Hello and welcome! In this video round up we’ll some techniques on creating the bokeh effect both with camera and in Photoshop before CS6 (since now Photoshop CS6 makes creating this effect a breeze). Hope you’ll enjoy the videos and have fun experimenting with this awesome effect! (**new content updates: 13/9/13**)
Let’s first take a moment to define the term. Wikipedia has a lot on the term, but lets shrink it down to the most basics:
“The term comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji (ボケ味), the “blur quality”. The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility
In photography, bokeh is the blur or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”.
However, differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting—”good” and “bad” bokeh, respectively. Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field. Photographers sometimes deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions.
Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas. Bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image.
Though difficult to quantify, some lenses have subjectively more-pleasing out-of-focus areas. “Good” bokeh is especially important for macro lenses and long telephoto lenses, because they’re typically used in situations that produce shallow depth of field. Good bokeh is also important for medium telephoto lenses (typically 85–150 mm on 35 mm format). When used in portrait photography (for their “natural” perspective), the photographer usually wants a shallow depth of field, so that the subject stands out sharply against a blurred background.
Bokeh characteristics may be quantified by examining the image’s circle of confusion. In out-of-focus areas, each point of light becomes an image of the aperture, generally a more or less round disc. Depending how a lens is corrected for spherical aberration, the disc may be uniformly illuminated, brighter near the edge, or brighter near the center. Lenses that are poorly corrected for spherical aberration will show one kind of disc for out-of-focus points in front of the plane of focus, and a different kind for points behind. This may actually be desirable, as blur circles that are dimmer near the edges produce less-defined shapes which blend smoothly with the surrounding image. Lens manufacturers including Nikon, Minolta, and Sony make lenses designed with specific controls to change the rendering of the out-of-focus areas.”
Now let’s dive in and enjoy the videos and also see what we can do to achieve this effect ourselves!