Changing Focus & DOF is Easy with This “MAGICAL” Photoshop Technique (VIDEO)

by John Stapel

How many times have you reviewed images on the computer and wished you had shot the scene with a different point of focus and depth of field? If your answer to this question is “too many to count,” the eye-opening tutorial below is just what you need.

Thanks to recent Photoshop updates, tasks that were once time-consuming, complicated, and required advanced skills, are now within the abilities of everyone. In today’s remarkably easy tutorial you’ll learn how to “magically” improve a photo by changing focus and depth-of-field (DOF)).

“Impossible,” you say? Well read on, because in barely four minutes image-editing instructor Colin Smith demonstrates everything you need to know. He employs Depth Maps, one of Photoshop’s new Neural Filters, and a bit of subtle lens blur for what he says is the most powerful way to tackle this assignment.

The process begins by clicking on Filters atop the screen, navigating to Neural Filters, and choosing Depth Blur from the dropdown menu. You may already be familiar with this filter, but Smith demonstrates how to quickly modify the default approach to achieve superior results.

The beauty of Smith’s technique is that it avoids a situation in which some elements in a photo are missed when using the Depth-Blur filter in the standard manner. His trick is to is to check the “Output Depth Map Only” box at the bottom right of the window. Now things are lighter when further away, and darker when closer to the camera.

Smith uses a simple slider to intensify his intended effect. As you’ll see, adjusting the shades of gray in different portions of a scene puts objects on a different plane. At this point you're almost done, and the remaining simple steps are just a few clicks away.

After watching the video take a look at Smith’s YouTube channel where you’ll find more helpful editing tips and tricks. 

And be sure to check out the simple Lightroom tutorial we posted recently, demonstrating how to add dramatic light to landscape photos.