05 Adjusting the focus plane
Lastly, for a little more technical realism I’ve angled the plane of the Focus Bug to line up with the plane of the shopping mall floor – I’ve added the red arrows to try to make this perspective effect clearer.
This isn’t strictly necessary, but it does mean that the defocus effect more closely matches the look you’d get from real-life depth of field, and the foreground and background will now go out of focus at a different rate. You add the perspective effect by alt-dragging up or down within the Focus Bug. A small movement makes a big difference, so take care you don’t go too far.
06 Painting Blur
My photo is nearly right, but I think there are a couple of areas that are sharp when they should be blurred and vice versa. This is easy to fix because you don’t have to rely solely on your Focus Bug for the defocus effect. You can also paint in blur manually using the tools in the FocusBrush panel.
You need to pay attention to the small button in the top left corner of the panel. This changes mode each time you click it, so if it doesn’t say ‘Paint Blur’ already, you need to click it until it does.
I’m going to use this to paint over the figures on the upper level of the shopping mall on the far left of the picture. They’re closer to the camera and higher up than the figures down below, and I don’t think they ought to be sharp.
07 Paint Focus
But there are other areas in the photograph that should be sharp and aren’t, so back in the FocusBug panel I need to click the button again to change the brush mode to Paint In. I’m sharpening up a few little areas on the ground floor – a couple of figures in the near foreground are a little too blurred to be recognisable, for example – and I think the farthest red parasol on the upper floor needs to be in focus to add a bit of visual interest. I’m not using much optical science here, just finishing off with a few purely cosmetic tweaks.
08 The final picture
This has worked pretty well, I think. The tricky thing about tilt shift effects is finding exactly the right kind of subject, and often you don’t know whether the subject is going to ‘click’ until you actually try it out.
But if you do manage to find the right subject, OneOne Focal Point 2 has all the tools you need to really make it work. It produces just the right kind of blur (the Gaussian Blur produced by image-editors doesn’t look as convincing) and its clever perspective control and manual focus brushes let you add vital finishing touches that can make the difference between failure and success.