How is this effect achieved?

Possible ideas:

  • This is just "painted" in photoshop
  • A custom shaped aperture is used

Original image by Frederic Gombert enter image description here

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The image looks photoshopped. Observe the rose stem & leaves are not masked. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafal
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 11:47
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I can see it now... smokeh. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 14, 2018 at 14:37
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ You could try asking the photographer directly. It might be a trade secret that he can't share, but on the other hand he might be happy to talk about his craft (or even write an answer here). (NB I'm guessing "he" based on the name, but I don't know that much about French naming so that might be wrong.) \$\endgroup\$
    – 1006a
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Frederic is indeed a male name. \$\endgroup\$
    – Paolo
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 21:25

1 Answer 1


The non uniformity of the bokeh leads me to believe that the background has been Photoshopped. Exactly how it was done is anyone's guess - but the sharp lines through the bokeh may indicate a liquify or similar brush that "grabs" the colors and drags them. I do think a bit of manual brush work was done, in addition to some filters.

However, do be aware that some lenses, like lomography's Petzval lens, come with interchangeable plates that change the shape of the bokeh (ovals, star, etc). It's also possible to mess with the bokeh shape by cutting a hole in a piece of paper and placing it directly up against the front element of your lens.

Edit to add:

I stand corrected. @void_ptr has pointed out that the Fractalius plug-in does exactly this effect.

Given this new info - the creator most likely applied the plug-in to a duplicate layer of the image and then masked the original flower back into the now Fractalius-ed background.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The image looks very much like what Fractalius plugin does. \$\endgroup\$
    – void_ptr
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 16:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @void_ptr - nice find! I was unaware of that plugin, but will have to check it out to see how it get's the brush strokes in the bokeh. I've updated my answer with your info. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 16:33
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Also see photo.stackexchange.com/questions/34504/… \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 17:01

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