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Narrowing the focus

From: Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

Video: Narrowing the focus

Especially when using a Compact Digital Camera, very often you'll end up with a tremendous depth of field in your scene. Meaning, that foreground and background objects appear in relatively sharp focus. Sometimes though, that can be a little bit distracting. In this lesson, we'll explore one of the Guided Edits in Photoshop Elements that enables us to reduce the appearance of Depth of Field in a photo. To get started, I'll go to the Guided Edit option, and I want to scroll down and look for my Depth of Field Effect.

Narrowing the focus

Especially when using a Compact Digital Camera, very often you'll end up with a tremendous depth of field in your scene. Meaning, that foreground and background objects appear in relatively sharp focus. Sometimes though, that can be a little bit distracting. In this lesson, we'll explore one of the Guided Edits in Photoshop Elements that enables us to reduce the appearance of Depth of Field in a photo. To get started, I'll go to the Guided Edit option, and I want to scroll down and look for my Depth of Field Effect.

That's under the Lens Effect section on the right panel when we're in the Guided Edit mode. I'll go ahead and click Depth of Field, and then I can choose whether I want a Simple Depth of Field adjustment, or a Custom Depth of Field adjustment. The simple option works with a gradient in a circular shape, which doesn't give us very much control. And with this image, I obviously have a very irregular area that I want to maintain in sharp focus. So, I'll chose the Custom option. In Guided Edit mode, I'm taken step by step through the adjustments I need to apply.

The first step is to select the area that I want to remain in focus. I'll go ahead and click on the Quick Selection tool here, and then click and Drag across the bulldozer. I want to sample a relatively wide range of areas here within the bulldozer, so that I end up with all of the bulldozer included within my selection. If I get any areas outside the bulldozer included included in the selection, I can of course subtract those. I'll start off by first making sure the bulldozer itself is in the selection, and then I can chose the Subtract From Selection option up on the Options bar.

And Click and Drag across any areas that should not be included in that selection. So, here for example, removing the wheat field and the sky a little bit from that selection. I can also see that I missed a couple areas of the bulldozer, so I'll switch back to my Add to Selection option. And then, paint over any areas of the bulldozer that are not currently included in the selection. I can continue fine tuning my selection in this way until I have a good result. I have a couple of additional areas I want to subtract, so I'll choose the Subtract From Selection option, and paint into those particular areas of the photo.

And at this point, I think we're getting pretty close to a final result. I can go ahead and move to my second step, which is to create the Depth of Field by adding a Blur effect. Go ahead and click the Add Blur button, and you can see the background has now become blurred. Scrolling down, you'll see that we can adjust the degree of blur using the Blur slider. I can add more blur by dragging to the right or reduce the amount of blur by dragging to the left back to the original amount.

In this case, I think I'd like a little bit of additional blur, but not too much. That's looking much better. I think this is a pretty cool effect. I think that's working out very nicely. I'm able to focus attention on the foreground subject by reducing focus for the background. With the effect complete, I'll go ahead and click the Done button. And I can go back to Full Edit mode to see all of the layers that have been added to create this effect. If I'm happy with the final result, I can also flatten the image by choosing Layer > Flatten Image from the menu, and then saving the final image.

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Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

35 video lessons · 468 viewers

Tim Grey
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