Manipulating Depth of Field

Summary:
In this tutorial, we will walk through the steps for creating the illusion of depth of field. This is a useful technique, since it slowly blends a blurry background with the in-focus foreground object or image.

Step-By-Step Instructions:
1. Open, in Photoshop, a photo of a scene that you would like to paste your objects into. For this tutorial, we’ll use Gordonks, but you can apply this tutorial to any object or element that you are adding to a background scene.

2. Create a new layer. Name it “Object 1″. Paste the object (or Gordonk) onto this layer. Use the Move Tool to position the object where you want it to be.

3. Goto Layer > Duplicate Layer… The Duplicate layer pop-up appears. Name the duplicate layer “Object 2″ and click OK.
4. Click Ctrl+T to enter Free Transform mode. Use the shape handles to resize the duplicate object (Gordonk) so that it appears to be smaller and in the background.
5. Goto Filter > Blur > Gausian Blur. Adjust the slider to blur the object that is in the background of the scene.
6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 to create more duplicate objects for your scene. The further back the object (Gordonk) is, the more gausian blur you should apply.

7. Now you have an image where the background scene is in focus, but the objects in the background are out of focus. We need to blur the background to create a depth of field effect to match with these blurred objects in the background.
8. Select the layer with the background scene. Goto Layer > Duplicate Layer. Name the duplicate layer “Scene Blur”, then Click OK.
9. With the “Scene Blur” layer active, goto Filter > Blur > Gausian Blur. Then adjust the slider so it matches the same amount of blur as the object (Gordonk) that is furthest in the back of the scenery.

10. With the “Scene Blur” layer active, create a vector mask from the Layers Palette.
11. Select the Gradient Tool. Make sure the gradient is set from Black to White.
12. With the Mask Layer active, use the Gradient tool and drag a line from the Gordonk in the far background to the Gordonk that is in the near foreground.

13. This will create a focused to blurred background, seamlessly giving an impression of depth of field.