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Photoshop Tutorial

Depth of Field
Skill level: Novice
Duration: 5 minutes
Requirements: Photoshop version 5 or higher
Goal: To produce a convincing depth of field effect

Stage 01.
Start by importing a suitable image into Photoshop. If you wish to use
the same image as this tutorial, download it from the image bank at

Drag the layer named background onto the New Layer icon in the layers
palette. Notice a new layer is now present. Now double click the name
on the new layer you just created (currently named background copy)
and rename it to ‘focus’.

The New Layer icon Renamed layer to ‘focus’

Stage 02.
Now we need to separate the foreground
object, in this case the female, from
everything else. Grab the Pen tool and
select its Paths option. For increased
accuracy, zoom in on the image using the
Zoom tool, or alternatively press Ctrl & +
to zoom in and Ctrl & - to zoom out.
Paths zoomed in

Draw around the female subject by positioning left clicks along her outer

Keep doing this until the paths

meet where they first started.

If you make a mistake, you can

undo your last action by simply
pressing Ctrl & Z.

Once your paths have met,

your image will resemble
something like this 

Now right click somewhere

inside the path area and select
Make Selection. This converts
your path into a selection.

Completed paths
Grab the Rectangular Marquee
tool (or press Shift & M) and
right click somewhere inside
the selection and click on
Select Inverse.

Your image should now look

like this 

Next press the Delete key on

your keyboard. By pressing
Delete you are in fact deleting
everything around the female
subject, which is exactly what
we need.

Press Ctrl & D to deselect the

female subject.

If you did everything correctly, you will

not notice any change from the original
image. You will however notice your
layers palette now looks like this 

The lower layer (background) remains

the same, but the top layer (focus) shows
the female subject solo.
Stage 03.
Click on the background layer and
then go to the Filter menu. From
the Filter menu, go to Blur, and
select Gaussian Blur. You will then
be presented with this dialog 

I recommend typing in a value of 2, as it is most suitable considering the

proximity of the subjects in the image is quite close. If they were a lot
further away from each other, a higher value would be ideal.

Click OK and you are finished. Your final image should show the female
subject as the focal point of the image, and the male subject and
everything behind him out of focus. Here are the original and final
images compared side by side 

Original image Final image

Produced by Michael Ott Copyright © 2004. The X-files image is property of Fox Entertainment.