I'm trying to get an image to look similar to this photo:

Image from Zendesk.com

I'd guess they took a picture of the monitor with a regular camera. But I'm more interested to know what effects / filters they used to get the blur and texture. Any suggestions would be appreciated

7 Answers 7


Easiest way to blur stuff in photoshop is Blur Tool (R)

Just take Blur Tool and select Soft Round Brush (The brush that is round and has 0 hardness) Then use various size(s), ones that are fitting to the area(s) that you want to blur of course. enter image description here

Then blur away. (You might want to make a copy of the image layer (Ctrl+J) before blurring. )

Original image (I used Perspective tool in it Top menu: Edit > Transform > Pespective )

Blurred image. Blurred image.


This looks like they applied the tilt shift effect to a photo of a monitor (or maybe they skewed a screenshot)

  • 3
    Given the realistic hue shift and the way that the blur radius increases from the focus point (most noticeable along the top edge of the menu strip), I think they probably just took an actual closeup photo of a monitor. AFAIK, Photoshop is still incapable of dynamic blur radii like that. That's a nice tutorial for reproducing a close approximation though. Dec 21, 2011 at 8:29
  • 4
    That is incorrect. Photoshop's lens blur can take an alpha channel as 'depth map', thereby modulating the blur radius across the image. See one of the many tilt-shift tutorials, such as this one: tuaw.com/2008/10/07/… Dec 21, 2011 at 17:07
  • 1
    @Kris Van Bael: Ah, I had no idea it could do that. Thanks for enlightening me. =] Dec 22, 2011 at 3:00

Photoshop CAN do a blur with a variable radius. This feature is available in the Lens Blur filter.

You first create an alpha channel with a gradient, describing across your image how unsharp you want it to be. (This is referred to as the depth map). Then you blur the RGB layer, using the lens blur filter, selecting the alpha channel as depth map.

For the example above, you'll be needing a reflected linear gradient as depth map.

See also this tutorial: http://www.tuaw.com/2008/10/07/how-to-use-photoshops-lens-blur-tool-for-tilt-shift-fakery-par/

  1. take a screenshot of your screen
  2. convert layer to smart object
  3. use transform to mimic perspective
  4. duplicate smart object
  5. apply gaussian blur to top object
  6. apply a layer mast to the top object
  7. Select the gradient tool with a radial gradient using foreground to transparent with black as your foreground color and you're all set.

1) Transform your image by changing the perspective of it to something you see fit.
2) Rotate it until it appears you are looking at it from the top
3) Make a new layer
4) On this layer either a) create a white to transparent reflecting gradient, or b) create angled white to transparent linear gradients on both the left and right sides of the image.
5) Ctrl-click the layer to select the gradient
6) Hide gradient layer
7) Select layer with picture on it
8) Apply a Gaussian blur filter as you see fit (2, 3, etc)
9) Voila

Here's an example, can't post a picture, new user


enter image description here

  1. I used vanishing point to get the angle.
  2. Copied the layer.
  3. Applied lens blur to match the blur part to the most blurry part in your image.
  4. Applied mask, and oval gradient at right to mask blur, and also applied tilted reflected gradient.
  5. Then, applied black gradient left to right and somewhat titled and set mode to Desaturate lowered opacity.
  6. Then, copied the layer and set the mode to multiply and adjusted the opacity of it as well. Crop out the empty parts.

Another way to solve this problem, and if you have Photoshop CS 6 Extended is to use the 3D features. I've provided ways to do this in the following a discussions:

Single layer with perspective and camera blur: Perspective manipulation

Multiple layers with stacking depth, perspective and camera blur: "Fake" 3d effect in Photoshop/Illustrator with raster images

This process is non-destructive and you will retain all of the resolution of the original image(s). However, it's harder to adjust the camera's Depth of Field falloff points in 3D than it is to use the Blur Gallery > Tilt Shift filter.

Cheers and good luck!

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