Create Your Own Bokeh Effects

Hello my digi friends!  I am so happy you’re here today.  I truly love this time of year!  The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year with all of the beautiful decorations, the string lights all around, and of course all of the amazing photograph opportunities.  There is so much to capture this time of year, but sometimes the spirit of Christmas isn’t always perfectly reflected in our rushed or imperfect photos.  I’m going to give you a little bit of a cheat today!  I’m going to teach you how to create your own bokeh effects!  I love the look of bokeh and I feel like it adds a bit of magic to our photos and layouts so I figured it was perfect to focus on this month.

I’ll be working in Photoshop CC and you can follow along with my video tutorial found below, or my written tutorial!


Start by choosing which photo you want to use.  I selected a photo of my son in front of his great grandma’s Christmas tree.  It’s a cute photo, but not really anything spectacular.  Honestly, a bit lackluster if you ask me!  Hence, the bokeh tutorial!


Grab your brush tool and open up your brush panel by hitting F5.  Grab a hard round brush and set your pixel size to about 400.  Then increase your spacing to about 140%.


Next, check the “Shape Dynamics” box.  Increase the “Size Jitter” to 100%, set the “Minimum Diameter” to 50%, and the “Roundness Jitter” to 10%


Now let’s change our Scattering settings.  Change the “Scatter” to 1000%.  Click the drop down for “Control” and select “Fade.”  Set the “Fade” to 10.  Next, change your “Count” to 3, your “Count Jitter” to 25%, and “Control” to Fade at 1.


Next we’ll check the “Transfer” box and make sure that our “Opacity Jitter” is set to 60%.


Now we’re all set to start brushing bokeh!


Create a new layer and label it Bokeh 1.  Use the eyedropper tool to select a color from your photo.  You may want to adjust the color to a lighter shade.  Using your brush, paint on your canvas.  I find it works best if you click and release, rather than holding your mouse down.  Round random sized circles will appear randomly as you brush.  Brush until you are satisfied with the amount of circles painted.


You can create a new layer and change colors if you wish and paint another layer of Bokeh.  Once you have all the bokeh layers and colors you want, we will apply the Gaussian Blur filter to each bokeh layer.  Select your layer Bokeh 1. Go to Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur.  Select a size from 7-15.  The higher the number, the more blurred it will be.


Then decrease the layer opacity to your liking to achieve your desired effect and repeat for each bokeh layer!  Now your lackluster photo has a touch of magic!


For even more of an effect, you could add a color to transparent gradient to some or all of the corners of your photo in the same color as your bokeh as well!  Not sure how?  Watch the video for step by step instructions!



Here’s my finished layout using the awesome goodies from today’s Magic of Beginnings giveaway!  I love how it turned out!  Be sure to leave our designers some love for so graciously offering this gorgeous collection!  Thanks for stopping by!



The Magic of Beginnings Giveaway


On to the next installment of the Scrapaneers December Giveaway – The Magic of Beginnings.


A big THANK YOU to all the amazing designers who contributed to this Mega Collection. The Magic of Beginnings is perfect for your holiday and December sequential projects, but it is about so much more than that. Think about plans and goals for the new year, starting a new stage of life, new relationships or simply the start of exciting new adventures. This collection is so big we could not fit it all into one preview, so here is glimpse at the collection in two parts (we couldn’t fit everything in the preview so know there’s MORE!):


Magic of Beginnings Collection


Magic of Beginnings Collection


Magic of Beginnings download links are no longer available.

Don’t forget to check back on Friday, December 16 for the next set of downloads, and a fun Alpha tutorial from Judie.


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  • nj December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you so much for the fabulous freebies.

  • abbynormal December 14, 2016   Reply →

    beautiful mini’s, thanks for sharing

  • Lynn Goshert December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Thanks so much Jill and Flergs!

  • Paula December 14, 2016   Reply →

    All of these have been beautiful. Thanks so much!

  • Molly December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you so much .. love these!! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year 🙂

  • Sandra December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Love this tutorial! Thanks for it and the adorable goodies!!

