Photoshop bokeh effect

by Design Workshop Sydney

Creating the blurred, out-of-focus Bokeh effect in Photoshop is easy – we show you how in our Adobe Photoshop training courses.photoshop-bokeh-effect
This simple effect is often seen in the photograph around a light source and allows us to focus on the main part of the image. Bokeh is a Japanese word for the blur or the aesthetic effect of a blur in a photograph or video.
To create this in Photoshop we first select Brush tool and change the size to 60px, for example. Next open the Brushes panel or hit F5 on your keyboard. In the section marked Brush Tip Shape see the 60px basic brush. Change the Hardness to 75% and the Spacing to 250%.
Then go the the Shape Dynamics section, and change Size Jitter (that is the degree of variation) to 50%. In Scattering  tick Both Axes and Scatter Randomness to 1000 %; then the Count to 2. In the Texture section drop-down list choose More Options and change Texture Fill to 2. Click the Append button and choose the pattern Weave 3 (on the bottom left). Tick Invert and change the Scale to 100. Make the Mode: Subtract and the Depth Jitter 20. In Transfer change the Opacity Jitter to 100 (this varies the density of each instance) and the Flow Jitter to 50. In the Colour Dynamics section change the Hue Jitter to 50.
Now change the Foreground colour at the bottom of the toolbox to Cyan, for example – anything except black or white, which don’t work well.
Now we are ready to apply the Bokeh effect to an image, so open an image. Then create a new layer and paint on some spots. On a new layer change the brush size to 30, 120, 240, etc. The shortcut for this is [ and ]. And change the colour – primary colours work well. Also change the layer Blending modes (eg. Overlay or Pin Light) and the opacity of each layer – red works well.
To save this brush go to the Brush Panel options and choose New Brush Preset. Then name it bokeh effect. This saves the brush on your computer but not the colour. Alternatively on Control panel open the drop-down on the far left, choose New Tool Preset and tick Include Colour. This saves all the brush settings including colour.
Many more tips and techniques can be found at the Adobe website. And see many examples of our clients’ work on our Facebook page.
Other related Photoshop Blog Posts: