This photoshop tutorial demonstrates a quick and easy way to make a subject pop out of an otherwise boring photograph. It is roughly based on the look of a Lensbaby camera attachment, which is essentially a second lens on an adjustable accordian type housing. This produces an effect of one small, focused ovoid section surrounded by heavy lens distortion and aberration.
The first step is choosing the right photo. This method works well on product photographs, portraits, and some landscapes. Choose an image which has one main element to which you would like to add some drama.
Always begin any image editing with Layer>Duplicate Layer so you can start over if you choose.
Step 1. With the duplicate layer selected, press “q” to enter the Quick Mask mode. You will not notice any changes yet, but that is ok. Now press “g” to select the Gradient Tool, and make sure to choose the Radial gradient setting.
Step 2. Decide which area you want to define as the subject, click and drag from the center of this object and outward in any direction. It may take a few undos to get it exactly how you want, but the space covered roughly by the red gradient circle will be the area in focus on your final image.
Step 3. Press “q” to exit Quick Mask mode. There should be a selection circle around the subject of the photo. This is the part of the image that will remain in focus.
Step 4. Choose Filter>Blur>Lens Blur. Adjust the Radius slider until the area outside the focal point is slightly blurred. Use restraint, you don’t want to over do it.
Now your image has the look of a photo taken with a low aperture setting. The next few steps will add a simulated lens distortion look.
Step 5. Choose Filter>Blur>Radial blur. Adjust the Amount slider to somewhere in the range of 7 to 11, and select Zoom for the blur method. Do not click OK yet. Adjust the blur center grid so that the smallest central intersection dot is roughly in the same area of the panel as the focal point of your image. Now click OK.
Step 6. Select the entire image pressing ctrl-A.
Step 7. Add Filter>Distort>Lens correction. Pull the Chromatic Aberration sliders to the left. Play around with them until you find a look you like, just keep the sliders left of center.
Bingo there you have it. A Lensbaby look on a digital image.
From here you may want to Sharpen or maybe Add Noise to make it look more film authentic.
For more examples of Lensbaby photography, visit this Flickr group.
Thank you. Please leave comments/critiques.