Advanced techniques using Photoshop's most popular filters. Part two - Lens Blur.

Lens Blur

Photographers will find themselves right at home with Lens Blur. With this filter, Photoshop has firmly resolved to speak the photographic language. In fact, there are more controls here than are found on many professional cameras and lenses.

How it works

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1 The crucial item in the Lens Blur dialog box is the Depth Map. On this page we’ll show just a couple of examples of how it controls the effect of the filter. The following pages include a more detailed investigation. The Depth Map can be based on the image’s own areas of transparency, or, more usefully, on a Layer Mask alpha channel that you create to define foreground and background areas (assuming it’s a conventional photograph where nearer areas are at the foot of the image). The black areas of the mask denote parts of the image nearest the camera, while white areas are at the back. You can easily reverse this setup by checking the Invert box. Alternatively, select None as the Layer Mask for a more straightforward blur effect that’s controlled by the Iris dialog. The Blur Focal Distance slider runs from 1 (near the camera) to 255 (far from the camera).
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