Selective Focus - Daylily

Since it's been almost 18 months since my last major "gear purchase", I've been itching for something "shiny and new". I'm enamored by the cool selective focus abilities of the Lensbaby, but not sure about the price - the Lensbaby composer runs about $250, and I know I would want the Wide Angle converter ($80) and Fisheye optic ($150). That's almost $500 for a lot of plastic.... I could buy the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye lens for a little more money, or be saving for the 105mm f2.8 Micro lens I've been coveting.

So I started researching ways to replicate the "Lensbaby Selective Focus effect" using Photoshop Elements. I tried a couple of things and ended up with some pleasing results.

The original picture:
Daylily In October

Steps taken:

  1. Duplicated the original image in a new layer (ctrl-j)
  2. On the duplicate layer, distorted the image by selecting Filter --> Distort --> Polar Coordinates --> Polar to Rectangular
  3. Still on the duplicate layer, applied a Motion Blur by selecting Filter --> Blur --> Motion Blur --> Angle of -90, distance of 125 pixels (this can be modified to fit your picture)
  4. Again, on the duplicate layer, distort again by selecting Filter --> Distort --> Polar Coordinates --> Rectangular to Polar
  5. You should have a blurry, distorted top layer.
  6. Apply a Layer mask on that distorted layer. Since this functionality is not available with PSE, I use the Layer mask action for PSE from the CoffeeShop.
  7. Using a soft brush, with the foreground color set to Black and my brush opacity set to 40%, I erased away the blurry portions on the layer mask, revealing the in focus layer below.

The final result:
Selective Focus - Daylily

Another example - Lee's picture of her daughter's knee high Converse sneakers:
Just a Little in Focus

I'm sure this is one of many ways to achieve the selective focus effect. I've seen examples using a Gaussian Blur, too.

So, for now, I'll hold on to my money and keep playing with filters. Or maybe I'll just buy that Nikon Fisheye lens and keep playing with filters!

I've linked up today's post to the Love That Shot Link-Up . If you have a shot you want to share, make sure you go and check out Love That Shot.

Nicki  – (October 22, 2010 at 8:06 PM)  

I love the fisheye effect, but oddly enough, not the lensbaby. Your filter and other adjustments are actually more interesting than a lensbaby (in my humble opinion). By-the-way, love your leaf to the light a few posts ago. Very nice.

Sandra  – (October 25, 2010 at 10:13 PM)  

Great research. Love the effect on the flower. I tried the fisheye lens from Nikon and I love it. It's so clear.

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