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.
By simply reducing the aperture to F9 to you can control the size of the individual 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.
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.
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.
Step five – Add blur
After making the first layer of bokeh, add a little blue using the following settings.
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.
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.
Adjust the levels: use the settings below to help bring out the details.
Add grain: use the Add Grain filter to help replicate the photographic effect.
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.
Step Eight – Finished
That's it! What do you think of the final image?