Photoshop Tutorial: Tilt Shift

Tilt shift is a photographic technique that gives the illusion of miniaturization.  In this video we will be teaching you how to do this yourself in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.


In this tutorial (I will be using Adobe Photoshop CC2015 and) we will be using the tilt shift blur filter from the blur gallery.  If your version of Photoshop is older than CS6, you will not have this effect available to you.


The Project

The most crucial thing to getting this effect to work and look believable is to choose the right photograph.  If you could imagine looking down onto a table top, that is the angle you are looking for. But I have seen impressive results from shallower angles.  If you want to get specific I would say a camera angle down anywhere from 15 degrees to 70, where 90 would be looking straight down and 0 would be the horizon.

If you happen to have a camera you can make this process much easier by just taking the picture yourself.

  • So now that we have selected a picture the first thing we want to do is saturate the colors in the image to give the subjects a manufactured and almost toy like quality. So bright colors are what we need. Let’s add a vibrance adjustment layer.
  • Vibrance uses complex algorithms to make dull colors brighter, while taking already saturated colors and leaving them be. Lets slide this up till the photo looks, well, vibrant.
  • Now we need to over saturate the image slightly to create that manufactured toy look. Let’s increase the saturation to do that.
  • let’s add the tilt shift. With our background selected, let’s go to filter>Blur Gallery>Tilt Shift
  • This will open up the Tilt shift effect control panel and overlay the visual controls on your photo.
  • The tilt shift control overlay has 4 parts. The pin, where your blur focus is, the blur amount control surrounding the pin, the blur start line, and the blur 100% line; and those are on both sides of the pin.
  • Place your focus pin by clicking and dragging. I tend to put mine close to half way between the bottom of the picture and the horizon.
  • Then increase your blur, ill put mine to around 40px, but you might need to adjust this if the resolution of your image is lower or higher.
  • Next adjust your blur start line and your blur 100% line, I find that a large fade and a narrow focus area look the best.
  • Finally let’s add a little bit of noise to the blur, Gaussian, 3%,
  • Hit Ok at the top of the screen.
  • Finally add a bit of noise 7% to bring everything together.


When applied correctly, tilt shift can make a photograph look enchanting, if you have the right image of course. Thanks for watching this tutorial, be sure to like, share and favorite, and I will see you next time.