I watched Dollhouse (binged rather, I also finished watching it the other day - both series) for the first time the other day, and the first seasons nifty tilt-shift title sequence reminded me I wanted to have a crack at replicating the popular tilt-shift look used here and elsewhere. This is the result of that:
Tilt-Shift Effect (+ free After Effects project!) from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.
Now, I've seen lots of tutorials about the place to do this, but most of them go about it in a way that to me seems a bit rubbish, that is, they fade the blur in rather than increasing the intensity of the blur. What I've done is create an easily adjustable gradient layer (a pre-comped mask) that controls the amount of blur on your image.
To use the project, import your clip and drop it into the "Footage" comp. In the Depth comp, turn off the focus visibility, and use this to set up the mask on the layer "Blurred", but don't forget to turn on the visibility for the layer "Focus" again once you're done. Now you should have the tilt-shift effect visible in it's full glory in the "Mini-iser" comp, so you can export your video away!
I won't go into a full run-down of how it works here, but I'm making the project freely available for you to play around with. I'd love to hear from anyone using it, and maybe even see some examples. If the response is good I might be inclined to throw some more bits up in the future :o)
Oh, and you can download the project here.
Note that I've used the lens blur filter, this is sloooooow to render (should be about a minute to render a second, but maybe my machine isn't too hot these days!), but looks so much better it's definitely worth the wait! Also, in my example, the blur flattens out at a certain point, technically this isn't accurate, but at the level it does this it doesn't really matter, if you don't want to in your own project it's simply a matter of fiddling with the mask feathering.
The music used here is a rough mix of a track called Plateau by the excellent Silver Pyre, check out his music on the website and maybe have a look at some of the other video pieces on here and my vimeo channel using his music. The video has been used by kind permission of Guillermo Soto, check out his stuff on Vimeo too :o)