In this tutorial we will be creating a ’tilt-shift’ effect using the relevant filter in Photoshop. This feature was added in Photoshop CS6. This filter basically mimics the effect of a proper tilt-shift lens used in dedicated tilt-shift photography.
To get the full effect it is best to use a photography that has been taken from an elevated or aerial viewpoint. In this tutorial I’ve used a shot I took in Barcelona, Spain. Below you can see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ states.
Creating the effect
First you’ll need to select the tilt-shift filter, to do this go to Filter > Blur > Tilt-Shift.
This will bring up the tilt-shift panel as below. The circle are lines overlayed on the image are how we control the effect. The centre pin can be adjusted to specify the amount (strength) of the blur. You can also do this via the options panel of the right-hand side. For this image I have used a blur strength of 12px.
The area contained by the solid lines remains in focus, drag these to suit your chosen image. The dashed-lines beyond represent the start of maximum blur, so the area in between the solid and dashed-lines is the transition area, so drag the dashed lines to get the transition that suits your image.
To get the effect to line-up with the road in my shot I dragged and rotated the entire controls (shown below), to do this simply click and drag between the lines to get the angle you need.
And after a few final tweaks to the lines and that’s pretty much it, a simple way to add a tilt-shift effect in Photoshop. This new filter added in Photoshop CS6 has certainly made the whole process faster than it used to be, and, with a little practice, the new control system is very intuitive. To finish, let’s take another look at the final image: