In this tutorial, we’ll be creating a digital bokeh effect with Photoshop. According to Wikipedia, bokeh is the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light. This effect helps the eye to focus on an object while also making the background visually appealing.
A) Creating a Bokeh Brush
In order to create the bokeh effect, we’ll first need to create a bokeh brush. Create a new document 500 X 500 pixels in size and with a transparent background. Then create a perfect circle by selecting the Elliptical Marquee Tool and holding down the Shift key. Fill it with any color.
Go to Edit – Stroke and set the Inside stroke to black 8 px. It will look like this.
Lower the Opacity to 50% to get a more transparent look instead of a solid bokeh brush.
Now that we’ve created the brush, go to Edit>Define Brush Preset, name your brush “BOKEH” and save it. You can now see the newly created brush in your Brush Panel (Windows – Brushes).
B) Setting the Brush
Change the brush settings to as shown below:
C) Creating Bokeh Effects
Before we start painting our bokeh, let’s create a new layer ( 900×900 ) and fill it with a colorful gradient. I created a new layer and used the layer styles (Layer >Layer Style>Blending Options) to do this, but feel free to do it any way you prefer. Here’s how my document looks like so far.
Create a new layer and name it Bokeh 1. Select the Brush Tool (B) and set its color as white. Now simply paint some circles with your custom brush. Use a big brush size for this first layer. Then change the Blend Mode to Color Dodge.
After that, go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur. Set to 18 pixels.
Create another layer and repeat the previous step. However, use a much smaller brush this time.
Repeat the same steps for the different layers of bokeh effects until you get the results that you like.
Lastly, adjust the colors to enhance the bokeh effects.
Play around with the Brush Size, Brush Color, Blend Modes and Blur Radius to get your ideal results.
Here are a few other bokeh samples I tried out.
Image ID: 501849 © Lev Dolgatshjov 123RF.com
Image ID: 5826697 © Alexander Yakovlev 123RF.com