Photo Manipulation: MAGIC FOCUS CIRCLE [Photoshop Composite Tutorial]

Welcome to our blog on photo manipulation techniques! In today’s tutorial, we will explore the captivating world of photo manipulation through the creation of a mesmerizing magic focus circle using Photoshop compositing. With this tutorial, you will learn how to seamlessly blend multiple images, manipulate lighting and depth of field, and create stunning visual effects that will leave your viewers spellbound. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced Photoshop user, this tutorial will provide you with step-by-step instructions and insights to expand your creative possibilities and enhance your photo editing skills. So grab your imagination and let’s dive into the enchanting realm of photo manipulation!

Photo Manipulation: MAGIC FOCUS CIRCLE [Photoshop Composite Tutorial]

Photo Manipulation: MAGIC FOCUS CIRCLE [Photoshop Composite Tutorial]

Good morning, Dunna here! Today we’re gonna talk about how I did that effect on my thumbnail from a couple of weeks ago where I held up the filter that was clear in the middle and blurry everywhere else. You guys asked me a lot about how to do that and for a tutorial on it, so we’re gonna go start to finish on that. But first, the sponsor of today’s video is Dollar Shave Club. And no, I’m not about to shave off my entire beard. Dollar Shave Club does a lot more than that. For example, they have oral care products like this toothbrush and toothpaste. They also have shower products, hair products, and even butt wipes. Basically, if you have a body, Dollar Shave Club has you covered. And of course, as expected, they have shaving products. One of the best parts about Dollar Shave Club is that they make it super easy to find really great products at affordable prices and they ship them directly to you. On my recent trip to Toronto, I took a bunch of the stuff that they sent me and tried it out. I really fell in love with this shampoo. It smells so good – sage and black pepper, who’da thought? Dollar Shave Club is offering a $5 starter set to try out their products. It comes with an executive razor handle, a cassette of four razors, Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter (which is awesome, this stuff works really well), and also this Citrus Hawaiian Ginger Face Cleanser which smells amazing. So if you want to try it out, join the club with one of their $5 starter kits. And after that, your restock box will ship with regular sized products at regular price. If you want to get this exclusive deal to try it out, check it out at And thanks again to Dollar Shave Club for sponsoring this video and for supporting creators. That feels better. Let’s go take some photos. Hey buddy, want to teach a tutorial with me?

Taking the Photos

So like I said before, we are going to be recreating that photo that I took out on my balcony of the downtown skyline through a filter and make it so that everything is blurred out except for the filter itself and in the center, that’s where the picture will be clear. In order to do that, this is everything that we’re going to need:

  • A tripod
  • A camera to put on the tripod to take the photo with
  • A filter (in this case, we’re not actually using it as a tool, we’re just using it as a prop more than anything)
  • A laptop to signify that we’re going to need some kind of editing software
  • Coffee
  • A companion (if you have one, that makes it even better)

Now, let’s head out onto the balcony and we’re going to try and take this photo. Well, that’s convenient that my tripod and camera are already set up. Once we get to this point, the important thing here is going to be to frame up whatever shot it is that you want to get in the end. So, I’m looking at the Edmonton downtown skyline from my balcony and I basically just want to frame up all the nice tall buildings right in the center of my shot. I’m currently shooting on a 30mm lens on my A6500, so you’ve got about a 45mm full-frame equivalent. The reason that I’m shooting with a 30mm instead of a longer lens is because I still need to be able to hold out my hand and get it in the shot.

The first shot that we’re gonna get is actually the one with my hand out holding the filter. So, I’m gonna grab the filter and honestly, it doesn’t really matter which filter you use, and I’m just gonna hold it in front of the frame. Now, for this shot, I’m at f/2.8, ISO100, 1/2500 of a second because it’s super bright out here. What I want to do is manually focus on my hand and on the filter so that everything in the background becomes blurry. So, right about there looks good. Now, in this case, I’m gonna change my shutter speed a little bit so that I can get a little bit more exposure on my hand. This is something that I dealt with the last time I took it, there’s no light coming from my balcony so the back of my hand looks a little bit dark. So, I’m gonna take a couple of shots just in case. I don’t want to overexpose, but I also want to be able to pull the shadows up and get the detail back in my hand.

