Getting the best ‘Bokeh’ effect for your photos can be challenging when you don’t have the right lens.
However, not everyone starts their photography career out equally, so it’s understandable.
What can you do differently if you don’t have the right equipment for the job? Well, you can post-process the image and add the bokeh effect using a plugin.
Yes, I mean what I mean. You can add any sort of effect to your images or videos.
How do you do it?
Here at Cameraseals, we list out some of the best plugins to help you create the right kind of ‘Bokeh’.
What and Why ‘Bokeh’?
Bokeh is what photographers or videographers call the quality of your blurriness in your images or videos.
It’s not your ordinary background blur that you see in any photos.
It’s the soft-blurry reflection of the lighting in the shape of circle or heptagon in the background of the subject.
This can be achieved by using the types of lenses with fast apertures. Some experts recommend at least an f/2.8 aperture or you can choose a faster option such as f/2, f/1.8 and f/1.4.
The reason to strive for a bokeh image is to produce a smooth and silky effect that you can show off to your colleague photographers or clients.
Lenscare of Frischluft is an After Effect/Photoshop plugin that can help you generate the correct out-of-focus effect in post production.
Sometimes, gaussian and fast blurs cannot produce enough of the blurriness for your bright-light photos because how dominant some objects are in front of dark background.
Lenscare can assist the editors to select your desired parts and boost up your luminosity.
Some of the features of this plugin include:
- Quick rendering times (using 2d processing)
- Many depth of field (DoF) and out of focus options to choose from
Some disadvantages that they have:
- Cannot blur the reflections or objects that are behind transparent object in a proper way
- Unable to recognize the main subject if the auto-blur function of the camera is too heavy on the in-between object.
Even though they might have a little problem in identifying the subjects, this plugin is still a good option to start with for beginning photographers.
You can try out their demo before purchasing at $89 for Photoshop.
DoF Pro is a well-known advanced plugin for After Effect that was first released in 2005 by Richard Rosenman.
This plugin uses their depth map technique to obtain the perfect depth of field effect and rendered final products.
Some of the features of DoF Pro:
- Adjustable aspect ratio
- Custom aperture map
- Field curvature
- Catadioptric lens
- Matte box
- Noise rendering engine
- Heavy on final rendering, long export time.
DOF Pro is definitely an all-in-one DoF plugin for any professional photographer or videographer. This plugin is one of the best plugins for your bokeh videos or photographs.
They also have their own built-in sequence reader and key framer, which haven’t heard any negative comments about.
Their product has been used worldwide ranging from many artists and photographers to major studios.
You can also try out their demo before buying at $99.99.
Fast Bokeh Pro
Fast Bokeh Pro is another fast and smooth bokeh plugin that uses their own depth map approach.
When they were asked: “Why another lens blur plugin?”
They answered with 3 features: Fast, easy to use and can handle edges in a proper way.
Some of the features of this plugin:
- Fast response and independent radius.
- Decent edge handling.
- Many bokeh effect (gaussian, spherical and polygonal).
- Custom bokeh shapes.
- Segmentation with zone control.
- GPU acceleration.
They recently released Fast Bokeh Pro v2.0 that comes with extra features (as above).
This plugin is definitely a quick-to-adapt and easy-to-use kinda of plugin that any videographer or photography beginner can get around pretty quickly.
It can also work with many versions of Creative Cloud (from 2017-2022), you can start using it for FREE but some premium features will probably be available at $49.
Better Bokeh is not a plugin but a free gamma correction preset that can help you enhance your blurry effect within your After Effect space.
Technically, this preset doesn’t auto-blur for you. It only corrects the wrong gamma in your video/photo and in-betweens is your out-of-focus effect to top it off.
Eventually, you will still need an additional blurry effect to add between this preset to create the actual bokeh outcome.
A recommendation is that you can add an Adobe standard out-of-focus effect in the middle for compensation, however, it will be quite slow.
Some Free Bokeh Effect Videos
Sometimes, using some free presets and overlays is not a bad idea. It can save up some times during your editing session and I know efficiency is what digital artists always try to achieve.
Also, getting the appropriate lens to capture your bokeh effect can be costly and it’s not something beginning artists would be able to afford.
Here are some free resources for bokeh effects:
35 Free Bokeh Overlays made by Rocketstock
Rocketstock is giving out 35 free bokeh overlays from 1 minute upto 6 minutes that you can drag and drop onto your video footage.
They claim that you can go from “a subtle shimmer” to “some flashy bokeh”, which can be a luxurious upgrade towards your photography portfolio.
300+ free bokeh videos from Pixabay
You can also get free bokeh videos, ranging from 10 seconds minimum up to more than 1 minute, directly from Pixabay.
Just pick your favourite video and the size of video, then you can download without any cost.
600+ free bokeh videos from Pexels
Pexels also offers the same videography service free of charge. The difference is you may not know how long the video will last so you have to go in and check.
Nevertheless, this is still a good source of bokeh videos for your production.