advanced photoshop

Quick trick: Use Iris Blur in Photoshop CS6

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Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

Learn how to use the new Iris Blur filter to create stunning portrait effects

Photoshop CS6 has a whole set of new blur filters that use a completely fresh control system to help users achieve professional results. We’re looking at the Iris Blur here, which is used to help replicate a shallow depth-of-field effect. It does this by creating a sharp centre and gradually blurring out to the edges of the image. This is a subtle yet effective way of bringing more dynamism to your photographs.

The filter is controlled with a ring that surrounds the area you want in focus. In the middle of this ring is the Blur Ring, which you can dial to increase or decrease the blur effect (which can also be controlled from the options in the right-hand panel). You can create focus shape and direction by dragging the small white squares on the outside of the main ring to where you want them. Click with your mouse to set the main centre of focus.

You can also control the amount of bokeh, which adds an optional degree of this light effect to the background of your photo. When you’re done, you can opt to add a mask of the blur effect to your Channels palette, so that you can reactivate it if you need to.

Step 1: Find the filter

Quick trick: Use Iris Blur in Photoshop CS6

Open the image that you want to work with. We have chosen this photo because a shallow depth of field will work well with it. Go to Filter>Blur and pick the new Iris Blur from the options at the top of the drop-down menu. This will open the new Blur interface, from which you can access all the new blur effects.

Step 2: Control the effect

Quick trick: Use Iris Blur in Photoshop CS6

The main focus ring will appear in a default position. Click where you want the centre of your blur to be – we went for the right-hand eye. You can then change the size and shape of the focus area by dragging the control points around the focus ring, and also adjust the strength of the effect using the centre Blur Ring.

Step 3: Add in some bokeh

Quick trick: Use Iris Blur in Photoshop CS6

Using the Bokeh section in the right-hand panel, move the Light Bokeh slider to the right to begin to add in some of this lens effect, which works well on this image by creating spots of light in the background. You can also alter the colour of the bokeh effect, though for this image we have chosen to leave this slider alone.

Final Product

Quick trick: Use Iris Blur in Photoshop CS6