STEP BY STEP / Grab a brush

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Make a brush

Go to File> New, choose A4, set Back­ground Con­tents: Trans­par­ent, hit OK. Grab the El­lip­ti­cal Mar­quee tool. Shift-draw a small cir­cle, go to Edit> Fill and use black. In the Lay­ers panel, set Fill 50%, then go to Layer> Layer Style> Stroke. Set Size 8px, colour black. Hit OK.

2 De­fine a brush

Go to Edit> De­fine Brush Pre­set. Name it and hit OK. Cre­ate a new layer, hit Alt+Delete to fill it, go to Layer> Layer Style> Gra­di­ent Over­lay. Click the pre­view bar, dou­ble-click the lit­tle squares un­der the gra­di­ent to choose two colours (blue and pur­ple here). Hit OK.

3 Cus­tomise the brush

Grab the Brush tool. Tog­gle the Brush panel in the Op­tions bar. Use Brush Tip Shape, set Spac­ing 100%. Use Shape Dy­nam­ics, set Size Jit­ter to 100, Min­i­mum Di­am­e­ter 50. Use Scat­ter­ing, set Scat­ter 1000, Count 3. Go to Trans­fer, set Opac­ity Jit­ter and Flow Jit­ter to 50%.

4 Paint and blur

Make a new layer, click the Blend­ing Mode drop-down in the Lay­ers panel, choose Color Dodge. Pick a light grey and paint scat­tered bub­bles. Pick Fil­ter> Blur > Gaus­sian Blur. Blur the bub­bles (Ra­dius 40px), hit OK. Re­peat on an­other layer, with a lower amount of blur.

5 Build it up

Con­tinue paint­ing and blur­ring on more lay­ers (set to Color Dodge), vary­ing the brush size and blur. Go to File> Place Em­bed­ded and open the boke­h_­cutout.png start file to drop in the sub­ject. Add more bokeh lay­ers on top. Hit Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+Alt+E to merge a layer.

6 Add tonal ef­fects

Se­lect Fil­ter>Blur Gallery>Iris Blur and blur the edges of the frame. Go to Fil­ter>Cam­era Raw Fil­ter. Grab the Ra­dial Fil­ter, set Ex­po­sure -3 and drag to darken the cor­ners. Cre­ate an ad­just­ment layer, choose Colour Lookup and se­lect a tonal pre­set, like ‘2 Strip’ here.

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