The Tilt-Shift Effect
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March 11, 2015
Artensoft Tilt Shift Generator 1.2 released!

January 5, 2013
Artensoft Tilt Shift Generator 1.1 released!

February 6, 2012
Artensoft Tilt Shift Generator 1.0 released!

-Articles about tilt-shift photography:

   Tilt-Shift Photography

   Tilt-Shift Effect

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Tilt-Shift Effect

The tilt-shift effect is a name for a special technique in photography allowing to reproduce the look of a pseudo-miniature image, create dioramas, and simulate macro photography in ordinary scenes. The effect works by greatly reducing perceived depth of field in the scene. This small, razor-thin depth of field is closely associated with pictures taken at very close distances.

Is this a Lego town or a tilt-shift photo?

A separate article describes a few different ways to achieve tilt-shift effect. One can haul a large-format camera around (bulky, painfully slow, but cheap and truly retro). Photographers using 35mm film and digital SLR cameras can opt for a dedicated tilt-shift lens (still slow, fully manual control, very expensive and rather limiting but great optical quality). Finally, the tilt-shift effect can be reproduced in post-processing with dedicated tilt-shift software.

For the end result, it doesn’t matter much which approach you take for achieving the tilt-shift effect. It’s just simpler and easier to do it later on, in the comfort of your home using your computer and tilt-shift software such as Tilt-Shift Generator. Your creative options are literally endless. Let’s see what kind of images respond well to tilt-shift effect.


Making a Great Tilt-Shift Photo


Making convincing tilt-shift pictures takes practice. While you can technically apply the tilt-shift effect to any image, some pictures were never meant to be turned into miniatures. This is the reason for many enthusiast photographers to abandon tilt-shift technique after trying it on just a few pictures. What is the secret of taking a good tilt-shift picture?




Real macro shots are usually taken with good lighting. While you can sometimes get away with cloudy, gloomy tilt-shift pictures, they likely won’t convey quite the same sense as tilt-shift pictures taken on a bright, sunny day. Indoor artificial lighting? Forget about it; won’t look good in tilt-shift!

Check out an image taken in bright sunny weather. Compare them to a similar image taken in different lighting conditions.




Your choice of a subject is just as important as the lighting. Subjects with too many small details simply do not make believable miniatures. On the other hand, subjects with plain or no background (such as taken against a blue sky) don’t convey the miniature effect because the added blur gets unnoticed. As a general rule, you’ll usually get away with a shot that could be a real miniature – such as a model railway or a Lego town, but portraits of people, bird shots and forests will usually not make a believable miniature.

The following subjects usually look great with the tilt-shift effect applied.


Architecture: The Toy Town


‘Lego town’ shots are among the most popular tilt-shift pictures. Red tiled roofs, cityscapes, tall buildings and high-rises are great subjects, making for great miniatures when post-processed. Tilt the focusing plane, boost saturation a bit, and you’ll get that Lego town look in no time!

Lego or real?


Miniature Railway Models


Trains, railways and railroads make for a great subject for the tilt-shift photographer. By adding a tilt-shift effect, you can easily turn an industrial setting into a cure little model-train scene.

Which one is a real railway model, and which one’s fake?


Scenery or Diorama?


Pastoral scenes with green grass, hills and distant detail also make for a great subject.


People Shots


People don’t usually make a good subject for tilt-shift photography. Of course, there are always exceptions!


Construction Sites


Construction sites with heavy machinery and people in hard hats can be boring, but can be turned into exciting dioramas by applying the tilt-shift effect.


Be Creative!


Try taking your picture at an angle by rotating your camera. In post processing, apply the tilt effect at an angle as well. You’ll be stunned with the result!

With Tilt-Shift Generator, you don’t have to tilt your focusing plane at 90 degrees. Try rotating the tilt for 45 degrees, and see what it can do to your shots!

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