Since a few of you expressed interest in how I did the dream-like photos in one of my recent posts, I have an easy step-by-step method to share with you. I figured this out on my own one day, so please note that there are many different ways to accomplish something in Photoshop, and this is just my way. I can navigate around in PS, but am self-taught and still have much to learn.
I can’t emphasize that enough.
Here’s the finished version of the image I will be working on for you:
I took it this morning while having my coffee outside on the patio. I love the dreamy quality.
I use a PC and the CS5 version of Photoshop. The first thing I do is to open the image I want to work on, then make a copy of it. Never work on an original image. After I make a copy, I fool around with it to get the color and the contrast the way I want it. For this image, I started with Red Leaf Studio’s Velvet Sage action, lowering the opacity until I liked what I saw.
Now it’s time to get the blur. Have your photo open in PS.
STEP 1: Copy the background image.
To do this: In the layers palette (bottom right), click on the thumbnail of your Background layer and drag it on top of the ‘Create a new layer’ icon. It’s the second over from the right at the very bottom right and looks like two rectangles – one on top of the other.
STEP 2: Set the Background copy to Gaussian Blur.
To do this: With your Background copy thumbnail highlighted, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
STEP 3: Set the amount of blur desired.
To do this: Use the slider to get the desired effect, then hit OK.
STEP 4: Add a layer mask to remove blur.
To do this: In the layers palette, with your Background copy thumbnail highlighted, click onto the ‘Add layer mask’ icon. It’s the third from left and looks like a rectangle with a circle in the middle. Then, using a large soft black brush, with your opacity and flow set low (mine was at 17%), gently brush off the Gaussian blur from your desired focal point.
You will find your brush in the toolbox palette (far left of the screen). I used ‘soft round pressure opacity’. Then I changed the flow and the opacity in the bar above.
Look at the layers palette (bottom right corner). As you brush off the layer mask in the Background copy, you can see how you’re progressing as the area being removed turns gray on the thumbnail. If you make a mistake, just change your brush color to white and paint over the area you want to correct. Don’t forget to change back to black to finish.
At this point, I make my brush smaller and really go over the area that I want to disappear so that the object is more clear (in this case, the bird). If you like, you can raise the opacity and flow a little, or you can just keep going over the same spot. The longer you work your brush over it, the darker the spot will appear in the thumbnail.
STEP 5: Flatten the image.
To do this: At bar across the top, Layer > Flatten Image.
At this point, I ran Florabella’s Sweet Color action, and lowered the opacity considerably. Then, because I was publishing this photo on my blog, I duplicated the image. I never use the original image on my blog page, always resizing to a smaller width, and often using a watermark.
To get the watermark this time, I simply typed it. To do this: On the duplicated copy , I created a new layer (in layers palette bottom right) and using the Horizontal type tool in the tool palette (far left), I typed my name in Freebooter Script, lowered the opacity, then moved it where I wanted it.
Then I set the image size to 800 pixels width. I hit control / alt / I – but it can also be done by going to the top bar and selecting Image > Image size.
Hope this helps. Seasoned pro’s will know of a better way to do this, I’m sure. But this works for me and I hope it does for you, as well.