Increase your focus control using the latest greatest version of Photoshop
CS6's new Blur Gallery is like a program within a program. Photo: Debbie Grossman
Even though we were still working with the beta version of Adobe Photoshop CS6 at press time, we couldn’t resist writing about one of the program’s most useful new features, the Blur Gallery. Photoshop never did blur particularly well; the legacy blur tools, such as Gaussian and Motion blur, have a tiny preview window and few adjustable parameters. Things improved with the introduction of Lens Blur, but to apply it locally you had to first create a selection or a mask, which made it difficult to use on the fly.
The new Blur Gallery provides three methods: Field Blur, which can blur a whole image, Iris Blur, which lets you blur your picture but designate one or multiple areas of sharpness, and Tilt-Shift, which creates a miniature-toy effect. You can apply all three at once or one at a time, and add and adjust the amount of bokeh.
The Gallery may look familiar to those who have tried OnOne’s FocalPoint tool, which has a similar (though more sophisticated) method for adding selective focus. As in OnOne’s program, you adjust Iris Blur using a floating tool. In Photoshop, you can adjust the size, shape, and edges of the area of sharpness as well as the amount of sharpness in a given sharp area. The tool is great for achieving a Lensbaby-like look or creating an image with varying areas of sharpness that couldn’t exist in reality. Here’s how to use the Iris Blur feature; the other two methods work in a similar fashion.