Recently, reader Rod Sawyer wrote to us for advice: He'd seen commercials and music videos in which a subject is in sharp focus and surrounded by an area of blur, and wanted to know how it could be done. He liked the effect for the way it makes the subject stand out and for the dramatic illusion of depth. It's fairly simple to achieve this look, especially if you have Adobe Photoshop, and as long as you choose to work on the right kind of picture. In order to create the illusion of depth, you need a picture that has a clear foreground, middleground, and background. Try the effect on a flat-looking picture, and the blur will look like an odd Photoshop trick, rather than an almost-realistic one.