Simulated tilt-shift using Photoshop Elements

Tilt-shift is a very popular technique to capture photos of great scenes and create an impression of them being miniature or to have a single place of the scene in focus while the other parts of the same photo is totally out of focus. In this tutorial I will show you how to achieve the first goal, making a photo of something big appear very small. I will use Photoshop Elements 8 but this will also work in older version as well as in CS.

Update: There is an updated guide for Photoshop CC too!

This is the effect what we will create:
Final result

And this is the original photo:

Step 1

Open the photo in Photoshop Elements
Open the file

Step 2

Duplicate the ‘Background’-layer by pressing ctrl + j (or cmd + j on mac). Apply blur on this newly created layer by selecting it in ‘Layers’ and then go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur. A value of about 8 should do.
Add blur

Step 3

Duplicate the ‘Background’-layer onve more by selecting it in ‘Layers’ and by pressing ctrl + j. In this newly created layer, make a selection using the Lasso-tool (the Lasso-tool can be selected by pressing ‘L’) of the area which you want to be in focus.
Make selection

Step 4

Choose Select -> ‘Feather’ and your selection. A value of about 150 will do.

Step 5

Create a new layer using your selection by pressing ctrl + j again. Move the newly created layer to the top of the layers and the effect is achieved!

Step 6 (optional)

To further create the impression of a miniature photo you can flatten the layers and then create a new adjustment-layer where you increase the saturation to make it more synthetic looking.

Now you know how to simulate the tilt-shift!

Published by

Martin Karlsson

I am a hobby photographer always trying to improve my technique!

26 thoughts on “Simulated tilt-shift using Photoshop Elements”

  1. When I blur the Copied Layer, the “Background” or original image, gets blurred too! Is anyone else having this problem? I am so confused!

  2. This is an excellent and simple tutorial on how to create this type of effect. I tried it and the result was just perfect!

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