Stylized Bokeh Photography and Videography With Your DSLR | Lucas Ridley | Skillshare

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Stylized Bokeh Photography and Videography With Your DSLR

teacher avatar Lucas Ridley, Professional Animator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Create Stylized Bokeh Intro


    • 2.

      What You Need


    • 3.

      Make It!


    • 4.

      Use It!


    • 5.

      Wrap Up


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About This Class

I'm excited to share with you a unique technique to achieve a one-of-a-kind look to your photos and video!

In this course I will teach you how to create this stylized bokeh affect so that the little blurry circles of light in the background can actually take shape!

This is intended for the beginner photographer as I cover the fundamental concepts of what makes this technique work so you will be able to have a greater understanding of how your lens works in conjunction with this affect.

I will cover how to use this technique and pitfalls to watch out for as it has it's limitations as well.

This technique is a fun way to dust off your DSLR and get to shooting and filming unique background lights!

Meet Your Teacher

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Lucas Ridley

Professional Animator

Level: Beginner

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1. Create Stylized Bokeh Intro: [MUSIC] Welcome to my course on creating stylized bokeh with your DSLR. I encourage you to follow along and make your own custom shapes and share them in a class project. This course is intended for the very beginner Photographer or Filmographer. As long as you have a DSLR, you can take this course. I will cover very basic topics to give you a general understanding of how this effect is being achieved so that you can better understand how to achieve it for yourself. I'll take you step by step on how to make it, and then some of the expectations and limitations of this effect so you can have the best chance of achieving it in your own photography and video. Thanks for following along. See you in the class. 2. What You Need: First, let's cover what you will need for this project. You will need some poster board, craft knife of some kind, a little bit of tape and a fast lens and a DSLR. Your iPhone or your cell phone camera will not work. Also your point-and-shoot cameras will not work for this. You need a DSLR with a lens on it and I'll talk about that next. Let's take a look at my lenses. I won't be able to use this. This is a zoom lens. It's 1585 because, I can see right here on the frontal lens it says, 3.5 is the lowest it gets, and it has a range to 5.6 because it's a zoom lens. So 85, it can only get to 5.6 f-stop and when it's 15, it can only get to 3.5 and we want something better than that. What I have is this prime lens. It's a 20 millimeter, and we can see that this gets to a 1.8. Remember the other one got to 3.5, so we want something in this range where this hole, that we're seeing here, can get much wider. Inside our camera, is this little bit of device. It has a bunch of little blades stacked on top of each other that, when they rotate, it opens and closes a hole in the middle. That's what lets light in. Depending on how big or small it is, that's called its f-stop and there's a number associated with each of these f-stops, as you can see. We want as wide as it can go, which is like f-stop 1.8 at least, because our cutout is going to need to be the replacement for those aperture blades. If we make it too small, then we won't be able to see the silhouette of our cutout. We need to be able to see the silhouette of our cutout through the center of the lens and for us to do that, we need to make sure we have a very wide aperture. That means an f-stop 1.8. To give yourself the best chance of this working, you want the largest aperture possible you can get on your camera lens. 3. Make It!: I've got my poster board, I have my lens, and a pencil. I've got a little piece of cardboard underneath the poster boards so I don't go through the poster board. I'm using a lens cap here to trace the outer edge. Alternatively, you can use the UV lens cover. Now I'm just taking the extractor knife and carefully going around the circle I made. Once we have that out, we can test it inside the lens and see if it fits. This one doesn't fit super well because of course we went on the outside of the lens cap. Take the time and make sure this first one is really good. You can always make it smaller, you can't make it bigger, so start bigger and go smaller as needed. That's why this craft knife is so nice as you have that level of control. There we go. I don't recommend pushing it in this hard yet because we're actually going to do something to make it easier to get out. But yeah, that works. Now I'm going to take this and go through, and do a few more circles cut out because we're going to have multiple designs. You might mess one up and you might need some more examples. Now that we have the right size, it's just easier to go ahead and make several of them. One of the biggest things is knowing how big to make the design in the center. I know for my lens is Canon lens, it's about the size of a nickel or 20 millimeters, something like that. It might be different for your lens. This is why you need to experiment with different sizes. But draw an outline around a nickel or a quarter, just to give you some guidelines to make sure you're drawing your design within this area. Once we have this, then we can go in and start drawing our design. Whatever it may be. I would recommend to start out with something simpler, like a heart and not start with skull and cross bones or something as your first one. But yeah, was it lets try this heart first. One thing about this extractor knife too I should mention is, how clean you cut this design, will affect the shape of the bokeh. In this example, you can see the edges are rough and that actually shows up in the bokeh. That's why you really want a nice sharp craft knife like this, that you can push down hard and get very clean edges. Now let's make a little tab that'll make it easier to put these filters in and out of the front of our lenses because it's hard and it gets stuck if you've cut it just exactly the size that needs to be. Let's cut a little square off the poster board and then simply tape it. I like the top part of the design because we are going to have to orient the design in a direction up. It's nice that the tab is on the top. So you know this is the top of the design and should be at the top of the lens. Now we just push this in here and not have to worry about getting it out. We can pull this tab and comes out much easier than before. 