photoshop creative

Create beautiful bokeh in 3 easy steps!

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
September 22, 2014

Create the unmistakable aura of bokeh

1. Gradient backdrop

To change the background, you’ll need to select the subject, then apply a layer mask and add a new blank layer underneath this. Apply your desired gradient using the Gradient tool (G), with colours such as red and purple set up in the Options bar.

2. Brilliant brushes

Brushes are used to create the bokeh. Choose a basic round brush, set to 100% Hardness, with a Spacing of 100%. Paint with the brush onto a new layer and apply a spread of circles.

3. Motion blurring

Apply the layer styles shown below onto the bokeh layers. For a final edit, apply the Motion Blur filter to create the sideways distortion for the bokeh circles, as if they’re out of focus.

As an alternative…

For a less intense effect, try applying the above steps to a photo of a person outdoors. Use pastel colours for the Gradient Overlay layer style, then apply white light by painting with a low opacity, soft brush over the background. The Curves adjustment is useful for increasing the brightness of the overall photo.