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  Background Bokeh - isolating a subject & blurring background

This step-by-step tutorial examines a method by which you can simulate a limited depth of field photograph. The idea is to throw the background out-of-focus while preserving the sharp focus of the subject. This tutorial shows the use of the Quick Select tool with the "Refine Edge" dialog in CS6—make sure you check out the bundled course "Background Bokeh" —see the "Included Courses" link in the left sidebar of the main course page— to see an updated version of this project. By the end you will have seen how to:

  • Create a layer mask, and refine the mask
  • Use Content Aware Fill to prepare the background to eliminate blur halos
  • Use Shape Blur to simulate lens bokeh
  • Use Iris-Blur & Tilt-Shift blur

The tutorial briefly explores the Lens Blur filter, and shows why it may not produce the best bokeh effect.

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