Faking It With Style – Enhancing Your Images With TiltShiftMaker
<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/mini-eyeball.-by-clarkmaxwell.jpg” />The idea behind tilt-shift is to make your photographs of real life-sized objects look like photographs of models.
No, not supermodels. That’s a whole different subject. TitlShiftmaker makes this easy, and the results are great.
You can buy lenses for big cameras that do this stuff properly, but most of us will never find the money, justify the expense, or learn to operate the equipment. Get your tilt-shift fix here instead.
Where does this fit?
We’ve covered many image enhancement options before, from the simple to the ludicrously complex. This is a simple site with a simple aim, and it doesn’t claim to replace either real tilt-shift lenses or the customisable effects from packages like Photoshop. But enhancing images with it is easy, quick, fun, and the results look very cool.
So if you want to have some fun with your existing images and see what you can do, here it is.
Getting your images into TiltShiftMaker
The front page of the site provides everything you need. You can upload images from your local computer, or from the web. Local files work just the way you might expect.
Browse to the image you want to play with, and hit the upload button.
Take note of the maximums. No more than 6000 pixels on the long side, and no more than 8MB in size. And if you happen to be working with RAW files, remember to convert to JPG first.
Web uploads are just as easy. Browse to an image, click the button. Now let’s do something with it.
We need an example, so let’s start with a default conversion from this:
TiltShiftMaker presents you with a set of options. By default, it’s going to come out like this, but let’s work through the settings:
A real tilt-shift lens is moved out of line with the normal path of the light through the camera, and as a result tends to end up with a very small depth of field (the part of the photo that is in focus). Adjusting the focus on the lens moves that band back and forth, and lets you choose the small part of the image that is sharply in focus.
On the website, moving the slider up and down has the same effect, and allows us to get the child in focus, while blurring the rest of the image. You can adjust the effect further with the Focus size slider, making the band as narrow as makes sense to you.
Hit the Preview button to get an idea of what you might be doing.
The last option in this section, Enhance colors, is an example of something that improves on the real world capability. You’d struggle to do this with an actual lens. Go for it. I won’t tell.
Now that you’re experienced”¦
There are some advanced settings you can use to make your image pop.
The first setting, Defocus strength, determines how much the blurry part of the image is blurred. For some images, it doesn’t take much.
Defocus gradient sets the rate with which you slide from in to out of focus.
The last option, Enhance bokeh, might just require some explanation. Bokeh is a Japanese term relating to the way in which the out of focus background is blurred. This all gets deep really fast, but the short version is that the shapes that the background is made up of depends on the construction of the adjustable aperture on the lens. See what I mean?
In any case, the slider performs some magic in the background to make the bokeh look better. Your mileage will decidedly depend.
And from here?
Once you have the image you want, you can click on the Get full size button to save a copy locally, and then you can upload it to your favourite web location.
There are some places you might like to take a look at, to see what people have been doing. People who are a whole lot better at this than me. Firstly, check the gallery at the site. Then move on over to flickr, and finally take a look in the group at Photobucket.
We’ve covered a number of other photo-enhancement options in the past. You might also like to take a look at these.
That’s it. I’d love to know how you go, any other techniques you find useful, and perhaps some links to your results. Let me know in the comments.
Image credit: clarkmaxwell