The tilt-shift effect is one of the coolest effects you can create using Photoshop. It basically involves manipulating a photograph of a certain life-sized landscape or scene to make it appear as a miniature of itself. For the best results, the photo should be taken from a high angle. This tutorial assumes you have basic knowledge of using Photoshop tools. I will be using Photoshop CS6 in this tutorial. Below is a good example of the tilt-shift effect and one which we will be working towards:
To start us off, as earlier stated, we need a photo that has been taken from a high angle. I found one that has some cars, trees, buildings and a train which makes it really interesting to play around with. Now on to the first step:
Once you have opened your photo in Photoshop (the one I’m using is a free stock photo you can get from this link, press the
Q key on your keyboard to go into Quick Mask mode. You can also click on the Quick Mask button shown below:
Having switched to Quick Mask mode, hit the
G key to select the
gradient tool and select the
Reflective Gradient selected, draw a perpendicular line starting from the point on your photo you prefer to be on focus and ending at the point where it should be out of focus. You will notice a red a patch over your preferred section.
Now that we have our section, hit the
Q key again to exit Quick Mask mode. See those areas encompassed by the selections (referred to as Marching Ants)?, those are the areas that should be out of focus. If you are not pleased with the selections, you can repeat Step Two and Step Three.
We can now have our first try on the effect. Go to
Filter > Blur > Lens Blur to bring up the Lens Blur window. Here, adjust the
Radius until you get your preferred blur intensity on your out-of-focus areas. You will also notice how the blur intensity affects your favoured final effect. Once you have your effect, deselect the image by pressing
Ctrl+D or going to
Select > Deselect.
We now have a tilt-shift effect we can work with. To make the effect pop out more, we can adjust the saturation of the photo so that it has more colour. Press
Ctrl+U and increase the saturation until the photo gets more miniature/toy-like.
We now have a nice looking tilt-shift effect. Yours is maybe different or even better looking 🙂 than mine based on your blur and saturation adjustments. Anyway, that’s how you go about creating a tilt-shift effect using Photoshop. Until next tutorial, Adios!
Posted by James King’ori