Photoshop: Making Tilt Shift Photos

Adobe Photoshop allows users to create tilt shift photographs, in which normal-sized photographs can be manipulated so that they look like miniatures. To create these types of photographs, users just need a photograph that was taken from a higher angle and Adobe Photoshop.

Step 1: Choose the Photograph

The first step in creating a tilt shift photograph is selecting an image that will best fit the look of this type of photography. Generally, photographs should be taken from a higher location and the angle should be pointed downwards. The goal is to mimic a miniature, which are normally taken from a higher location.

The photograph itself should be slightly busy with people, buildings, roads, airplanes and the like, but there should still be something in the scene that can act as the subject of the photograph. For example, a large gathering of planes or a large billboard can be the subject. Further, photographs should have been taken using a wide-angle lens to capture as much of the scene as possible.

 Step 2: Use Photoshop Tools

Now, it is time to open up Photoshop, and then open up the Quick Mask Mode, which can be found on the Tool Palette. The keyboard shortcut for this tool is Q.

Next, select the Gradient Tool (G on the keyboard or the Gradient Tool icon within the Tool Palette). Pick the Reflected Gradient option from the Mode dropdown menu.

Step 3: Create the Scene Focus

Using the line drawing tool, start drawing a straight line from the main focus area. The starting point will be the point that is most in focus, and the end will be the most out of focus section. This will take a bit of trial and error to get the exact focus point correct. Release the mouse once the line is drawn, and a red band will appear horizontally across the image. This will cover the entire horizontal area where the line was drawn. The center of the red band will be where the effect will focus.

Step 4: Select Lens Blur

Now that the focus area has been selected, press Q again to return to the Standard Mode. Users should still see a dotted line box around the focus area.

Next, go into the Filter dropdown menu, and select Blur. Within the Blur menu, select Lens Blur. The focus area should remain clear, but the rest should be out of focus. Users may have to play around with the settings until it looks right. Select OK when done, and hit Control or Command + D to remove the selection box.

Step 5: Adjust the Hue and Saturation

Go into Adjustments and then Hue/Saturation. Move the Saturation up to around +40. Increase the contrast in the picture by using the Curves adjustment option, which can be found within Image -> Adjustments. Try adjusting Input to 7 and Output to 9, but do not overdo the option. This may require some experimentation.

Finally, the image should look like a miniature with bright colors and high contrast.