Easy Tilt Shift Effects with Photoshop

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An improvement in Photoshop (beginning with version CS6) is the ability to quickly and easily create tilt shift effects. In this post, I’ll demonstrate how you can give an ordinary photo a tilt shift effect in no time.

Creating the Tilt Shift Effect in Photoshop

I’ll be working with this photo:

Easy Tilt Shift Effects with Photoshop CS6

Any time you are working with tilt shift or the other blur effects, be sure to save a copy of your photo in case you don’t like the results. To get started, go to Filter > Blur > Tilt Shift.

Add Tilt Shift Blur in Photoshop

That will bring up the controls that will allow you to manipulate the tilt shift blur.

Photoshop's tilt shift controls

At the center you will see the adjustment ring. This area of the photo will remain sharp, and the ring allows you to change how much blur is applied (more on that in a moment). You’ll also see two lines above and below the adjustment ring. The first line is sold and the second line is dotted. The area beyond the dotted lines (the top and bottom of the photo) will be blurred based on the amount of blur you set with the adjustment ring. The blur will start at the solid lines and it will blur gradually until it gets to those dotted lines. So the area between the two solid lines is what will be sharp.

Setting which areas of the photo are blurred or partially blurred

You can move any of the lines to determine what parts of the photo should be blurred and what should be sharp. For this photo, I am going to move the upper solid line a little lower, more towards the center of the photo. I’ll also move the lower solid line a little towards the bottom of the photo. Next, I’ll move each of the dotted lines further out towards the edge of the photo.

Easy Tilt Shift Effects with Photoshop CS6

Next, I’ll increase the blur by clicking and dragging the white part of the adjustment ring.

Adjusting the blur for the specific photo

Then click “ok” at the top and the blur will be applied. The result will look like this:

Finished photo with tilt shift blur applied in Photoshop

The specifics of how you want to make adjustments to the blur will vary from one photo to the next, so experiment a little bit and you can get a better feel for how Tilt Shift Blur works.

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