happy pharrell williams

I was wondering, is there any way to get bokeh that looks something like this (vertically distorted bokeh) in the still from Pharrell Williams's Happy video?

Or is there a Photoshop filter that does the same?

  • May be possible with Lytro and corresponding software. Aug 4, 2016 at 17:54
  • 2
    Don't think you can do this with Photoshop on an existing photograph, but you can in cgi. Maybe (not sure) you could use an oval DOF PRO aperture map, but don't know much about that app.
    – inkista
    Aug 4, 2016 at 19:04

3 Answers 3


I was always wondering if theres anyway to get bokeh that looks something like this (vertically distorted bokeh).

This vertically-oval bokeh is the result of an anamorphic lens, which "squeezes" an image horizontally to fit a laterally-wide field of view into a relatively narrower film or sensor format. The image must be "unsqueezed" in post-processing or projection to restore the scene's geometry to normal.

Bokeh takes on the appearance of the entrance pupil, which is vertically oblong, before the image is "squeezed". Therefore, after the "unsqueezing", the bokeh is still vertically oval-shaped.

Or is there a Photoshop filter that does the same?

It's possible such a thing exists, but (a) not in the default Photoshop install, and (b) it will be very hard to produce a convincing bokeh filter effect because it requires information about the light field that is not present in the 2D scene stored in the image file.

For more on anamorphic bokeh, see:

  • Great information
    – Sayed
    Aug 4, 2016 at 19:03

The oval bokeh is caused by using an anamorphic lens.

  • While relevant, this does not appear to answer the question.
    – Mast
    Aug 5, 2016 at 8:04
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    @Mast: I was under the impression that it does answer the first question "is there any way to get bokeh that looks something like this […] ?" There's a second question about the existence of a Photoshop filter, which I unfortunately was not able to answer.
    – null
    Aug 5, 2016 at 8:15
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    Fair enough. That's what OP gets for asking multiple questions in one question :-)
    – Mast
    Aug 5, 2016 at 8:21

This effect is due to the image (likely a motion picture frame being shot with an Anamorphic Lens, which "stretches" the widescreen image to fit a normal 35mm frame. When the film is projected, a similar lens stretches the image back to its original proportion. The stretching effect is very noticeable in out of focus areas, which is what you're seeing here.

I do not know of an out-of-the-box photoshop filter which re-creates this, but you may be able to stretch an image horizontally, apply a blur, and then shrink it back to its original size to get a similar effect.

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