New Iris blur tool in Adobe Photoshop CS6

Along with the new Tilt Shift blur tool that Adobe released with Photoshop CS6 there are also 2 new blur tools they added that many of you might find useful. They added a new Field Blur and Iris Blur and both of these new blur tools can be found under the Filter –> Blur menu. Today i’ll talk a little bit about the Iris blur tool.

Iris Blur – This is a great way to isolate a subject with a circular selection while letting the rest of the image be blurred. When you select the tool it will create a large circle in the middle of the image with many points that you can use to edit the shape. First you can easily make the selection larger/smaller by clicking and dragging on the outside circle. You will also notice small white dots on the edge (pictured below), click and drag on these to change the shape of the image, so if you need an oval or any type of custom shape. You will also notice 1 square white box on the outside edge. This lets you change the shape from a perfect circle to a square that has rounded edges. Just click and drag on this to see the shape change. There is also 4 dots on the inside of the selection, these will allow you to set where the blur will start to happen, so you can set if you want the part in focus to be very small or large. And in the center just like many of these new tools in Photoshop CS6 you can directly adjust the amount of blur by moving the dial in the inside circle.

Another pretty nifty thing you can do here is in the blur effects box. Here you can set the Light Boken, Bokeh Color and Light Range. The Light Bokeh will let you set the amount of the highlights that are in the blur. Here you can see it cranked it way up to 74% and you can see how it really gave this extra bokeh effect to the highlight areas of the image. It makes this overcast daytime city scene look like it was taken at night. You can also set the color of the bokeh and in the example below I also cranked it up so you could really see the effect. The last bokeh setting you can edit is the range, here you can change what the range is that these bokeh effects are going to hit.

This can be very useful for night shots that you weren’t able to shoot with a very low aperture . In this shot I loved the candle lights along the walkway but thought they would look even better with some nice bokeh. Also I wanted to really focus on the bride and groom and let the rest of the image fade away with a blur.


With a real quick iris blur I selected the bride and groom and then set the bokeh setting up about halfway.

What do you think about these new blur tools? Let me know in the comments below and check back over the next week for more Photoshop CS6 reviews, i’ll also be covering some portrait and lighting tips. To make sure you don’t miss an article just subscribe at the top right by entering in your email. It’s always safe with us, all you will get is notifications of our new articles.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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1 Comment

  1. Those new blur tools can be done with the previous version CS5. masking and lens blur always worked for me

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