Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Creating the toy effect

From: Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

Video: Creating the toy effect

Now, you've seen how we can use a tilt- shift lens to greatly expand the depth of field in certain situations. I can also use my tilt-shift lens to really compress the depth of field. And when I do that, I can end up with an effect like this: something that looks like a little miniature set, like a little toy set of something or re-creation of something. That's not what this is. This is an actual real-world scene shot through a tilt-shift lens. The thing is, when we're looking in real life at something very small, we have very, very shallow depth of field.

Creating the toy effect

Now, you've seen how we can use a tilt- shift lens to greatly expand the depth of field in certain situations. I can also use my tilt-shift lens to really compress the depth of field. And when I do that, I can end up with an effect like this: something that looks like a little miniature set, like a little toy set of something or re-creation of something. That's not what this is. This is an actual real-world scene shot through a tilt-shift lens. The thing is, when we're looking in real life at something very small, we have very, very shallow depth of field.

So when we see a scene with shallow depth of field, we take that shallow depth of field as an indication of scale and we interpret that scene as being something very small. So even though I've got a real full-size real-world scene here, if I can get the depth of field compressed to something really tiny, when I look at the picture, I will interpret it as a miniature set. So we're going to create one of those shots right now. This is, honestly, in my opinion, something of a kind of cliche now. It's kind of tired effect, but it's still pretty fun and if you have got a tilt-shift lens, you have got to play with this. It's hard to resist.

So I'm standing here in Downtown San Francisco as the sun is setting and I'm on a rooftop here. I'm looking down onto an intersection. I'm just going to take a normal shot of it so you can see what it looks like. Going into Aperture Priority, I've got my 24-millimeter tilt-shift lens on here. I've got it set normally. I have no tilt or shift or rotation or anything dialed in. Like all tilt-shift lenses, it's a manual focus, so I'm focusing it manually. I'm at f/11 so that I can have some deep depth of field, so you can really see what my scene looks like. Because I'm shooting with a wide-angle lens into the sun, I'm having a little bit of a problem with flare.

So I'm just going to just hold my hand up here and block out that flare, and here's what I'm looking at over the rooftop. So I want to turn this into a toy effect. I want to shrink the depth of field. I'm going to do that by performing a big tilt on my lens, but there are a couple of things I need to do before then. When I tilt the lens up or when I shift it, I am radically cutting the amount of light that gets to the sensor, and unfortunately, the camera cannot accurately meter through the lens when it's tilted and shifted that way, so I need to meter first. Now, I shot that scene at f/11.

I actually want my aperture wide open, so I'm going to dial it down to 3.5, which is as big as I can go here. I want very, very shallow depth of field to exaggerate the effect that I'm going for here. So what I'm going to do right now is just meter. So I'm in Aperture Priority mode still. I'm at ISO 400. I probably don't need to be at ISO 400 when I'm wide open, so I'm going to bump it down to 100. And my camera is telling me that at 3.5, I need a 160th of a second. So I've got a couple of options. I could use the exposure lock on my camera, which would lock in that exposure.

The thing is, it will time out eventually. So if I lock it in and I'm spending some time tilting and shifting, it may release the exposure and then I'd have to start all over. So instead, I'm going to just go into manual mode and dial that in by hand, and now I forgot what it was. It was a 160th of a second at 3.5. So I'm switching to manual and I'm going to 160th at 3.5. Now, I'm ready to go. My metering is set. The last thing I want to do is focus. It can be hard to focus really accurately when you got the lens all messed up, so I'm just going to focus at a particular point in the intersection down there, and now I'm ready to go.

I've got all the locks loosened so I can really easily move the lens by hand, so I'm just going to tilt it upwards. And as I soon as I do that, through the viewfinder, I can see the shallow depth of field take hold. If I want, I can kind of move the plane that is in focus back and forth by focusing in and out. I still have my flare problem, so I need to block that. Ooh, and the sun is going down quickly. It's hard to get it all without getting my fingers in the shot. So I'm going to take the shot, and my exposure looks good, and here's what I've got.

So I've radically shrunk the depth of field and just by doing that, we now interpret it as a little toy scene. Obviously, you need a particular vantage point for this effect to work. You need to be up high so that you can work with that plane that's below you to shift depth of field back and forth. As you saw earlier, the way that I can control focus on here is across a receding plane, so I need to be up high. Again, if your SLR supports video, you can shoot video through this effect and the actual little moving cars and people will look like little toys.

If the motion is perfectly smooth, they look a little bit less like toys. So a better way to get a toy mini-effect is to do a time lapse because then your motion isn't all perfect and smooth, and it just looks a little more abstracted. Again, I personally feel that this is a little bit of a cliche now. Lots and lots of people are doing this, but it is a lot of fun to play with. If you have got a tilt- shift lens, give it a try. If you don't have a tilt- shift lens, don't worry. We're going to show you how to create this effect digitally later in this course.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses
Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

50 video lessons · 18192 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 4m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 46s
    2. Roadmap of the course
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 53s
    1. Words about focal length
      2m 6s
    2. Understanding camera position
      1m 47s
  3. 39m 19s
    1. What filters are for
      2m 37s
    2. Shopping for filters
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding neutral density filters
      4m 53s
    4. Applying neutral density filters
      3m 55s
    5. Polarizing filters
      3m 4s
    6. Some shooting tips for working with a polarizing filter
      2m 32s
    7. Using infrared filters
      9m 15s
    8. Processing the infrared image
      6m 7s
    9. Handling stuck filters
      3m 1s
  4. 38m 37s
    1. Working with ultra-wide lenses
      7m 19s
    2. Using a wide-angle lens
      4m 43s
    3. Understanding fisheye lenses
      4m 2s
    4. Working with fisheye lenses
      3m 59s
    5. Understanding fisheye exposure
      3m 3s
    6. Taking fisheye further
      4m 16s
    7. Processing fisheye and wide-angle images
      7m 38s
    8. Correcting tone in fisheye images
      3m 37s
  5. 35m 37s
    1. Understanding super telephoto
      6m 21s
    2. Shooting distant subjects
      8m 26s
    3. Compressing the sense of depth
      7m 53s
    4. Working with shallow depth of field
      5m 35s
    5. Working with teleconverters
      2m 38s
    6. Editing telephoto images
      4m 44s
  6. 16m 47s
    1. Understanding macro basics
      2m 47s
    2. Shooting close
      4m 52s
    3. Shooting macro
      5m 20s
    4. Working with a point-and-shoot for macro
      1m 58s
    5. Using a two-lens strategy
      1m 50s
  7. 16m 39s
    1. Understanding tilt shift
      3m 37s
    2. Correcting perspective
      4m 29s
    3. Creating the toy effect
      4m 41s
    4. Deepening depth of field
      3m 52s
  8. 32m 39s
    1. Working with specialty lenses
      2m 43s
    2. Using the Lensbaby
      9m 13s
    3. Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment
      3m 50s
    4. Shooting with a Holga attachment
      3m 4s
    5. Using an alternative mount lens
      2m 18s
    6. Using super-fast lenses
      1m 47s
    7. Correcting Lensbaby images
      9m 44s
  9. 39m 48s
    1. Correcting perspective
      10m 41s
    2. Creating the toy effect
      6m 31s
    3. Getting the lo-fi Holga look
      11m 17s
    4. Reproducing the effect of a Lensbaby
      8m 17s
    5. Cropping and enlarging images
      3m 2s
  10. 2m 47s
    1. Choosing whether to borrow or buy
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      47s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.