Photography Tutorial

Create A Tilt Shift Effect In Pixlr Pro

Ahh, tilt-shift camera lenses. These lenses are coveted by many photographers, because they’re great for depth of field and perspective manipulation. Did you know that you can achieve this effect on your photography without having to own one? And best of all, you don’t need to download a program to replicate the tilt-shift.

Using Pixlr Pro, let’s see how we can recreate this effect in a few simple steps. This effect creates an illusion where the subjects in the photos look like miniatures.

For best results, photos taken from a distance and at a high angle are usually recommended. We’ll be using image 72980100.

STEP 1 : Go to (File > Open) to select an image from your computer, or simply drag and drop your image into Pixlr Pro.

STEP 2 : Duplicate the layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer) or CTRL+J, and rename this new layer as “Layer 1” in the Layers panel.

STEP 3: Apply a blur effect on Layer 1 (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur).
We set it at 5px, but you can adjust this to your preferred result, then click OK.

STEP 4: After applying Gaussian blur, click on the ‘Layer Mask’ icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

The Layer Mask is a useful tool that allows us to show or hide sections of the layer below an active layer by painting over it with black or white respectively.

Set black as your foreground color, and select the Gradient Tool (G). Choose ‘Reflected’ from the top menu bar.

STEP 5 : Identify the area that will be in focus, then click and drag to create a vertical line as shown below. Pressing the Shift key while doing so will keep the gradient line straight.

As a result, the original image at the bottom (Layer 0) shows through.

Tilt-shift images are usually bright and vivid, to further show the illusion of miniatures.

STEP 6: Click on the ‘New Adjustment Layer’ icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and select ‘Hue/Saturation’ from the menu. We set our image saturation value at 40. 

STEP 7: Let’s introduce some contrast to the image. The settings for this part is highly preferential, so feel free to experiment until you achieve an outcome you like best. Create another new adjustment layer, but this time, select ‘Curves’.

We added the curve adjustments twice for this tutorial. Here are our settings:

Curve 1

Curve 2

STEP 8: For the final touch, we’ll sharpen up Layer 0. Go to (Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask) and enter the values shown below. Click OK.

And we are done, here is the final result.

And that’s how you can achieve the tilt shift effect with Pixlr Pro! For more interesting reads, discover our tutorials.

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