Guide to Creating Bokeh Textures

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Bokeh textures are some of the most beautiful and rare resources out there. If you're in need of a good bokeh image, it can pay off to make your own rather than using a pre-made one. In this tutorial I'll go over creating bokeh using both a digital camera or photoshop. Let's get started!

Creating Bokeh using a DSLR

Have a camera? Awesome. Photographing bokeh textures is super easy, all you need is a suitable light source. Here I've used a small set of christmas lights, but other things will work too: city skylings at night, streetlights, stars, just have some fun playing around with it to create a really nice Christmas background.

I'll be using an older model Canon Rebel with a stock lens to shoot these. First, I set up the lights in front of a black curtain. It helps if you can isolate the light source as much as possible.

For this image, I used the following settings: zoomed into 55mm, shutter: 1/100 sec, F5.6, manual focus set to blur the image.

Guide to Creating Bokeh Textures 1

By simply reducing the aperture to F9 to you can control the size of the individual bokeh:

Photographed bokeh

And that's it! Pretty simple, eh? Creating textures with a digital camera is super easy, but you can take it further by experimenting with using different settings in-camera, various light sources, and playing around with the images in photoshop. There are tons of possibilities.

Creating Bokeh in Photoshop:

Don't have a camera? That's okay too, it's possible to replicate the bokeh effect completely in Photoshop, and it's nearly as easy.

Step one – Create a new document

I've created a new document sized 1200px x 800px and set the background color to #000.

New Document in Photoshop

Step two – Download the Brushes

We'll be using this bokeh brush set from Brusheezy. Once downloaded simply import the file into PS.

Step three – Adjust brush settings

Open up the Brushes panel and use the following settings. They'll help give the image a more natural feel by scattering the size and opacity of the individual bokeh.

Brush Settings
Color Dynamics
Other Dynamics

Step four – Brush the bokeh

Set the brush tool to 150px and the color to and pick a nice deep blue color. Simple run the brush over the document once or twice to create a set of colored bokeh.

Bokeh brushed on

Step five – Add blur

After making the first layer of bokeh, add a little blue using the following settings.

Blur added

Step six – Brush and blur more layers

Continue adding and blurring new layers of individual bokeh until you get the effect you're trying to achieve.

More bokeh brushed and blurred
Even more bokeh

Step seven – Final adjustments

Add a gradient: Flatten the image and open up the Layer Styles panel. Add a subtle gradient overlay to the layer using the following settings. This will give the final texture a little more focus and natural feel.

Gradient overlay

Adjust the levels: use the settings below to help bring out the details.

Levels adjustment

Add grain: use the Add Grain filter to help replicate the photographic effect.

Unsharp mask

Unsharp Mask: the last step I've taken is to sharpen the entire image significantly. I think it helps brighten up the brighten up the image and bring everything together as a whole.

Add noise

Step Eight – Finished

That's it! What do you think of the final image?

Finished bokeh