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You've already seen that the depth of field controls can add some nice blur. We can refine this, however, with an adjustment layer and actually add some Bokeh Blur. Here's how it works. In this scene I'm going to add an Adjustment layer at the top and then take advantage of the Camera Lens Blur. Now this works really well, and what it's going to allow me to do is keyframe in a blur effect. I want to go ahead and have this sort of reveal a bit. We'll adjust the Blur Radius, I'll tell the Edge Pixels to repeat, and we'll bring that up a bit to start.
Notice what's happening there is it starts to diffract a bit. This is easiest to see if you make sure you're viewing it at full resolution, and I am going to go back to 1 camera view. There we go. Now you can adjust the size as well as Gain, and notice here that Gain is going to start to bloom some of the highlights. I'll lower the Threshold, and that causes the brighter areas to bloom. You'll see that the sky starts to blow out. That looks good.
Let's just twirl that down and press U for user-added keyframes, and we'll go forward about a second and a half, and we'll just pull that Blur Radius back into 0. Now what that's going to do is create a very nice rack focus as well as a natural Bokeh in the shot. I'll just preview that at Half quality so you get the idea, and you're going to see it starts off, and as the camera is moving, it's like the operator did a rack focus in the lens, and you see all the nice highlights that you're used to seeing with that shallow depth of field, bright spots, hexagons.
If you don't like hexagons, you got all of different shapes here you could change between, and this just does a nice effect that makes it look like you took the lens and racked it. So there it is nice rack focus in, and you can see it's really quite cool, and it plays off nicely with the 3D depth of the layer. Applying that as an adjustment layer makes it a believable effect and actually works with the depth that you have between the individual layers.
The camera blur has lots more to it. You can in fact add a depth matte to better define the areas, and there's lots of subtle controls. Be sure to look up here on lynda.com some of the After Effects Essential Training, and if you just do a search on camera lens blur After Affects, you'll find some great tutorials to help you understand how to get more out of that particular effect.
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