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Before/after - Portrait of a Young Man as The Artist
abmann
abmann
Before/after
The Distance Chicago In Miniature

So. Before tilt-shift processing on the left and post tilt-shift on the right (duh).

The pre-shift photo is fine, I think. Just nothing super exciting but the blurring makes it so much more interesting – both in mood and visual appeal (is there a single noun that encompasses “visual appeal”? Vision? Aesthetic?)

Now, what I”m not sure is if I like it better because it is different versus the tilt-shift processing adding value.

What do you think? Better? Worse? Keep it simple and ditch the blur next time or this was a great post-processing choice?

At the request of Chris Nitz at Rav3n Studios this is how I completed the tilt-shift blur.
In Photoshop, on a duplicate layer in case you screw up….:
Enter Quickmask mode (Q)
Select the reflected gradient tool.
Click at the center of the area you want unmasked.
Drag down the the bottom edge.
Release.
You’ll have a red gradient on your image.
Exit Quickmask.
Hooray! You have a selection!
Access the Lens blur filter.
Set Radius to 20ish – more or less depending on what you prefer.
Set specular highlights: brightness to 10ish
Set specular highlights: threshold to 240ish. (this adds the plasticy washed out highlights)
Apply.
Wait.
Wait.
If you’re on a 4 year MBP like me, wait some more.
Voila! Tilt-shift.

Optional enhancements:
Add a curves layer.
Add an anchor at the center of the line.
Drag the highlights (right side) up so you have a little bump) to blow out the highlights more.
Add a saturation layer – bump it up by 10 or so.
This makes it look even more like a model.
Also – if you blurred a layer copy, you can mask out the edges if you’d prefer a larger focal area.

You could also do this with Aperture 3.0 and the new blur brush. You just have to be better at drawing straight lines than I am.

20 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: January 20th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I like it. It moves the focus down from where I expect it to be... It makes it look interesting.
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Why is that good?
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: January 20th, 2011 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It's surprising. I like that. It's certainly not bad.
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
More than the in-focus version.

Also, this is weird because you're three feet away from me.
anfractuousity From: anfractuousity Date: January 20th, 2011 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
The blur confuses me. My eye wants to either look down the street or at the car in the foreground, but I'm forced to look at the bus stop in the blurred version, so it's like... my eye can't settle anywhere comfortably.
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
So the lines, even blurry, catch your eye?
anfractuousity From: anfractuousity Date: January 20th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Somehow, yes.
anfractuousity From: anfractuousity Date: January 20th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think anything's wrong with the technique; I just think perhaps it wasn't the ideal image to use it on.

Or something.
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
One vote for blur, one against. :)
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
What's your vote, though
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)
karn From: karn Date: January 20th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I like the original a bit better then the tilt-shift but that's just me.
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Why? More natural?
karn From: karn Date: January 20th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it just flows better for me. That being said... I do want to start playing around again with some tilt-shift effects now. XD
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I see how it is. Gonna get all inspired, reject me so I stop and then make hojillions withnthe same technique!
karn From: karn Date: January 20th, 2011 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Damn it! You saw through my plot!
nidea From: nidea Date: January 20th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought the one you posted before (on the right) was a tiny diorama on the inside of a window (non-blur section; blurred would be the area behind the window glass) with little plastic characters in some sand. I was amazed at the detail in the characters... Sigh. Maybe I need more sleep.

As to which is a "better photo" -- I love the detail in the buildings, and the reflections in the windows, but focusing on the people in the foreground gives it a more human touch.
abmann From: abmann Date: January 20th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Most people need more sleep. :)
So you're saying you like both! YOURE NOT HELPING!!
nidea From: nidea Date: January 20th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ok, ok, I slightly prefer the blurred one.
lipsoflove From: lipsoflove Date: January 20th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
You know what's funny? They both look like miniature versions of an original. :)

I like the original better because the angle from which the camera is set pushes your eye down the street. The blurred version forces you to look at the in-focus part, but my eye still wants to wipe away the blur and look down the street.

It's like I want to wipe away the condensation off a window and see what's happening.
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