Tilt Shift Photoshop Quick Reference Guide
Photo Selection: When choosing a photograph for the tilt-shift effect, bear in mind that you want to give the impression of a miniature model. Miniature models are usually viewed from above so try and choose a photo with an elevated viewpoint.
Enter Quick Mask Mode: Open the image in Photoshop and enter Quick Mask
Mode by pressing Q on the keyboard, or select the Quick Mask icon as shown in the Tool Palette
Choose the Gradient Tool: Choose the Gradient Tool by pressing G on
the keyboard, or select the Gradient Tool icon. Be sure to choose the Reflected Gradient option (the fourth icon along before the Mode drop-down).
Draw a line w/ gradient tool: Draw a vertical line; the start point will be the centre of the in-focus area, and the end will be where the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus is completed. This step, and the subsequent two steps, will need a fair degree of trial and error.
View Mask Area: Before progressing, review the position of the red mask. The middle of the mask is where the in-focus area will be, gradually losing focus towards the edges. Note the out-of-focus effect is yet to be applied.
Return to Standard Mode: Press Q on the keyboard to exit Quick Mask Mode and return to Standard Mode, or press the icon on the Tool Palette as shown below. The area to apply the focus effect to will be surrounded by the "marching ants" selection lines
Open Lens Blur Interface: Choose Filter > Blur > Lens Blur
Review Effect and Tweak Settings: Hopefully, you will now see a pleasing focus effect. The Photoshop default settings for Lens Blur seem to work well, but experiment with them to improve the effect. If you are unhappy with the position of the focus area, go back to Step 4 and try drawing a line in a different place or with a different centre of focus.
Exit Lens Blur Interface: Assuming you were happy with the image preview in Step 8, click OK to accept the settings
Remove Selection Boundary: Press Command-D on the keyboard to remove the "marching ants" selection boundary
Open Hue/Saturation Adjustment Interface: You may want to boost the color saturation, to improve the effect. Remember that model scenery is often brightly painted so enhancing the saturation helps trick the eye. Press CTRL-U on the keyboard or select Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation