Back >
< Back
Contains 0 items
Subtotal: $0.00



A CHANGE IN FOCUS: A Corel Photo-Paint Tutorial

I’d rather show my client a photo of what I can do than explain it. It saves time and does a much better job of revealing what I’m able to accomplish—which is why photos have become such a valuable tool for marketing my business. Every time I create a new or unique item for a client, I make sure to stage and photograph the finished product for social media or post it to my website for potential clients to see.

A CHANGE IN FOCUS: A Corel Photo-Paint Tutorial

By Shon Roti, Sublimation Consultant, Graphic Designer

I’d rather show my client a photo of what I can do than explain it. It saves time and does a much better job of revealing what I’m able to accomplish—which is why photos have become such a valuable tool for marketing my business. Every time I create a new or unique item for a client, I make sure to stage and photograph the finished product for social media or post it to my website for potential clients to see.

Although I’m no Ansel Adams, I did take a photography course in college and retained a few concepts from my studies. One of the techniques that I enjoyed employing was called depth of field. Simply put, a depth of field is the total area that is in focus in front of and behind the subject matter of the photo, with the remaining portions of the photo left out of focus.

 

Figure A

 

Figure B

Creating a depth of field allows (potentially) for a more pleasing photo and helps keep the focus on the subject, especially in portrait photography or when photographing a particular object with a wider background. With a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR), this is done by using a fast lens with a wide aperture. Although taken from a smartphone camera and not a DSLR, FIGURE A and FIGURE B are examples of photos with a depth of field and one that keeps most of the image in focus.

I don’t use a professional DSLR camera; however, most of today’s smartphones have multiple lenses with which to perform a simulated depth of field. This is done artificially through data mapping and edge detection. This technology distinguishes between objects in the foreground and background. Using different lenses, one blurs the background and the other keeps the foreground sharp. The two images are then combined into one image, leaving only the foreground in focus. This option is usually designated as the “Portrait” mode in the camera.

I enjoy creating a depth of field to place all the emphasis on the product. Nobody needs to see random objects that would otherwise distract from the product. But creating a depth of field can still be tricky, even with a smartphone. If the distance from the object needing focus and the smartphone are not optimal, the portrait mode may not function. Likewise, if the background is too close, the camera will probably keep everything in focus. Also, if you forget to use the portrait mode altogether, then you’ll have to produce a custom depth of field for yourself.

CREATING A CUSTOM DEPTH OF FIELD

In cases where the portrait mode was not employed for some reason (due to the operator or the camera), the photo can be manipulated later to re-create the focus and blurring using some photo editing tools and techniques.

In this tutorial, I will be using Corel Photo-Paint version 2020. However, none of the tools is unique to this version and can be found on the very earliest versions of this software

Creating a custom depth of field can be done in several different ways. I’ll demonstrate a couple options: using the Eraser tool and the Object Transparency tool.

 

Figure C

FIRST OPTION: THE ERASER TOOL

Open a photo in Photo-Paint. To see the greatest change, start with a photo that has both the foreground and the background in focus. Open the Object docker (Window>Docker>Objects). The shortcut is Ctrl+F7 (FIGURE C). Next, duplicate the background (Ctrl+D). A new object layer will be created above the original image. While in the new object layer, blur the image using Gaussian Blur (Effects>Blur>Gaussian Blur). Move the slider to about 30 pixels and click OK. Now select the Eraser tool (X) and change the nib/brush size to an appropriate size for erasing large sections of the tumbler in the photo.

 

Figure D

 

Figure E

A smaller nib size can be used later for more precision when erasing the edges. I used a nib size of 250 with a soft edge and transparency set at 0 to fully erase the pixels (FIGURE D). As the Eraser tool is dragged across the tumbler and the foreground, the sharper image of the tumbler and table in the object layer beneath are revealed (FIGURE E). A big soft brush and a less opaque value (about 90) can be used in this same object layer to create a transitional focus by gradually clicking the eraser into the out-of-focus background.

This is a “cheap and dirty” method, as it relies on the hand’s steadiness and precision of the mouse. But it is simple to do.

 

Figure F

 

Figure G

SECOND OPTION: OBJECT TRANSPARENCY

The first two steps in this option are the same as previous— open a photo duplicate and blur the new object layer. Here’s the change: Use the Freehand selection tool to select around the entire tumbler in the original background object layer (FIGURE F). Copy and paste the selection (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V). This will create an additional new object layer with only the tumbler in it. Deselect the selection. Drag this object layer to the top. Click back onto the blurred object layer and click on the Object Transparency tool from the tool bar on the left side of the workspace (FIGURE G).

 

Figure H

 

Figure I

Click somewhere in the upper background area and drag downward into the foreground area. This will blend the blurred layer from 100% opaque at the top to totally transparent at the bottom (FIGURE H). Adjustments can still be made with this tool’s effect after the initial transparency is applied, including the starting and end points and the mid-point. Clicking on the pick tool will finalize this tools effect. The result can be seen in combination with the other two object layers visible (FIGURE I). Further adjustments can be made by modifying the opacity layer of the blurred object layer to increase or decrease the effect of the blur.

There is yet another way to create a custom depth of field using the Planar Mask and the Blur options under Effects. But that will have to be the focus for another day.

Shon Roti is the owner of 9th Street Designs, a sublimation and graphic design consulting and promotional products business. A graphic designer, Roti has spent more than 2 decades working as a production artist and instructor in the awards and promotional products industry. In 2014, the Awards and Personalization Association named him Speaker of the Year. Find him at 9thsd.com or contact him at shon@ sublimationconsultant.com.

Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

Learn More

© Awards and Personalization Association
Contact Us
Awards and Personalization Association
8735 W. Higgins Road, Suite 300

Chicago, IL 60631

info@awardspersonalization.org
847.375.4800
(Fax) 847.375.6480

Connect with Us