Lens Blur Filter – an advanced blur filter unlike any other. As compared to other blur filters (Blur, Blur More and Gaussian Blur) which blur images in its entirety, Lens Blur Filter provides more control on how one wish to blur the image. By referring to the selected Greyscale, it is able to know where to apply blur and how much to apply. We are able to achieve gradual blur using this method.
Controls in a Lens Blur Filter panel
Image ID: 3262466 © Galyna Andrushko 123RF.com
Toggle to preview before and after applying the filter (the “Faster” option is preferred as “More Accurate” takes more time to load)
Depth Map (Greyscale selection)
Blur Focal Distance: Determines which shade of grey should the filter use to remain unblurred (0 being pure black).
Invert: Inverts the greyscale chosen.
Radius: Determines the amount of blur.
The Shape, Blade Curvature and Rotation: Simulates the aperture shapes of a camera. Those shapes would be most visible at the brightest part of an image.
Brightness: Dragging this slider to the right increases brightness when picture has become dull (Picture can become dull after blurring).
Threshold: Determines which shades of grey to be brightened (0 being pure black).
Blurred areas are rid of grains. Those unaffected areas might contain grains. Use the settings here to balance the grains of blurred and unblurred areas.
Simple example of Lens Blur Filter
Examine the below pattern.
Image ID: 3136358 © Ka Ho Leung 123RF.com
Should you find the need for a softer touch, you can always blur your mask with Gaussian blur filter. The more shades of grey, the smoother the transition.
Faking Macro Mode
We can also simulate/fake a camera-blurred image. Think macro mode. I’ve selected a few images below, all with similar sharpness. What I am going to do is to montage the apples as one image, and apply a natural looking camera-blur to it.
Open the images:
Next, what we want to do is to create a focal point. This point should be sharp and the rest being blur. Repeat the steps above. Next, use the gradient tool to create a shade on the red apple and apply Gaussian Blur to it so that the next transition is smoother (this step is optional).
Blurring Focussed Portraits
Below is another example of Lens Blur on an image I’ve montaged together. This time, it will focus on the model’s face and eyes while blurring the surroundings.
Below is the grey scale channel that I’ve drawn using a soft brush, gradient tool and Gaussian Blur filter.