4. Use It!: Let's take our slower lens off, put on our prime fast lens with cutout. Now we want to make sure that the aperture is all the way out to 1.8 and we can notice already how big our cut out is. Once we start to stop down, we'll be able to see it. We want to go larger than what we can see it. Now you can see it start to fade away because the blades of the aperture are now wider than the cut-out and that's what we want. We want to go to widest aperture, 1.8 and not be able to see the cutout. That means we've cut it out small enough that the widest aperture still can't see it. It's within that widest aperture. It's inside of that widest aperture. We have the fast lens on front of the camera. We have the cutout on the front but our exposure is too bright because we've set our aperture to be as wide as possible to receive as much light as possible to the sensor. We need to start to adjust the other two attributes, ISO and/or the shutter speed depending on what we come up with. Let's start with the IS, and I'll bring that down. As I'm bringing it down, you can already start to see that our exposure is getting better. We can meter and see that we're still about a stop over exposed. I will take down the shutter speed and now we can see I'm pointing it at these Christmas lights, which is we want these point lights and It's still not perfect. What we can do is throw the camera more out-of-focus. Bring the focal plane towards the camera so that those point lights are further away from the focus distance. Now that we've done that, we can see we have these Christmas lights are now pinging off on here as the heart shapes that we've cut out. That's how we know we've got the right size and everything is going correctly. We start to take the aperture and bring it down. We can see the blades of the lens cut into our design. If you are getting this type of a look in your camera, you know you've cut your design too large. The aperture blades, your coil is going outside of the aperture blades. As we crank down the aperture, it totally goes away. We want to keep that at the highest setting to make sure that we see our cut-out. The other element that we have to our advantage is the distance from the camera. We're fairly close, we could push the distance much further back. We've set the focusing distance all the way as close to the front of lens as we can. Now what we could do if that still wasn't enough, we could take this whole setup and the further we move it back, we can see the larger those bokehs get, look how big they are now. That's something we have to our advantage is distance, and that's something that you can play with. Alternatively, this is a good example right here. We could look outside the window and nothing is happening. We're not getting those bokeh shapes because we need to keep it on point lights if we're to expect this effect to happen. Streetlights, candle lights, Christmas lights, play with distance from your camera and make sure that the focus distance is where you want it. You can also tell that by rotating the camera changes the shape because it's hitting the cut-out at a different angle. The best spot is to keep it right in the center and that's how we can get the best effect on the custom bokeh shapes. Leave a comment on the course if you're still having trouble getting this effect and I will try to help you out as best I can on the Skillshare course comment section. Thanks for watching and good luck. 5. Wrap Up: Here's a quick little bonus video. I wanted to go over what to expect and how to approach actually using this effect practically, because there are some limitations to this and that's what we'll talk about. Let's look at this image that I made from using this effect. You can see the hand is in the foreground and it looks like the bokeh hearts are coming out of the hand. I clearly staged it this way where I had Christmas lights in the background and I have the hand very close to the camera. Because if you can remember from the course that we're pulling the focus plane to be very close to the camera. We're actually going to have this effect and take a picture or something in focus in the same image and not use multiple images with compositing, which we'll also talk about. You need to bring the subject very close to the camera, as close as the image plane as where we've pulled the focus too, which is very close to the camera, which means we're trying to make everything in the background as out-of-focus as possible, because that's what's giving this effect of the hearts. The only option we have at this point is to bring the subject very close to camera in this case. I believe I even had a little bit of vignetting, which means there was some circle around the edges of that I had to crop out. But in addition to that, I had to use an off-camera flash, because of how the camera settings were to make the background look the way that it does and have the heart's pop. I needed to have a flash illuminates the hand. I just want you to have realistic expectations of what it takes to achieve an image like this and a little bit of the technical understanding of how that works. It is fun and these other videos that I took. One thing that's really fun is to do a transitional thing, because you can lock focus, meaning hit record, start recording video, and pull focus, meaning move the focus ring and pull a focus close to camera, so that you can get this effect where everything is in focus. Then we will pull the focus and the make everything blurry. With this filter on the front, you'll have this effect. It's a nice transition element to having videos, to convey love or skull and crossbones and whatever the filter is, it's a nice transition piece and super interesting and unexpected when you go from something in focus to having this burst of light in these specific shapes. One other thing I wanted to do was to go through how you would use this in compositing with Photoshop and Premiere. What I've done here is I've taken a still image of the bokeh effect with hearts and an image of a couple here, myself. A quick and easy way to incorporate this effect and a separate image is to go over here. If you're in Photoshop, select the bokeh layer, and go to the layer mode options here. The default is obviously normal and we'll scroll down here to screen. What that means is it will make everything black transparent. You're going to make sure that this top image with bokeh effect has a dark background and the only thing that has a high value, a white value is the bokeh effect. Set screen and then you're going to immediately see the effect that it has. We got rid of the black background and so now we have just this heart element. We can make this cute little photo of me and my girlfriend. We can duplicate it and make it stronger and make that girl brighter. We could also flip it horizontally and do a reiki looking thing, but this is one way to do it. In footage, of course you can do this in video as well. Let's go over to Adobe Premiere and we will look at the same two images here. In Premier, you have the same options and this layer mode stuff, but you can double-click on the layer you want effect, which is of course this bokeh layer and skull and crossbones for this version of this, which is not appropriate for a couple. But if we go to a opacity, we get this blend mode down here. We can have the same exact options that we haven't Photoshop. We can get using Premier and long the old we have the skull and crossbones, which again is not appropriate for this type of picture, but you get the idea of the effect that it can have. You can use these blend modes and you don't have to capture everything in the same photograph, like we showed with the hand and the hearts. Those are part of the limitations and expectations of how this effect will actually be useful in everyday shooting and filming. Thanks for watching.