At this point, I’ve taken a couple of photos with the filter in the frame, focusing on my hand and the filter. Now, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna take the filter and my hand out of the frame, and we’re just gonna take a shot of the background. I’ve moved my aperture up to f/4. You don’t have to do this, but I just like to get a little bit more of the background in focus, even though we’re only gonna be using the center of it. I’m still at ISO 100, but I’m going to adjust my shutter speed to get the proper exposure for it. Then, I’m gonna focus on the buildings of downtown and I’m gonna take a couple of shots. Again, I’m gonna do a couple that I think are a little bit underexposed and a couple overexposed, just so that I have some options to play with after. And that’s it for taking the photos. Let’s get all these into the computer and I’ll show you what to do with them.

Editing in Lightroom

I’m gonna assume that you know how to get the photos from your camera into your computer, so I’m gonna skip that whole section and we’re gonna hop straight into Lightroom. As you can see in Lightroom, I have a handful of pictures of my hand holding the filter, some different exposure options, and then I have a couple of pictures of the skyline itself. Now, if you want to skip the whole Lightroom step, you can actually just do this straight in Camera Raw in Photoshop, which is where we’re gonna be going later. I like to do it in Lightroom because it gives me the option to see everything laid out and choose the photos kind of ahead of time in a nice organized way. It doesn’t really matter either way, you’re gonna end up with the same thing. It just is kind of up to your workflow. I think I like this last photo best, I’m gonna flag it. And then for the downtown skyline, I like this third one best. I’m going to view only my flagged ones so that I can see just these two.

Now that we’ve chosen both photos, you can already probably see where I’m kind of going with this. I’m gonna throw a grade on both of these and try to keep them consistent. You don’t want to have a wildly different white balance or anything like that. You want to make it look like it is one picture, basically. To speed things up, I’m just gonna throw one of my presets on both of these, see how that looks, and then adjust from there. Once I’ve got my edit done on the first photo, I’m actually going to hold Shift and click the second photo as well. That’ll highlight both of them. Then, I’m gonna click sync, and I’m basically gonna sync everything. What it did is it copied over all of the settings from that first photo…

FAQ – Photo Manipulation: MAGIC FOCUS CIRCLE [Photoshop Composite Tutorial]

1. What is photo manipulation?

Photo manipulation is the process of editing or altering photographs to create unique or imaginative visuals by combining different elements, adjusting colors, adding or removing objects, etc.

2. What is a magic focus circle?

A magic focus circle is a visual effect created using Photoshop techniques where a circular area of a photo is emphasized while the rest remains blurred or out of focus. It draws attention to the subject within the circle, creating an impactful and eye-catching composition.

3. How can I create a magic focus circle in Photoshop?

To create a magic focus circle in Photoshop, follow these steps:

  • Select the photo you want to edit.
  • Create a circular selection using the Elliptical Marquee Tool.
  • Invert the selection, so the area outside the circle is selected.
  • Apply a blur filter to the selected area to create the desired blur effect.
  • Refine the blur effect settings as needed.
  • Adjust the opacity, blending, or other effects to enhance the overall composition.

4. Can I use any other software instead of Photoshop?

Yes, you can achieve similar effects using other image editing software like GIMP, Adobe Illustrator, or CorelDRAW. However, this specific tutorial focuses on Adobe Photoshop.

5. Is this tutorial suitable for beginners?

Yes, this tutorial is appropriate for beginners. It provides step-by-step instructions and assumes no prior experience in photo manipulation. However, basic familiarity with Photoshop’s tools and interface would be helpful.

6. Can I use copyrighted images for photo manipulation?

Using copyrighted images for photo manipulation without proper permission from the copyright holder is generally not allowed and may infringe intellectual property rights. It is recommended to use images under a Creative Commons license, royalty-free images, or your own photographs to avoid legal issues.

I hope you find useful my article Photo Manipulation: MAGIC FOCUS CIRCLE [Photoshop Composite Tutorial], I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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