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Depth of Field and Bokeh Effect

5th May 2016 - By 

Depth of Field and Bokeh Effect with VrayforCinema4D we hope this scene helps you get to grips with the Bokeh Effect. If you are still learning what the Bokeh effect is! then here we go.

A shallow depth of field is important!

The area within the depth of field appears sharp, while the areas in front of and beyond the depth of field appear blurry. In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. This is a general rule of thumb when it comes to photography but it also applies in the 3D world. The basic formula for shallow Depth of Field is to get as small of an f-stop setting as you can reasonably get away with in your photo.

The smaller the f-stop, the larger the aperture. The aperture basically works the same way your pupils do, the more dilated it is, the more background is blurred. A good technique for getting shallow DOF is to start with the smallest f-stop your lens will allow. 2.8 or better works well for this style. A good way to experiment with a digital camera is to set your camera to its smallest f-stop, take a picture, increase the f-stop by about 1 stop, take another and compare results. I suggest that you try the exact method the same way with the camera in your 3D program.

Depth of Field and Bokeh Effect

Bokeh Effect

The term comes from the Japanese word boke, which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji the “blur quality”. The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility. The term bokashi is related, meaning intentional blurring or gradation.

So you may ask your self how do i get that polygonal shaped blur?

The shape of the aperture has an influence on the subjective quality of bokeh as well. For conventional lens designs (with bladed apertures), when a lens is stopped down smaller than its maximum aperture size (minimum f-number), out-of-focus points are blurred into the polygonal shape formed by the aperture blades. This is most apparent when a lens produces hard-edged bokeh. For this reason, some lenses have many aperture blades and/or blades with curved edges to make the aperture more closely approximate a circle rather than a polygon.

In the screen shot above you can see my camera setting’s for the number of blades the more blades you add the rounder the shape will turn out and the less you add the more polygonal the shape will become.

Here is an example of the bokeh effect i took with my digital camera on a christmas tree from yesterday! Also the day before i was out in the countryside taking some beautiful photos of the landscape’s and experimenting with the tilt shift effect and HDR toning! most 3D programs these days give you the option to export out at a 32 bit radiance file format which gives you greater control of your 3D render. I have planned to write a tutorial about this if you wanting to get more out of your renders or if you are exploring creating your own high dynamic range images to light your scenes.


I hope this has been an interesting read for you and maybe you have learned some things! For now have a wonderful Christmas.

You can grab the Cinema 4D file right here:

Download the file here

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