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Photoshop Elements 10 contains a couple of new guided edit techniques that are pretty exciting. The one that I think is most useful is the Depth Of Field guided edit that you can use to simulate a shallow depth of field in your photos either to blur out a distracting background, or to focus the viewer's attention on the part of a photo that you think is most important. To show you the Depth Of Field guided edit, I am going to open both these photos into the Guided Photo Edit workspace. I'll select them both, and then I'll click the arrow to the right of the Fix tab and choose Guided Photo Edit.
I'd like to start with the photo on the left in the Project Bin, so I'll double-click that, and then I'll move over to the list of guided edits in the column on the right. I'll find the Depth Of Field guided edit under the Lens Effects category. I'll select Depth Of Field, and the first instruction I see in this technique is to choose a method; either the Simple method, or the Custom method. I'll start with the Simple method, and then I'll scroll up to the top of the instructions, and I'll just start working through these instructions, following the steps.
The first step is to add blur to the image, which I'll do by clicking this button as instructed. Next, I am told to define the area of the image that I'd like to have in focus, and this diagram tells me this is going to be a circular area of focus, and instructs me to start at the center of the focus area, and drag outwards. I'll select this Gradient tool to do that, and I'll come into the image. And I'll start, say, at the bottom right, but I can start anywhere that I want, and drag toward the center here. The length and the direction of the line that I drag; which part of this photo will be in focus will be in focus.
So here I have this curved area in focus. I can add to this area by clicking and dragging the line again, and each time I do that, it adds to how much of the photo is in focus. If I like the results, I'll click and drag down, and continue reading through the instructions. The third step tells me to use this slider to increase the amount of blur. I'll give that a try, and if I like the result, I'll click Done. If I don't like the result, I could click Reset, and start again. I'll stick with what I have, so I'll click Done.
At this point, I would go up to the File menu and choose Save As, and save a copy of this image, perhaps with a different name, or in a different location than the original, so I don't save over the original. Now let's take a look at the other Depth Of Field guided edit: the Custom Depth Of Field guided edit. For that, I'm going to double-click this thumbnail in the Project Bin, and so that I can see that photo better in the Document window, I am going to go up to the Options bar and I'll click Fit Screen. Now I'll come over and, again, I'll click on the Depth Of Field guided edit, and this time I'll choose Custom.
I'll scroll up to the top of these instructions, and I see that this guided edit works a little differently than the Simple version. Here I have a Quick Selection tool, and I'm told to use this tool to mark the area that I want to keep in focus. So I'll get that tool, then I'll click and drag over the part of the image that I would like to remain in focus. The Quick Selection tool selects on the basis of color and tone. So it moves ahead of me, selecting some of the bows on the table in this image.
I'll start with that, and then I'll go down to the next step, which tells me to Add Blur, and this will add a blur to the parts of the image that are not selected. If I like that result, I can stick with it, or I can move down and I can go to the third step, which is a slider that allows me to increase the blur to get a more pronounced effect. I'll drag that to the right to increase the blur. Notice that I have got blur both in the background, and in the foreground. I can leave it like this, or if I don't like this result, I can click Reset and go back and start again.
So let's try it a little differently. This time I'd like to select the bows in the foreground, and the table, and just blur out the background. Again, I'll get the Quick Selection tool, I'll come into the image, I'll click and drag over some of the bows to select them, and I'm going to take that selection all the way down to the front of the table. And then again, I'll click the Add Blur button. That blurs out the background, but leaves all of the foreground in focus, and if I like, I can increase the amount of blur. I like that result, and so I'm going to click Done. And again, I would save this image, and then I could close it by clicking the X.
So that's one of my favorite new guided edits: Depth Of Field.
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