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Alien Skin's Bokeh

Having fun with the latest plug-in from Alien Skin By John Virata

For more than 15 years,Alien Skin Software has been providing third party filters that enable you to easily add special effects to your images in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I first heard of the company back in the mid 1990s, when the company founder, Queen bee Jeff Butterworth (complete with blue hair, painted fingernails, and a T-shirt), stopped by the offices of the magazine I was working at to show us the company's plug-ins for Photoshop.

Alien Skin's Bokeh is designed to manipulate focus in your photographs. This is achieved via a wide variety of presets that are designed to simulate various lenses on the market. Bokeh is comprised of three tabs; settings, Bokeh, and Vignette. Under the Settings tab you'll find a variety of folders and presets, ranging from Blur 20% Bokeh only, Blur 20% Realistic Natural Vignette, to Blur 50% Bokeh with highlight boost and Blur 50% Strong natural Vignette, and everything in between, before and after.

Settings


Heart of hearts

Bokeh default

Lens of Love Blur 50 percent

Lens of Love blur 20 percent

Blur 50 percent Strong vignette

 

Under the Bokeh tab, you will find controls for making changes. This includes changing the focus region that appears on the image (none, radial, planar), Bokeh amount, which is a sliding scale (or you can input the numeric value) up to 100 percent; Aperture controls, which offer Diaphragm shape and a Creamy slider, which further manipulates the amount of blur; and Rotation which enables you to move the Bokeh effect on the image without moving the image.

Blur 20 percent strong natural vignette

Blur 50 percent with highlight boost

Vignetting controls

And finally there is the Highlight controls, which include selection threshold and Boost Amount controls. These essentially highlight the lighter portions of the image. The final tab is Vignette, which enables you to applying vignetting to your images in varying degrees of intensity, size, and feathering. You can select a vignette shape, as well as an vignette color.

Bokeh offers a variety of choices in which you can choose and manipulate focus in your images. Bokeh gives you wide control of both the focus as well as vignetting and lens simulation. This enables you to give more attention to the main subject in a photograph while blurring out what can be distractions. You have more control of your blurs than the standard blurs in Photoshop. The plug-in works seamlessly in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, and if you need specific focus and blur capabilities, Bokeh offers a lot for the $199 list price. For more information, visit www.adobe.com


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
Related Keywords:photoshop plugins, bokeh, digital imaging, digital photography,

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