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I've made a nice picture with my smartphone, but I would like to have a more focused picture (sharp focus and blurred background). How can I do this in Photoshop to obtain the best result?

Things I consider:

  • I did already cut the object I want focused and made a new layer of it (layer via copy), then blurred the background image (i.e. the original image behind the cut). But then the object will also be blurred in the background, resulting in a kind of glow around my new layer. How can I avoid this effect? Should I edit the background and "remove" the object, or is there an easier way?

  • the blurriness is actually a function of the distance to the lense, when it's obtained physically. Can I imitate this effect in an easy way? Or should I cut a layer for every distance to the camera then?

  • is there a measure for how much blur I should add as a function of distance?

  • is it best to use simple gaussian blur?

Thanks in advance!

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  • You can try layer via cut instead of copy
  • If you have an image which has a large distance range in it (e.g. close distance shots instead of panoramas) you can imitate the distance function by first duplicating the background and blurring it. After blurring the duplicate, you should add layer mask and change the layer mask to a gradient in the direction of the perspective (for the sample image it should be from top to bottom). Lastly you should decrease the opacity of the blurred duplicate and you are done.

This is the example for close distance shot

This is the example for close distance shot and you can imitate blur easily.

This is the example of low distance range shot This is the example for low distance range shot. Imitating blur would be difficult with the masking method here because blurring would not be linear.


  • In addition to all of this, you can try lens blur feature of the photoshop.
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First make a duplicate layer and place it above the original layer. Then select the portion you want to blur [On the duplicate layer]. Right click the selected portion and give a 'feather' value of between 15 - 25. Go to Filters > blur > lens blur. Play with the values until satisfied.

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