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get Bokeh effect by large aperture or photoshop
I have a nikon 50mm f1.8 len. The resolution is rated best at f4-8, but I like the shallow DOF look at f1.8..

Would it be best to take all pictures at it's best resolution, and later use Photoshopto add Bokeh-like effect? or use f1.8 to get a blur picture with true Bokeh?.

-jeff..

Comments (24)

If you use f/1.8 on the lens things in the picture will be blurred to different extents depending on how far they are out of the focus plane. if you blur the background in photoshop everything will be blurred to the same extent - it won't look the same. I'd stick with doing it on the lens..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #1

But would it be nice that all pictures are clear and then later you can decide what to do with them, instead of blur by the len and lose the background detail forever..

Another words, are the software good enough to add Bokeh on demand?.

Anyone has experience on comparing photo edit by PS and photo using large aperture? Do they look "real"?..

Comment #2

7777321 wrote:.

But would it be nice that all pictures are clear and then later youcan decide what to do with them, instead of blur by the len and losethe background detail forever..

Another words, are the software good enough to add Bokeh on demand?.

Anyone has experience on comparing photo edit by PS and photo usinglarge aperture? Do they look "real"?.

Generally speaking you can't create believable background blur in Photoshop. In very simple cases, with a sharply focused foreground subject with a clearly defined edge, and a background where everything is at much the same distance, you can get away with it. But in general you can't..

In any case it is not worth the time and effort, to say nothing of patience and skill, that would be needed for a real-world image with lots of overlapping elements, foreground blur as well as background blur, and so on. It's not uncommon in these discussions for people to post examples to show that it can be done, but (a) they are always simple examples, and (b) they only ever do one, then grow tired of it!..

Comment #3

Only if each pixel has it's own distance info, then it will make sense to use software bokeh..

My original idea was to capture everything in detail and store for later usage; I guess this doesnt fly..

Thanks for all replies...

Comment #4

7777321 wrote:.

Only if each pixel has it's own distance info, then it will make senseto use software bokeh..

No, even that doesn't work. A large aperture lens 'sees around' foreground objects when it blurs them - that cannot be reproduced in software from an image taken with a small aperture lens...

Comment #5

7777321 wrote:.

But would it be nice that all pictures are clear and then later youcan decide what to do with them, instead of blur by the len and losethe background detail forever..

There is technology to do this that was showcased a while ago. But it will just ruin the prestige of skillful photography, because people will assume it's computer-generated...

Comment #6

Creating OOF and modifying the Bokeh in post processing is tedious at best, and frequently looks artificial..

I suggest you don't base your decision on what you read in forums or charts, these should be the basis for your own evaluation. Image quality satisfaction is highly dependent on individual preference and the medium, e.g web, print, size, etc..

Take some photos as you would normally use the lens, and try different apertures, learn the strengths & weaknesses, as well as the trade offs. Then you can make decisions that better meet your needs..

Best regards,Doughttp://pbase.com/dougj.

Http://thescambaiter.comFighting scammers WW for fun & justice..

Comment #7

7777321 wrote:.

My original idea was to capture everything in detail and store forlater usage; I guess this doesnt fly..

I'd suggest you need to develop more of a skill in deciding what kind of image you are trying to achieve. Some subjects work best where everything is sharp. Others benefit from the isolation of the main subject from the background - and foreground, as well as the visual effect of bokeh..

By all means take two or more shots of your subject using different settings. This may appear time-consuming, but it is must faster and more effective than trying to replicate the effect through software..

Your idea of shooting everything in detail for later usage sounds a little like postponing the decision for a later time. But you still have to decide eventually, so it would be beneficial to bring some of that judgement and decision-making into the time of actual picture-taking.Regards,Peter..

Comment #8

As others have suggested, you're better off using a wide aperture to limit depth of field rather than trying to reproduce the effect in Photoshop as you'll get a much mroe pleasing result in PS. The reduced sharpness at wide apertures compared to stopping down a bit may not matter for the images you want to take. Give it a go and see what happens..

Bokeh is about the quality of the out of focus stuff. It's not the degree of being out of focus. For example, you can have the background and foreground way out of focus, but with choppy and terrible bokeh, and you can have the background and foreground less out of focus, but with very smooth and pleasing bokeh. Do you see the difference? Ideally, you have lovely smooth bokeh regardless of how much is out of focus, but not all lenses and situations are created equal..

In addition to using a wide aperture, subject distance is a big factor in depth of field. In other words, if your subject is closer, then background (for example) at a given distance will be more out of focus than it is when you focus on a subject closer to that background..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #9

While a nice expensive F2.8 zoom is great I have got acceptable simulation in Photoshop using blur (or Lens blur in CS2) using feathered edges and applying different levels of blur to selected objects at different distances..

When printed at 10x8 they have looked great and the bonus is you don't have to worry about getting someones nose in focus and not their eyes when doing a portrait using a F1.4 lens - thereby ruining the whole picture!.

Don't just select someones head with a hard edge and just blur the rest - that does look awful..

I'm not a pro so I enjoy a few hours every now and then on the PC doing this cheat and I have used the thousands of /$ saved on F2.8 lenses on trips round the world actually taking pictures!!..

Comment #10

Deputyd wrote:.

While a nice expensive F2.8 zoom is great I have got acceptablesimulation in Photoshop using blur (or Lens blur in CS2) usingfeathered edges and applying different levels of blur to selectedobjects at different distances..

....

Don't just select someones head with a hard edge and just blur therest - that does look awful..

From your description above, it sounds like you have a pretty good technique using photoshop. I know my own skills in this area are very basic..

Do you have a gallery or any sample images you'd like to share? Or even a before/after example..

Regards,Peter..

Comment #11

Deputyd wrote:.

While a nice expensive F2.8 zoom is great I have got acceptablesimulation in Photoshop using blur (or Lens blur in CS2) usingfeathered edges and applying different levels of blur to selectedobjects at different distances.When printed at 10x8 they have looked great and the bonus is youdon't have to worry about getting someones nose in focus and nottheir eyes when doing a portrait using a F1.4 lens - thereby ruiningthe whole picture!.

But if you take a portrait at f/1.4 that is what you *should* get - that is the whole point. This is basically about learning to use the tools correctly, and specifically choosing an aperture which gives you the desired/necessary depth of field.

Don't just select someones head with a hard edge and just blur therest - that does look awful..

I'm not a pro so I enjoy a few hours every now and then on the PCdoing this cheat.

No disrespect intended to you personally, deputyd, but people often make this claim and never actually manage to come up with the goods. Please show us an example which isn't trivial (you know, one flower with a blurred background, I'm sure you know the sort of thing), and which doesn't look like part of the picture is being viewed through frosted glass..

I spend a lot of time in Photoshop 'faking' things, because my work requires it. Some things can be done very, very convincingly, and some either can't, or aren't worth the time involved. Responding to your comment about f/2.8 lenses: I have a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8, which I bought instead of the kit lens for my 400D. Cost was 269, so lets say 225 more than the cheapest on the market. How many hours work is worth doing to save 225 *and* come up with less than ideal results?..

Comment #12

Hi, I've no intention of posting any pictures for 'comment' as I'll get a bucket load of posts telling me that 'a real 1.4mm lens Bokeh would look nothing like that etc etc.'..

As far as I'm concerned my friends have loved the pictures I've taken of their families, 'blurred' and printed..

I took an old snap shot of my Grandad, and made it look more like a potrait, framed it and gave it to my Nan. When she got all emotional and a small tear rolled down her face that was all the praise I needed...

Comment #13

Deputyd wrote:.

Hi, I've no intention of posting any pictures for 'comment' as I'llget a bucket load of posts telling me that 'a real 1.4mm lens Bokehwould look nothing like that etc etc.'..

I can well understand your view here. I previously suggested I'd like to see an example but fully agree with your decision..

As far as I'm concerned my friends have loved the pictures I've takenof their families, 'blurred' and printed..

I took an old snap shot of my Grandad, and made it look more like apotrait, framed it and gave it to my Nan. When she got all emotionaland a small tear rolled down her face that was all the praise Ineeded..

That's what counts. We can dwell sometimes on the purity of a technical apect when it is the impact and meaning of the image that counts.Regards,Peter..

Comment #14

I'm not looking to criticise or praise your photographs. I'm inviting you to demonstrate that you can actually do what you claim..

But Q.E.D...

Comment #15

Sherwoodpete wrote:.

That's what counts..

