March 15, 2012

Tilt Shift Photoshop Tutorial

Tilt shift is a photography technique in which a selective area of the picture is focused (the selective focused area is often stretched straight – either horizontally or vertically).

It is possible to play around with this photography on a DSLR using specially designed tilt shift lenses, but this would costs hundreds of dollars. However, this special effect can be easily applied to photos using some post-production work with Photoshop. With so much room for image enhancements and a variety of blur effects to apply, amazing tilt shifts are possible using Adobe Photoshop. In this tutorial, I will explain how to apply tilt shift effects to your photos in Adobe Photoshop. Here I go…

How to create tilt shift in Photoshop ?

Follow this comprehensive step by step tutorial to create tilt shift effect in Adobe Photoshop. I assume that you have already installed Photoshop (I am using Photoshop version CS4)

Step 1: Open the photo in Photoshop press ‘Q’ key to enter the quick mask mode. Right after its selection, click on the gradient tool located on the same toolbar. Refer the screen shots below…

select quick mask  select gradient

Ensure that the top gradient toolbar matches these settings - grey value stripes, reflected gradient and normal mode.

tilt shift settings photoshop

Step 2: Now start by placing the pointer on the image where you want most of the focus. Press-hold ‘Shift’ key and click-hold-drag down to the point where you want the focus to terminate.

Quick tip: If you want a horizontal tilt shift/horizontally focused area, then you need to click-hold and drag the pointer vertically starting from the point where you want most of the focus to the point where you want diminished focus. Similarly, if you want a vertical tilt shift/vertically focused area, then you need to drag the pointer horizontally starting from the point where you want high focus to the point of diminished focus.

In my example, I want horizontal tilt shift or a horizontally focused area, so I start by click-holding and dragging the pointer in vertical direction (from high focus point to low focus point of my interest)…

horizontal tilt shift photoshop

Step 3: De-select the quick mask mode by pressing ‘Q’ key on the keyboard. You will see dotted selection area on the photo as shown below…

apply tilt shift

Step 4: From the top most toolbar, navigate to Filter –> Blur –> Gaussian Blur. Apply a suitable level of Gaussian blur tool and your tilt shift photo is almost ready. Press CTRL+D to remove the dotted selection lines from the photo.

guassian blur for tilt shift

Step 5: It’s the time to enhance the overall photo by playing with the color, contrast and hue/saturation options of Photoshop. This will add more life to your tilt shift photographs. It’s not necessary that you strictly follow the settings shown below. Just add them in accordance to your photos and taste.

brightness contrast ratio

hue saturation settings

And these are some of the tilt shift pictures I obtained as a result of this tutorial…

tilt shift image photoshop

tilt shift photoshop tutorial

I hope that you will find this tutorial helpful and interesting too. Go ahead and experiment tilt shift on a variety of photos with this tutorial Smile Your comments and feedback are always welcomed…