When things aren’t running as smoothly as you’d like, check out our advice centre
Sometimes Photoshop or Elements just doesn’t seem to want to play nice. It could be a problem with the actual software or more often than not, you just can’t seem to get a technique working.
Each issue, our advice centre helps sort out these common problems, covering both Photoshop and Elements so no one is left out! Check out this sample question from issue 83. It could be just the thing you were looking for! It was written for a Photoshop Elements query but also applies to Photoshop.
Depth of field effect
Q – I have tried to get depth of field effects in my photos but have so far failed. I can’t get a natural flow from sharpness into the soft blur. How can I do this?
A – You need to make use of the mask, gradient and layer features in Elements. The mask and gradient will give you the soft transition between blur and sharpness, while the layers are needed to make the mask work. First of all, ensure your Foreground colour is set to black and your Background to white.
Open your image and then go to Layer>Duplicate. Click on the Background layer and then head up to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Apply a Radius setting of around 3px before clicking OK.
Apply the mask Now click on the duplicate layer. We need to use a mask to make the transition from blurred to sharp. Click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and a new thumbnail will appear on the layer.
Pick the Gradient tool from the Toolbar. Click the gradient bar at the top left of the interface and make sure you pick Foreground to Background. Click and drag from left to right. The white areas stay sharp while the black areas reveal the blur.