Photoshop Blur Gallery: use the new CS6 filters for precise depth of field effects

Photoshop Blur Gallery: use the new CS6 filters for precise depth of field effects

The new Photoshop Blur Gallery introduced in CS6 is perfect for replicating in-camera restricted depth-of-field effects that make cityscapes look like tiny architectural models. In this post we explain what each of the filters in the Photoshop Blur Gallery can do – and how to use them.

Photoshop Blur Gallery: use the new CS6 filters for precise depth of field effects

Adobe introduced three new Photoshop blur filters with CS6, which are grouped together at the top of the options in the Blur filter collection. Unlike other Photoshop blur filters, such as Gaussian Blur and Lens Blur, the Field Blur, Iris Blur and Tilt-Shift filters in the new Photoshop Blur Gallery allow you to target the softening effect and restrict it to specific areas.

The aim of the Photoshop Blur Gallery is to replicate some of the effects that can be created in-camera by limiting depth of field either by using a large aperture or by fitting an expensive tilt-shift lens.

This can give the sharp part of an image greater emphasis, subdue distracting backgrounds in portraits, or create the popular ‘miniature’ effect. It’s even possible to adjust the Bokeh (edge effect) of out of focus areas to make the blur look like it has been created optically.

Selecting any of the three new Blur options brings up the Blur Gallery panel on the right-hand side of the screen. From here you can quickly switch between the filters and apply them separately or in combination to create the effect that you want.

The Photoshop Blur Gallery panel has sliding controls that can be used to govern the degree of blur that’s applied, but the majority of adjustments are made using intuitive controls that overlay the image.

Unfortunately, the Photoshop Blur Gallery filters can’t be applied as Smart Filters, so in order to protect your original image it’s essential to create a duplicate layer (by going to Layer>Duplicate Layer or by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+J) that you can work on.

One tip to remember – Masking
When you add blur with the Blur Gallery you essentially create a mask, which can be revealed by holding down M. When you do this, the areas in white are blurred, while the black bits are sharp, and the grey is somewhere in between. This mask can be saved for creating selections by ticking the Save Mask to Channels option at the top of the screen before hitting OK to apply the filter.

Now, let’s take a look at each of the filters in the Photoshop CS6 Blur Gallery and see what they have to offer…

PAGE 1: What is the Photoshop Blur Gallery?
PAGE 2: Photoshop Blur Gallery Filters – Iris Blur
PAGE 3: Photoshop Blur Gallery Filters – Field Blur
PAGE 4: Photoshop Blur Gallery Filters – Tilt-Shift Blur
PAGE 5: Bokeh effects


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