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Tilt-Shift Photoshop Tutoral

How to Easily Create a Tilt-Shift Photo using Adobe Photoshop

Tilt-shift photography is a technque that allows the photographer to use secltive focus and create a photo where real life objects look like miniature sets or scenes.

There are several ways to create a tilt-shift photo. Some cameras are equiped with special modes which allow you to create this special effect right in the camera as you take the pictures. Another method is to use an expensive lens called a tilt-sift lens.  You can also create this effect digitally in your post processing either by using a special program or filter for Adobe Photoshop. However you can also create this effect without any additional software directly in Photoshop yourself by following the steps outlined in this tutorial.

Step One...Pick an appropriate picture.

Chosing the right picture is the key to getting good results with this editing technique as with all others. Generally speaking a photo with a wider angle of view will work better. Also photos where you are looking down on the subject to at least some degree will often help create the desired effect.

For my tutorial I chose a photo of Union Station in Kansas City, MO as my subject. This photo was taken from the Liberty Memorial which overlooks Union Station so it gave me the downward view that works best for these photos. After chosing the photo I increased the saturation and contrast so that I am starting with a photo that has vibrant colors and good contrast. Doing this produces a better outcome in my experience.

Tilt Shift Turorial 1

Step Two...Enable the Quick Mask Mode

You can enable the quick mask mode in photoshop either by clicking on the icon at the bottom of your tool box or by pressing the Q key on the keyboard. 

 Tilt Shift Turorial 1a

 Step Three...Apply a gradiant to the image

Using the Gradient tool, draw a vertical line in the area of the image you want to remain in focus.  This can be rather tricky but with practice you can get the gradient applied to the right area. While in the Quick Mask Mode the area that will be in focus is now highlighted in red. Be sure to make sure that the gradiant tool is set to "reflected gradiant" which is the fourth selection from the right on the gradiant toolbar.

Tilt Shift Turorial 2 resize

Step Four...Exit the Quick Mask Mode and Apply a Lens Blur

Having applied a reflective gradient to the quick mask you should now exit the quick mask mode by either clicking on the click mask icon on the bottom of your toolbar or hitting the letter Q on the keyboard. After exiting the quick mask mode you will go the filter menu on the top and select "blur" and then "lens blur" from the available options. This will open up a dialoge box where you will fine tune the amount of blur you want for the out of focus areas. Once you are happy with the overall look of the photo apply the lens blur and you have completed your creation of a tilt-shift photos.

Tilt Shift Turorial 3

Tilt Shift Turorial 4 resize

Step Five...The Finished Product

Congratulations you have just completed creating  a Tilt-Shift Photo.

Union Station Photoshop Tilt Shift