In this lesson we will look at the blur aperture in detail (Iris Blur) – The second of three new blur effects added to the blur gallery in Photoshop CS6. In the previous lesson we learned how to use blur across the field (FieldBlur), which allowed us to vary the degree of blur in different parts of the image without applying a layer mask (formally, new blur filters in Photoshop CS6 use layer masks, but the program creates them itself without our participation). As you can learn from this lesson, blurring the aperture repeats the possibility of blurring across the field, and at the same time allows us to more accurately control the desired degree of blurring in different parts of the image.
This lesson is based on a lesson about the field blur, so if you have not yet read it, I advise you to first read the previous lesson.
Here is a photo from which I will work:
As always, I work with a copy of the source image layer to avoid irreversible changes to the original. You can see this on the layers panel. The original image is on the background layer, and its copy is on layer 1 (you can make a copy of the layer by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + J / Command + J on keyboard)
Select effect blur aperture
You can find the new blur filter in the corresponding menu bar at the top of the screen. Go to the “Filter” menu bar, select the “Blur” section and then “Iris Blur” (second from the top)
When in the previous lesson we chose Blur across the Field, a new blur gallery appeared, which temporarily replaced the standard Photoshop interface. Since this time we chose Blur Aperture, in the upper right corner of the blur gallery containing the Blue Tools panel, the options for aperture blur have opened, or rather the only parameter is the same slider that and to blur across the field.
Our image appeared in the preview area, which occupies almost the entire blur gallery, and as for the blur effect across the field, Photoshop offers us the default effect pin, which we can use to select the degree of blur in the desired part of the image. This time, however, the pin looks like a solar system where the planets orbit around a star.
Let’s take a closer look at what we see. As we learned in the previous tutorial, this funny icon is called a pin, because we can pin extra pins in different parts of the image, which will allow us to vary the degree of blur in the image. In the center of the pin is the outer control ring already known to us or the blur control, which we used in the field blur effect to reduce or increase the degree of blur.
Just hover your mouse over the knob, then hold down the mouse button and turn the ring clockwise or against it. Turning it clockwise will increase the degree of blur, while turning it counterclockwise will decrease. Similarly, the volume control works in the tape recorder. Photoshop will show you the preliminary result of the rotation of the slider, and the level of blur in pixels will be reflected in the panel window (in my case it is 36 pixels)
You can also control the degree of blur using the slider in the Blur Tools panel. Move the slider to the right to enhance the blur or to the left to reduce it. The slider and pin are tied to each other, so there is no difference in which tool to use — by changing one, you automatically change the other.
100% Blur Line
The blur control is surrounded by 4 dots, which in turn are surrounded by 4 smaller dots connected by a thin curve. These points allow us to precisely control the area of blur in the image, and this is what distinguishes the effect of blurring on the aperture from blurring across the field. Let’s look at 4 smaller points connected together by a curve (like the edge of the solar system). They are responsible for the mark of one hundred percent blur.
In other words, everything that is outside the curve connecting the points is completely blurred – by 100%. The area inside the curve, depending on its location relative to the center of the pin, is blurred to a lesser extent or not blurred at all. After a while, we will learn how to change the degree of blurring within a curve.
There are several ways to change the curve, which is responsible for one hundred percent blur. First, you can hover your mouse over any of the 4 points connected by a curve, and see that it changes to a special icon (a small curve with an arrow at each end). Click on a point and, while holding the mouse button down, pull it to change the shape of the curve or rotate it.
Secondly, if you are satisfied with the shape and rotation of the curve, and you just want to change the size of the area of one hundred percent blur, click and drag the curve itself. In this case, the shape and angle of rotation will remain the same.
If you look more closely at the curve, you will notice a square marker icon (between the top and right points). We can use this icon to adjust the curve of the curve, i.e. instead of an ellipse, you can get a rectangle with rounded corners, if you click on the icon and pull it out. Pulling the icon inwards, we return the curve shape of the ellipse.
What about the four big points located between the center of the pin and the outer one hundred percent blur line? These points determine where the transition area for the blur effect begins. The area between the center of the pin and these large dots is completely protected from the blur effect and has the same sharpness as the original image.
Blur starts from these four points and gradually increases towards the outer line, where the blur effect reaches its maximum value.
We can move these transition points closer to the center of the pin or farther from it by clicking on them with the mouse button. The closer to the outer line we move the points, the more pronounced the transition area will become. To smooth the transition area, you need to move the points closer to the center. By default, moving one point automatically entails moving all points, which is what we need in most cases. But if we want to move the points one by one, we must press and hold the key Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) when moving a point.
By default, the area between the center of the pin and the four transition points is protected from the blur effect and remains constantly in focus (sharp), but we can change this if necessary. If you look at the parameters window, you will see that the focus value (Focus) equal to 100% (again by default). By reducing the focal value, you add blur to the protected area. I will reduce this value to 75%.
Now we can see that the area between the center of the pin and the transition points has become slightly unsharp:
As in the blur effect across the field, we can move the pin to another location in the image simply by clicking on its center and moving the pin.
To add a new pin to the image for more control over the blur, move the cursor to the right place and click the mouse button. In my case, I added two more pins — one to the area of the woman’s face and the other to the child’s face, which allowed me to adjust the amount of blur separately in these areas.
As with the field blur effect, only one pin can be active at a time, and only the current active pin displays a blur area around itself. However, we can easily switch between pins, simply by clicking on them, and work in the required areas. In my case, I chose a pin in the area of the woman’s head by clicking on it.
We can temporarily hide the pins to view the image and evaluate the blur effect by pressing and holding the letter H on the keyboard. With the key pressed, the pins disappear from view. Having released the key, we will return the visibility to the pins.
We can also view the original image to evaluate the blur effect, by unchecking the “Preview” option (Preview) in the parameters window. When the Preview option is not selected, the original image appears in the preview area of the blur gallery. Select the Preview option again to return to the unfinished work with blur. To more quickly switch between the original and processed images, press the button several times P on the keyboard to switch between images.
If you need to remove any one pin on the image, make it active, and then press Backspace / Delete on the keyboard to remove pins. If you need to remove all pins and start working again, click on the “Delete All Pins” icon in the options window.
If you make a mistake while working, the blur filter on the aperture allows you to undo the very last action you did when working with the filter. To undo the last step, press Ctrl + Z / Command + Z.
Apply a blur effect
While you are working in the blur gallery, you do not make final changes to the image. Photoshop gives you the ability to preview the result. When you have finally finished working with the blur effect and are happy with the result, click “OK” in the parameters window or press the Enter / Return key on the keyboard to apply the blur to the original image and exit the blur gallery.
And here again, for comparison, the original image:
And the final result:
We did it! We learned how to blur the image using the new “Blur Aperture” filter, which is part of the blur gallery in Photoshop CS6
Posted by: Steve Patterson
Translation: Ksenia Rudenko