Monday, 2 January 2012

The Artfish : Depth of field

Cry Baby
"Cry Baby"
D of Ourfish reckons that her graphics card is too retro to do the amazing captures some people appear to be doing with that new option in their SL3 browsers - So any blog picture you see with depth of field is done with a little fairy magick - The photoshop CS4 fairy that is.

What is depth of field?

(Quotes from Wiki)
In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. Although a lens can precisely focus at only one distance at a time, the decrease in sharpness is gradual on each side of the focused distance, so that within the DOF, the unsharpness is imperceptible under normal viewing conditions.

Depth of field from an SL manipulation point of view actually makes a capture from inworld more " realistic". Ordinarily, as all objects within a scene are virtual they are also rendered on the same specified plane (i.e your draw distance). It is your 'cinematic' eye, or camera view which then 're-renders' the scene with additional calculations for presenting this perspective of nearness and distance.
Although depth of field is now an option in SL 3 viewers, this 'Original' capture lacks it.

D thinks everyone who uses photoshop probably has their own little methods and ways on how to do things. It is quite possible that the program itself has some sort of smart filter in it that will likely outdate this tutorial. Nonetheless , the following is how " Cry Baby" was put together.

In this screen capture, we see the original  (bottom most layer) and the eventual layers to be added which will go towards creating the final image ie. 1) Depth of field layer 2) Shadow Layer.
The Black and White Layer depicted in the layers tab is the transitional  from the original , illustrating desaturation to create the monotone 'depth of field' 

Create a copy of the original layer and turn this into black and white using any number of methods (ie, apply black and white filter, or use desaturation )
Then take the now monotone layer and apply the filter 'Gaussian Blur' set at Radius 2.0 pixels.
Here we illustrated the process in a cutaway from original so you can see the difference after applying the two processes.
Use your eraser tool set to a wide brush and a small opacity (Here it's 100 pixels and 19% opacity)
We erase the parts of the layer that we want to see crisp and sharp;
Thus leaving the parts that we want to look distant - blurred.
The art idea here is  for focus to be in colour and for what is not focussed, to be black and white.

In this capture you can see that shadow is added  to pick up the idea of a depth of field
as well as to illustrate a light source. As this is the final frame of the process,
you can see that  the smudge tool was selected. D calls it 'sculpting the shadows' by smudging over a layer of drawn black lines.
This is a somewhat quick and easy way to create shadows in three simple steps. 
Step 1) Create a new blank layer and draw some thick black lines over your image
roughly where you might likely capture shadows
Step 2) Use the 'Gausian Blur' filter to soften this line and change the opacity
and pixel density of your  drawn  'shadow'
Step 3) Select smudge tool and 'nudge' your shadows so they follow the contours of your central focus 
End Credits: The final  assembled image  is now an application of  three layers to the original; ie.
Depth of field
and lastly a Vignette frame
 which was simply a drawn black border set to blur.

Thus concludes our little workshop. Have yourself a creative and fun SL!

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