Blur Effects

In addition to the options displayed under the Blur Tools panel for each filter, there is a separate Blur Effects panel (shown below) that contains three controls governing bokeh, the rendering of out-of focus areas. With these bokeh tools you can convert out-of-focus areas into specular highlights which mimic the shapes traditionally created by a camera lens' aperture blades.

 Adjusting the Bokeh sliders (highlighted in red) transforms out of focus areas into specular highlights.

The first slider, Light Bokeh, controls the intensity of the effect. Higher values will make the effect more pronounced. A second slider, Bokeh Color, lets you boost the saturation of the bokeh. With the Light Range slider you specify the range of tonal values that will be affected by the first two effects. Moving the black and white triangles to luminance levels between 0-255 sets end points for the darkest and brightest pixels to be affected by the first two bokeh controls.

Here's the initial image. Depth of field is deep and the scene is quite 'busy'.
Here's the image with Tilt-Shift and Bokeh effects applied. It's now clear just where the viewer's eye is meant to be drawn.
Here's a closeup of the Photoshop-created bokeh. The effect is impressively close to 'genuine' optically-created blur.

Common Features

We've just looked at three unique tools for manipulation of depth of field. For all of their differences, it's important to realize that there are a number of features and controls common to all three. No matter which tool you're using it's possible to do the following:

  1. Add additional blur pins to the image and set the blur value of each independently.
  2. Delete a pin by clicking on it and pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.
  3. Press and hold M to preview the selection mask.
  4. Press and hold H to hide the onscreen controls.
  5. Enable/disable any of the blur filters by deselecting the check-box to the right of its name.

In addition, there are more options located at the top of the Blur Gallery window, shown below. There is a Save Mask to Channels check-box. If selected, a mask based on your filter adjustments will be saved in the Channels panel. You can reload this mask at any time and use any of Photoshop's tools to apply additional blur. 

Along the Blur Gallery window's options bar lie additional controls (highlighted in red) for fine-tuning a filter's results.

A Focus pull-down menu is, by default set to 100%. You can lower this value to decrease the original focus of the protected area(s) of your image. Should you have a selection active when you invoke the Blur Gallery, you can change the Selection Bleed value to control the amount of blur that feathers into the selected area. And finally, there is a High Quality check-box that enables a more accurate preview of any bokeh effects you apply. Keep in mind that enabling it likely means slower performance.

Now that you've seen a range of uses and controls for these new filters it's time to begin experimenting with them on your own images. While you're not likely to need to use all three on a regular basis, you can probably find one that suits your needs whether your aim is for a more traditional or surreal result.