Bokeh effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will use brushes, basic filters, and blending modes to achieve this result:

Step 1. Create a new document with a size of 2560×1440 pixels, so that you can use the picture you made as wallpaper. Fill the background in dark gray (# 181818)

Step 2. Create a new layer, use the Gradient overlay layer style:
– colors: dark yellow, red and blue). Angle thirty. Overlay mode set to Overlay

Step 3. Create another new layer. Choose Filter> Render> Clouds (Filter> Render> Clouds). Make sure that your primary colors are set to black and white for the foreground and background respectively. Next, go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) and in the settings we set 70-100 pixels. Blend mode Color Dodge (Brightening Basics)

Step 4. Now let’s create a hexagon to use as a brush. Take Polygon Tool (U) (Polygon). Create a black hexagon. Next, go to Layer> Layer Styles> Strokes (Layer> Layer Style> Stroke):
– Inside Stroke
size 7 pix.
Fill (Fill) we put 50%.
To create a brush, click Ctrl and the left button on the thumbnail with a hexagon. Further Edit> Define Brush (Edit> Define Brush). And call as you want.

Step 5. Now Window> Brushes (Window – Brushes) and customize the brush. In line Shape Dynamics value Jitter we put 40%. AT Scattering choose Both axes (both axes), set the value to 700%. AT Transfer set the value to 40% for Opacity jitter (Fluctuation Opacity).


(click on image to enlarge)

Step 6. Create a new group, and in it a layer. Apply blending mode to folder Color Dodge (Brightening Basics). Choose a hexagon brush, the main color will be white. We draw.

Step 7. Next, go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) And in the settings we set 2 pixels.

Step 8. Duplicate this layer. We turn again to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) And in the settings we set 5 pixels. Fill reduced to 60% and using Eraser (E) remove places where you get too bright places.

Step 9. Add a mask layer to the group Layer> Add Layer Mask> Reveal All (Layer – Add Layer Mask – Show All). Apply Filter> Render> Clouds (Filter> Render> Clouds). Thereafter Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 20. The result of applying the filter on the layer mask will be an arbitrary masking of some areas.

Step 10. Create a new layer on top of the rest. Download the PSD file from here. Define the pattern and fill it with a layer using the tool. Paint bucket tool (G) (Fill), Pattern mode (regular). Rotate it by 30 degrees. Duplicate to close the places that remain open. Combine these two layers and set the blending mode toOverlay (Overlap)

Add a mask to this layer, add the Clouds and Blur filter again, as we did before.

Step 11. Add a new layer and put it in a new group. Blend mode Color Dodge (Brightening Basics). Using a soft white round brush, paint a few highlights.

Step 12. Add a new layer. We work all with the same group. Select the Gradient tool and open its settings. Type set Noise (Noise), Smoothness (Roughness) 100%. Add color, add transparency. Fill the layer with a gradient, while the gradient mode should be angular (Angle). Translator’s Note: Lower the fill layer (Fill).

Step 13. This layer is blurred according to Gauss with a radius of 10 pixels. Brush add a few light spots in the middle of the hexagons.

Step 14. Create a new layer on top of all the others. Fill the background with black color on the new layer. Round soft eraser erase the middle by clicking step by step to create a vignette effect. By this we give the edges darkening.

Step 15. Duplicate all layers, merge duplicates. Apply a filter to this layer. Gaussian blur with a radius of 15 pixels.

Duplicate this blurred layer. Now there are two. For the first, change the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) and lower the opacity to 40%. For the second, which will be the highest, the blend mode Screen (Screen) and opacity 30%

Here is the result:


(click on image to enlarge)

As you can see, we created an interesting and colorful bokeh effect quite simply and without any special plug-ins and stock images. We used only our own brush, standard filters and blending modes. This type of abstract effects is my favorite. Now you know how to create this interesting effect on your own.

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