How To: Tilt-Shift effect, Fake a Miniature Scene in Photoshop
Tilt-Shift is a nice novelty effect you can carry out on your life-size photos to make them look like a miniature model scene. In Photoshop you alter the field of depth by blurring some sections which mimics the look of a macro lense. You can also add to the effect by increasing the color saturation and the contrast to make the objects brighter and seem more like model toys. If you want to see examples of technique, visit the Flickr Tilt-Shift Minitures Pool. In this tutorial I will be showing you how to do this to your photos in Adobe Photoshop.
When choosing a photo to use for this, ones which work well are taken from above and include people, cars, animals, trains etc – if you think of a miniature toy or railway scene, try and find something similar. The shot I have chosen for this tutorial is of the Gumball rally cars from above, by Flickr user Robonline. Here is what the shot looks like before any alteration :
Create the Masked Area
With your chosen photo open in Photoshop, press Q or click the Quick Mask button :
Now choose the Gradient tool and choose the Reflected Gradient option :
With the gradient tool, hold down the shift key and draw a line on your photo over the part you want to stay in focus ( the middle of the image usually ). Once you let go a red area will appear :
Return the image to normal mode by pressing Q again or clicking the Quick mask button, moving lines will appear around your selection :
Blur the Area
With your area selected, go to “Filter” > “Blur” > “Lens Blur”. You can leave the settings as the defaults apart from one called “Radius” this is the one which controls how much blurring happens – play with this until your image looks right and click “OK”.
Increase Contrast and Saturation
The final steps to creating your image is to up the contrast and saturation. Go to “Image” > “Adjustments” > “Brightness / Contrast” and up the contrast, I upped mine by 40 :
Next go to “Image” > “Adjustments” > “Hue / Saturation” and up the saturation, I upped mine by 20 :
There you have it, here is what the final image looks like :
Let’s see what you come up with – share your Tilt-Shift photos in the comments!