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Image Editing Tutorial - Focal Plane Effects

Next we need to apply a similar lens blur to the background, but this is a bit more complicated, since the towers cover part of the background and we don't want them to be blurred too. The answer is to use the quick mask and gradient again, but to modify it using other paint tools.

We'll start off as before, by going into Quick Mask mode and applying a gradient fill, this time dragging down from the top to a point level with the back of our building, so that the blur effect will cover the entire background.

Releasing the mouse button produces a gradient mask the looks like this:

Next we need to mask over the towers of the building, to prevent the blur effect from being applied to them. For this we'll use a simple paint brush tool, found on the tool palette. Set the brush hardness to maximum, and vary the size of the bush as you paint by using the square bracket { and } keys. Use a smaller brush to cover the finer details.

Select the black paint and simply paint over the towers, making sure to go right down to the bottom to make sure that the mask covers the whole building. It can be a bit difficult to see where the semi-transparent red paint has gone, but you can check the coverage by switching in and out of Quick Mask mode.

By the time you've finished you should have something that looks like this. Don't forget to switch out of Quick Mask mode when you're done.

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