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How to Create a Bokeh Effect Photoshop Action

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Welcome to our Photoshop in 60 Seconds series, in which you can learn a Photoshop skill, feature, or technique in just a minute!

Photoshop in 60 Seconds: Bokeh Effect

That beautiful bokeh effect achieved by out-of-focus photography can now be applied to any photo! Recreate the look with a quick Photoshop Action for all your portrait or landscape photography. Browse our incredible selection of Photoshop Actions available on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements for more great effects.

In this quick video, learn how to create a Photoshop Action that produces a warm bokeh effect. Use a custom brush, layer styles, and more to achieve this look!


How to Create a Bokeh Effect Photoshop Action

Start by creating a custom brush. Hit F5 to bring up the Brush panel. Using a Hard Round Brush, adjust the Scatter to 1000%, and then Save your custom brush so that we can use it later for the action.

Custom Bokeh Brush

Now go to Window > Actions and set up a new bokeh Action in the Actions panel. When you're ready, click Record to begin recording the next steps.

Open your photo in Photoshop. Here I'll be using this Woman Stock.

Woman Stock via Pixabay
Quick tip! Build layers of blurred bokeh with various levels of depth or choose a photo with a background that's already blurred.

Copy and Paste two backgrounds from this Noise Blurred Backgrounds set above your image. Select both layers and lower the Opacity to 20%, and then set the Blend Mode of the first one to Hard Light and the second one to Screen.

Add overlay blurred backgrounds

Create a New Layer and use the custom Bokeh Brush we created earlier to apply a few bokeh. Set the Layer Blend Mode to Overlay, and then Right-click and go to Blending Options, adding a quick Inner Glow with the following settings:

Add an Inner Glow Layer Style

Duplicate (Control-J) the layer, bringing the copy down slightly, before going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blurring it with a Radius of 5 pixels.

Set a New Layer to Color Dodge. Paint soft brown colors (or use the Eyedropper Tool to select dark colors from the photo) for more intensity. Lower the Opacity to 22%. Follow up with a New Adjustment Layer for Exposure, setting the Exposure to 1 and the Opacity to 20%.

Add a Color Dodge Layer for the Bokeh Effect

When you're finished, remember to click the Stop button on the Actions panel to use this action for future photos.

Here is the final effect.

Bokeh Effect Photoshop Action Tutorial

Experiment with this action on more images for awesome results!

Bokeh Effect Example
Woman Stock via Pixabay

Want to see this in action? Check out the video above to see this lesson at work!

A Bit More Detail

Learn how to create more photo effects from our experts! Check out the following tutorials below:

60 Seconds?!

This is part of a series of quick video tutorials on Envato Tuts+ in which we introduce a range of subjects, all in 60 seconds—just enough to whet your appetite. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this video and what else you'd like to see explained in 60 seconds!

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