  • Pam K December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Thanks for the tutorial — I love the effect!! & thanks for today’s beautiful gifts!! Merry Christmas, ladies!

  • Jo Campbell December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Love it all! Thanks so much.

  • Priscilla December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Beautiful kits, thanks so much!

  • Kelly December 14, 2016   Reply →

    I am really enjoying the tutorials. The mini kits are fantastic too! Thank you so much!

  • Christa File December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Awesome effect and a lot of fun Janelle. Thanks for the Bokeh lesson and also thank you Jill & Flerg for the next installment!! The bokeh is perfect for ringing in 2017!

  • Chaz December 14, 2016   Reply →


  • Jeanie December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Love the tutorial! Perfect for the holidays. Must try my hand at it soon! Thank you Jill and Flerg for the great minis too!

  • RB December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Such Talented Creative Designers,LOving The Mini Kits & NOT SO Mini’s ToO!:) Thank You SO Very Much To Every Body Involved In The Making Of This Awesome Adventure Its FAB>LOve Ie Happy Christmas To YOU ALL!:)xXx

  • Veronika December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you so much for the beautiful Mini KITs and the interesting tutorials

  • Sandy December 14, 2016   Reply →

    This is so beautiful! Great tutorial too! Thank you Jill! Happy Holidays!

  • Sandy December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Awesome tutorial Janelle! I love Bokeh effects and this is a great time of year to use them! Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  • Sandy_in_MD December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Thanks for the great tutorial and the wonderful freebies!

  • Blackthorne December 14, 2016   Reply →

    As always such gorgeous gifts – Thanks so much, Ladies ! 😀

  • Laurie Weber December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Oh gosh… these are all so awesome! Thank you ladies for it all!

  • Mary Merrifield December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Gorgeous layout. Thanks for the tutorial and kits.

  • Johanna December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you very much for the gorgeous kits!!

  • missbecki December 14, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you for the beautiful gifts! 🙂

  • Karen December 15, 2016   Reply →

    Great tutorial! And thanks for the gifts too.

  • willimena December 15, 2016   Reply →

    Thankyou for the tutorial and gorgeous kits!

  • katy December 15, 2016   Reply →

    Thanks so much Janelle, Jill and Studio Flerg for the presents.

  • Peggy S December 15, 2016   Reply →

    So beautiful! It is fun to get such high quality designs like these. And thank you for the tutorials! Love them!

  • N. Lambert December 16, 2016   Reply →

    Thanks so very much! Your talent is very appreciated, and to download them is fantastic!

  • R December 16, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you 🙂

  • Jewel pease December 17, 2016   Reply →

    thank you for the tutorial and kits

  • Squirrely December 17, 2016   Reply →

    Both are just gorgeous – thanks so much ladies!!

  • Cheryl December 17, 2016   Reply →

    All the kits are just beautiful! Thank you so much!

  • olga December 18, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you so much for the beautiful Mini KITs and the interesting tutorials

  • KimR. December 18, 2016   Reply →

    I love bokeh, thank you for the tutorials. And the minis are beautiful, thank you!

  • kay December 18, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you so much. Merry Christmas.

  • Sandra December 18, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you for the mini! Have a wonderful holiday!

  • Lynn December 18, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Nancy December 21, 2016   Reply →

    Wonderful shares. Thank you so much.

  • Grambie/Shirl December 22, 2016   Reply →

    Beautiful collection that will carry you into the new year. Love the plaid and colors. My sincere thanks.

  • Lis December 27, 2016   Reply →

    Thank you so much for your generosity!

  • Jennifer Moore December 27, 2016   Reply →

    Fun technique! I will have to try it. Thanks for the minis.

  • Crystal January 5, 2017   Reply →

    THANK YOU bunches 🙂

  • Shirley Kimbrough January 8, 2017   Reply →

    I am a fan of both of these designers. Flerg from years ago when she first started and they did free collections. Introduced to Jill in the past two years, and I am hooked. Thanks for the tutorial and welcoming kits. Both kits are fabulous in its own unique design and color mix. Hugs, 🙂

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