Lens Effects includes three options for applying and controlling bokeh in your images, providing you with basic to super-flexible blurring capabilities. Not only can you create bokeh, after the shot, but you also get to control the quality of the applied bokeh in your image. Before exploring the three bokeh options Lens Effects offers, let’s have a quick review on exactly what Bokeh is – for those who might be new to the topic.
What is Bokeh?
Ok, so you’re looking at an image and the subject is clear and in focus, but the background…not so much. This blurred (or out-of-focus) effect is known as “Bokeh”. The actual definition for bokeh (a word of Japanese origin) goes something like this: “Bokeh is the blur in an out-of-focus area of an image and describes the aesthetic quality of the blur in an image.”
Bokeh with Lens Effects
The three options for applying Bokeh included in Topaz Lens Effects are: Center Focus, SLR and Selective. While, each of these options allow you to create bokeh in your image as well as adjust the lens characteristics, each varies in simplicity, flexibility and precision.
Bokeh – Center Focus
This is the simplest and quickest way to create bokeh. This option provides basic control over bokeh adjustments and the lens characteristics. You can quickly set the effect center in just 1-click, by simplify selecting the convenient Effect Center button, and then clicking in the center of what you want to be in-focus. From there you can then quickly adjust the amount of blur added and the transition between focused and out-of-focus area in your image. The Center Focus option is best used for images that don’t need a lot of precision and require a very simple focus selection.
Bokeh – SLR Lens
This is an alternative lens option is sligtly more involved than the Center Focus Bokeh option, and it includes Lens presets that simulate the settings of popular Canon, Nikkor and Ziess lenses (more to be added in future updates). This option includes the use of depth map creation, which offers easy focal point adjustments once created. The SLR Lens option is great for specific lens simulation, giving you that in-camera effect, and requires very little tweaking manually (using the sliders in the tool panel).
What this option offers over the Center Focus option (courtesy of the depth map creation) is the ability to select the Focal Plane Position and set the depth of field in your image. You can also separate control over background AND foreground blur (the black and white values in your depth map) in your image – unlike Center Focus which only offers background blur control.
Bokeh – Selective
Get the most control over your foreground and background selections in your image with this bokeh option. Bokeh – Selective includes the capabilities of the Center Focus and SLR Lens options, but goes beyond by also offering tools for additional adjustments in your focus and blur areas.
Bokeh – Selective also includes the use of the depth map for exact control over exactly where you want your focal point to be. After you’ve selected your Focal Point, set your depth of field and adjusted the background and foreground blur amounts, you can then separately adjust the sharpness, brightness, contrast and saturation of your focus area to really make it pop and stand out from your background. You can also adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation of your background blur.
For convenience, vignette and grain application is also included- giving you the most control and most flexibility over your adjustments.
The bokeh selective option will require more user-interaction than the other two bokeh options, however it is also going to produce the most accurate and flexible results. Use this option when you have a more complex subject and when you want to create a more intense (but still natural) bokeh effect in your image.
For more Lens Effects tutorials and archived webinars visit the Topaz Labs tutorials page