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photokaboom

Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Spot Focus

Spot focus is where a portion of the photograph is sharp and the rest is out-of-focus.

Here's the original photograph and the spot-focus version.

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Original

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Spot Focus

Be sure to check off as you go along.

Preparation

1) Preserve your original file.

If you haven't already done so, go to Preserve Your Original File.

2) Create a Background copy layer.

If you haven't already done so, go to Create a Background Copy Layer.

Spot Focus on an Object

3) Make sure the Background copy layer is active (highlighted).

Background copy

Background

4) Press Ctrl + j to make a copy of the Background copy layer.

Background copy 2

Background copy

Background

5) Rename the Background copy 2 layer as Blurred.

Blurred

Background copy

Background

6) ) Make sure the Blurred layer is active (highlighted).

7) Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

Select a radius setting.

10 px was used here.

8) Select the object that you want to keep in focus.

The glove was selected here.

9) Flip the selection by going to Select > Inverse.

Everything is selected, now, except for the glove.

If you haven't already done so, go to Flip the Selection.

10) Make sure the Blurred layer is active (highlighted).

11) Create a layer mask.

The selection makes a mask automatically.

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Here's the mask.

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Where the Mask Is Black

Where the mask is black, the glove, the Blurred layer is blocked.

The sharp glove that you see is on the Background copy layer.

Where the Mask Is White

Where the mask is white, the Blurred layer is revealed.

Alternative: Brush the Focus On or Off

You can use the Brush tool to paint the focus on or off.

Do the following.

1) Go through step seven above, in which the Blurred layer is blurred.

2) Create a layer mask.

By default, the mask is white.

Fork in the Road

Do you want to brush to:

Remove the blur from an out-of-focus photograph?

Add blur to an in-focus photograph?

Brush to Remove the Blur

From an Out-of-focus Photograph

3) Make sure the Blurred layer is active (highlighted).

4) Make sure the foreground color is black.

If you haven't already, go to Foreground & Background Colors.

5) Select the Brush tool.

Use a feathered brush.

If you haven't already done so, go to Feathered Brush.

6) Brush where you want the photograph to be in focus.

As you brush with black, the black paint is going on the mask.

The black paint is blocking the Blurred layer.

Brush to Add Blur

To an In-focus Photograph

3) Make sure the Blurred layer is active (highlighted).

4) Press Ctrl + i to change the mask from white to black.

The Blurred layer is now blocked by the black mask.

5) Make sure the foreground color is white.

If you haven't already, go to Foreground & Background Colors.

6) Select the Brush tool.

Use a feathered brush.

If you haven't already done so, go to Feathered Brush.

7) Brush where you want the photograph to be blurred.

As you brush with white, the white paint is going on the mask.

The white paint is revealing the Blurred layer.

More

Now that you can do spot focus, you can do spot color.

Saving the Photograph

If you haven't already done so, go to Saving Files.