it would take a lot of work for some photos.

  17. #42
    Under Construction silver trophybronze trophy AussieJohn's Avatar
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    Interesting article I saw on Mashable a few days ago (though 'the Internet' has been talking about it for a little while so you may have heard about it already):

    The "Lytro". A camera that will capture not only how much light hit the sensor and where, but also what direction the light came from, allowing you to focus after you've taken a picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mashable.com
    The Lytro is the world’s first consumer light-field camera. Unlike conventional models, a light-field camera captures all the light information from all the rays in its field of view — not just color and intensity, but direction as well. The method has a number of novel applications, the most publicized being photos that the viewer can focus after the fact.”

    ~ http://mashable.com/2011/12/20/lytro-camera-design/

    http://www.lytro.com/
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  18. #43
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    The available option that i knew are that you have to zoom lens to maximum and you can also adjust the focus manually or can change aperture setting.
    If all this not work then only option left you have to read the operating manual again more carefully to get what you want.

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    Try to use paint shop pro 5.0 edition, You can ease take that effect via mixing channels through Paint Shop Pro... Easy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grace Jameson View Post
    Me too. I'm not good in taking photos so I use Photoshop to blur the backround.
    Photo editing software can do the trick but can be time consuming as well. Try to shoot photos with the back ground very far away and try to shoot in manual mode if you have that option.

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    Turn your aperture way down as low as it will go. Try to get a lens with a really low aperture - the lower the better.

    The other thing you can do is increase subject distance from the background. The closer the subject is to the background, the less blur. Lastly, you can also move yourself to adjust the field of view and background blur as well.

    A good sweet spot is an aperture 2.0 through 4.0. Going much higher than that, and you'll get less and less blur.

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    You can do it in portrait mood. But yeas lens is a fact. You need zoom lens or 50mm or 85mm lenses. just try to focus on the object . fix the focus and your background will be blur automatically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wedding photos View Post
    Photo editing software can do the trick but can be time consuming as well. Try to shoot photos with the back ground very far away and try to shoot in manual mode if you have that option.
    how u can be a good photographer if you do your work in Photoshop! then you must be graphics designer not photographer.

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    It is very simple in a DSLR. Adjust the aperture value according to your required blur background.


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