3/50 -Applying Non-destructive Field, Tilt & Iris Blur Filters in Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop

Similar to the Liquify filter, the Field, Tilt and Iris Blur Filters can now be applied as Smart Filters in Photoshop CC. The benefit of applying the Blurs as a Smart Filters is that as a result, the manipulations are nondestructive. Not only can you re-edit the filters at any time, but you have access to the Smart Filter mask to selectively show and hide the filter, the Smart Filter Blend Modes and Opacity options and, since you can create a smart object from multiple layers, you can now apply the Field, Tilt and Iris Blur filters to all of those layers at once. In addition, the ability to apply the Blurs as Smart Filters means that we can apply these filters to video clips in Photoshop!
Because the video was recorded before the 2014 Release of Photoshop, the video shows them appearing under Filter > Blur however they were relocated in the 2014 release to Filter > Blur Gallery. And, when in Blur Gallery, the Spin Blur and Path Blur aren’t visible in this video because they hadn’t been created when I recordedthe video!

Tip: because blurring a layer removed a certain amount of noise from the image, you might want to export the mask created in the Lens Blur filter. This will save the mask to a channel. Then, you can convert the layer a Smart Object, load the channel as a selection and add noise back into the smooth, blurred areas using the Noise filter or, add noise using Camera Raw as a Smart Filter. Note: you will need to invert the mask to apply the noise to the area that was blurred.
The video below demonstrates how to selectively blur an image using the Field, Tilt and Iris Blur Filters:

And here are a number of shortcuts and tips for working with the Field, Tilt and Iris Blur Filters:
Will all blurs, you can:
• Hold the “H” key to temporarily hide the Blur interface (pins etc.).
• Tap the “P” key to toggle the preview on and off.
• Hold the “M” key to display the mask.
• Add as many blurs (even mix and match between Tilt Shift, Iris and Field) as needed to a layer, knowing that the multiple pins will create a single unified, intersecting mask).
• Use the option Save Mask to Channel to create an alpha channel.
• Vary the Selection Bleed to expand the blur into the selection. Note, you have to have created a selection before selecting the blur filters or this option will be unavailable.

Specific to the Tilt Shift blur:
• The area between the solid white lines has no blur applied. The distance between the solid and dashed while lines is the “transitional” area where the amount of blur is slowly added over the length of the transition. Beyond the dashed line, the specified blur amount is fully applied.
• Click-drag the solid white dots to rotate the angle of the blur, OR click-drag anywhere outside of the solid white lines to rotate the angle of the blur. Note: if you click, release the mouse and then drag you will add another blur – you must click and drag in one motion, without releasing the mouse between the click and the drag. Add the Shift key to constrain to 15 degree increments.
• Add distortion to the foreground of an image (or rotate the blur to favor the opposite direction). Or, choose Distort Symmetrically to apply distortion to both sides of the blur.
• Use the Focus slider (in the Options bar) to blur the center part of the Tilt Shift blur (if you want the whole layer to start slightly out of focus).
• The Blur Effects panel offers a various settings to customize a Bokah effect.

Specific to the Iris Blur:
• From the center pin to the “free-floating” solid white dots, no blur is applied. Between the solid dots and the solid white circle is the “transitional” area where the blur is applied over the length of the transition. Beyond the solid white circle, the blur is fully applied.
• Option + (Mac) | Alt +(Win) -drag the free-floating dots to move independently (thus making the transitional area asymmetrical).
• Drag the large square on the solid circle outwards to create a rectangular shape Iris blur.
• Drag the small white dots on the outer circle to rotate and/or to distort the circle to an oval.
• Use the Focus slider (in the Options bar) to blur the center part of the Iris Blur (if you want the whole layer to start slightly out of focus).

Adobe Photoshop

Posted on 07-16-2014


  • By Sandro - 5:31 AM on July 21, 2014  

    Hi Julieanne,
    i’ve just tried the tilt shift blur filter on a video layer generated by a timelapse sequence of about 1400 jpegs. Steps were :
    1- convert the video layer as SmOb
    2- applied as smart filters a smart sharpen and the tilt shift blur.
    Now,the preview is ok, but when i export render the video (as MP4) the filters are not applied.
    Am I doing something wrong?
    Thank you!

    • By Jeffrey Tranberry - 1:53 PM on July 28, 2014  

      Did you convert the video layers to Smart Objects? If not, the effect will only be applied to a single frame of the video.