Tilt Shift with Alien Skin Bokeh
Tilt shift photography attempts to mimic the effect of photographing a miniature scene where extreme depth of field happens due to the actual short distance of small scale scenes. Tilt shift brings that style to life size scenes by tricking your eyes into thinking the objects are miniature.
Tilt shift lenses have been used for many years to create this effect but now digital image manipulation is usually the method used by most photographers. The creative flexibility of Photoshop can allow today’s photographers to mimic almost any effect avoiding the need for special and sometimes expensive equipment.
There are ways to accomplish this exclusively with Photoshop using Layers, Gaussian Blur, the brush tool and different opacity settings. There are also Photoshop plugin’s such as Alien Skin Bokeh that will produce a comparable if not better tilt shift image in a fraction of the time. I like working smarter not harder. This software is not cheap, it’s going to run you about $200, but time is also money if you want to use many of its other features.
Here is an image of The Texas Longhorn Band entering the North side of the Darrell K. Royal Stadium straight out of the camera with settings f/5.6, 1/100 and ISO 100. It is not a huge depth of field but at this distance most of the shot is in focus.
After going through some of my normal Photoshop work flow steps I also add layers to increase the contrast and saturation to help add to the illusion of a miniature scene. Then I used the Alien Skin Bokeh plugin to select and adjust the radial selection and then adjust the sliders to get the effect I was looking for. You can see my settings below for this particular shot.
The combination of Photoshop color tweaks and the Bokeh plugin gave me a very good tilt shift effect in a matter of minutes.