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Photoshop Tutorial : Faking Tilt Shift Photography

From Wikipedia HERE

Tilt-shift photography refers to the use of camera movements on small- and medium format cameras; it usually requires the use of special lenses.

“Tilt-shift” actually encompasses two different types of movements: rotation of the lens relative to the image plane, called tilt, and movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, called shift. Tilt is used to control the orientation of the plane of focus (PoF), and hence the part of an image that appears sharp; it makes use of the Scheimpflug principle. Shift is used to control perspective, often involving the convergence of vertical parallel lines, as when photographing tall buildings.

In many cases, “tilt-shift photography” refers to the use of tilt and a large aperture to achieve a very shallow depth of field.

Tilt shift faking is the process whereby we take a normal life size location or object and give it an optical illusion to make it appear as a miniature scale model. Probably the best images to use are those that look down on a subject i.e. from a high angle – this isn’t always the case though and a bit of fiddling in Photoshop will soon let you know if the image is suitable. Definately one of the easier effects to achieve in Photoshop – so lets get rolling.

I would very much like to thank Steve Carter for the use of his image Shieldaig Village in February. Steve has some fabulous images of Loch Torridon and other places that I’ve never heard of 🙂 over at his site – which you can find HERE THIS is the link to the images of the latest local photos(Highlands)

I have resized the image a little for the purpose of this tutorial. Please be respectful of Steve’s copyright to this image.

Open the image, duplicate the image and close the original. Duplicate the image by dragging it to the create new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette or pressing Ctrl + J on the keyboard. Make sure your f/ground is set to black and the b/ground to white then click on the gradient filter, go to the top toolbar and make sure the filter is set to f/ground to b/ground i.e. black to white and click on the Reflected Gradient icon. Next click on the Quick Mask Icon at the bottom of the side toolbar, or press Q on the keyboard. In this particular image, you want the main row of houses to be in focus, see the image below for the start and finish position I used for the gradient. Once you have done that, the mask will appear, exist quick mask mode by clicking on the icon on the side toolbar, or pressing Q on the keyboard – marching ants will appear.

Next you need to go to Filter>Blur>Lens Blur and the teeny weeny dialogue box will open 🙂 I did adjust my gradient after previewing it in the Lens Blur dialogue box, just take it a little bit higher than shown in the example above.

You can punch in the same settings as I have, see image below.

Most miniatures are painted bright colours, so next you are going to use a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer to boost the colours. Click on the little ying yang symbol at the bottom of the layers palette (create new adjustment layer) and choose Hue/Saturation from the menu. On the Master, pump the colours up quite a bit, I chose +60 on the saturation slider – just watch what is going on with the houses, you are going to add a mask in a minute so the changes only apply to the part that is in focus.

Hold down the Alt key and click on the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Grab a soft edged white brush and making sure the mask is active by clicking on it, paint back in the colour to the houses, road, cars etc., all things that are in focus. You can boost the Saturation a little more if you want by double clicking on the adjustment layer thumbnail. And there we have our miniature village. I went ahead and added a small amount of sharpening to the houses. Bear in mind that the settings used are relevant to this image 800 × 507@72dpi.

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