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Adding Depth of Field Effects to Your Images

One of the great filters added to Photoshop is the Blur Filters. I use them all of the time, but what if you don’t have Photoshop and want to add a blur? Well, you are not without hope. Let me show you a little trick.

If you take and change the Clarity and Sharpness sliders to negative, you in essence apply a bit of a blur, so why not use your adjustment tools to create fields of blur?

gradient blur settings

crank the Clarity and Sharpness down

Simply crank the two settings down to -100 and start painting with the Adjustment brush, or use the Radial tool.

However, one of my favorite ways is to use the Gradient tool. This applies a gradual blur that you control… and if you understand how it works you can give your image a pseudo-tilt shift blur or just blur out areas to degrade the depth of field. For instance, let’s look at the Aged photo from last week. If I start adding gradient blur areas around the buffalo, it now looks like the lens was of lower quality and had more pockets of blurriness which adds to the effect of telling our eyes the image is older.

gradient blur

Notice the multiple Gradient tool points that are applied… use as many as you need

Just a couple of quick pulls of the gradient tool cursor and you have a unique area of blurring. Play around with it, you will see how easy it is…


final image with blurring applied