Monday, May 4, 2009

Tilt Shift Fakes

I've become a bit fascinated lately with the miniaturizing effects of the tilt-shift camera lens. Or rather, how to fake the look with photo editing software.

If you haven't heard of tilt-shift before, you've probably seen it around. I noticed some in the opening of the TV show Dollhouse, photos shown during the commercial breaks of Adult Swim (Cartoon Network), and was first introduced to the idea with these videos, which mix in time lapse to increase the 'toy' feeling even more (I love the boats, but not a big fan of the people shots).

A real tilt-shift lens is off center, giving the photo (or video) a very narrow area of focus, which mimics the look of macro photography (very close up). You can fake the look on your own photos by blurring out areas and bumping up the contrast & saturation levels to give everything an unnatural look. There are a lot of great step-by-step tutorials online.

But getting it to really look like a miniature is not so easy. I've played around with a few of my own photos, but they are not that great. I'd love to get a *lot* better at this, I've seen some really incredible work out there.

Fake Tilt Shift - Chattanooga, TN

I'm even willing to spend extra time to covering up brown spots in the grass or black marks running down the road, anything to really capture the look of a miniature. But first I have to figure out how to get the focus just right. I'm probably not blurring nearly enough.

Fake Tilt Shift - Berry College, Ga

Having the right angle can really help with the illusion too. During our trip to Gatlinburg, I kept my eye out for any places that that stood a little above the rest of the buildings.

Fake Tilt Shift - Gatlinburg, TN

If you think you have a photo that would work well, but don't want to mess around with trying to edit it yourself, check out the tilt-shift maker website to generate the changes. Or, hey, feel free to send it to me! I could always use some more photos to practice on.

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