No it isn't Pete. The question was about whether it is possible to use Photoshop to simulate realistic background blur. Not about whether someone's grandmother was moved to tears by his pictures. Valid in it's own right of course, but not an answer to the question. Rather, it's a devious way to win popular support from someone who can't answer the question...

Comment #16

Damn you Steve - you saw straight through my cheap trick!!.

Anyway, moving on now as I need to do some work so I can afford some fast glass!..

Comment #17

Deputyd wrote:.

Damn you Steve - you saw straight through my cheap trick!!.

Anyway, moving on now as I need to do some work so I can afford somefast glass!.

LOL!.

Thank you for being more diplomatic than I was ..

Comment #18

I am just a software programmer and try to take some nice photos like pros do. Software programmers many times tend to solve issues without hardwares. Not knowing what to do with the pictures is one thing(luckily I am not doing this for living) ; and budget for lens definitely is another issue..

Raising this subject was to confirm whether the end result would be achievable, or worth trying...

Comment #19

7777321 wrote:.

I am just a software programmer and try to take some nice photos likepros do. Software programmers many times tend to solve issueswithout hardwares. Not knowing what to do with the pictures is onething(luckily I am not doing this for living) ; and budget for lensdefinitely is another issue..

Raising this subject was to confirm whether the end result would beachievable, or worth trying..

Good idea to ask here, but I'd say you'd do better getting people to tell and show you what's really possibly in the Retouching Forum. You could even provide a sample photo with deep DOF and ask them to have a go at making it look like you took it with shallow DOF. It's a great bunch of people there with plenty of talent who seem to enjoy a challenge..

If you want to know what's possible, I'd strongly recommend you go try the Retouching Forum..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #20

John down under wrote:.

If you want to know what's possible, I'd strongly recommend you gotry the Retouching Forum..

You will get two things in equal measure in the Retouching Forum. Bumbling amateurs who claim this can be done and post laughably incompetent efforts, which everyone is too polite to criticise. (Because, as you said, they are a very nice bunch.) And some very, very skilful and talented people who will confirm that, in fact, in general it can't be done...

Comment #21

I agree with you two (John and Steve)..

Bokeh is the "feeling" you get when you look at a picture with nicely blurred OOF areas. I prefer to say that an image "gives good bokeh" rather than "has good bokeh"....

I remember Uncle Frank posting a PS technique that used a gradient layer to vary the blur from bottom to top in a landscape. It looked quite realistic. This was years ago on NTF, before he bought a Nikon dSLR..

I never try to add foreground blur to a sharp image. I rarely try to add background blur to a sharp image. I often "enhance" the blur in an image with less blur than I want..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #22

7777321 wrote:.

I have a nikon 50mm f1.8 len. The resolution is rated best at f4-8,but I like the shallow DOF look at f1.8..

Would it be best to take all pictures at it's best resolution, andlater use Photoshopto add Bokeh-like effect? or use f1.8 to get a blur picture with trueBokeh?.

-jeff.

I'm new at this but isn't bokeh is as much a question of output (printed size and resolution) as anything else? I'm guessing it's better to do it with the camera and a good lens, but even a self-taught PS amateur like me working with a basic photograph (from a Panasonic FZ7) can get acceptable results as below.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Brian..

Comment #23

7777321 wrote:.

I have a nikon 50mm f1.8 len. The resolution is rated best at f4-8,but I like the shallow DOF look at f1.8..

Would it be best to take all pictures at it's best resolution, andlater use Photoshopto add Bokeh-like effect? or use f1.8 to get a blur picture with trueBokeh?.

-jeff.

I'm new to this but even a self-taught amateur like me can turn out decent results for a smaller prinrt in PS..

Try this: using the Quick Selection tool on the key component(s) and copy to a new layer and enlarging it maybe 1% and dropping fill and opacity to 95%. Then on the primary layer, Filter>Blur>Lens Blur and use something like a 10-20 radius in the Octogon setting, then flatten layers. That takes all of a couple of minutes..

The thing that seems to hang folks up is the peripheral stuff... if there's a shadow or other remarkable stuff at the same depth make sure you select it without bridging background/foreground objects in other depths... and if you want to add a graduated effect to really smooth the transitions, all that takes more time and patience, but it still isn't like painting the Sistine Chapel or anything ..

Maybe it ain't great, but it's ok up to an 8x10 print, plus it has the virtue of letting you get closer to the idealized image from earlier work before you had the technique or equipment.Brian..

Comment #24

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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