Some time back, BoingBoing highlighted a photographer who makes fake miniatures of real photographs. The photos are of real scenes, but have been altered in such a way as to make them look like they are model railroad sets, or something similar. The results can be quite astounding, and fool the brain into thinking it’s seeing something that isn’t real
This effect mimics the tilt-shift method of photography, or the effect achieved with tilt-shift lenses. The images appear to have a narrow depth of field, similar to what one might get with macro shots of a small model. The terminology can get confusing, because "tilt-shift" is used equally to refer to photos taken with actual tilt-shift lenses and to the fake miniature effect created with Photoshop.
To create this effect in Photoshop or some similar editor, part of the photo is masked, then blurred, while the remainder of the image remains crisp. Colors are exaggerated for effect. This works best if the subject is below the camera, giving the feeling of looking down upon the scene. Christopher Phinn has created a great tutorial for altering images with this effect using Photoshop.
There are several Flickr groups dedicated to tilt-shift photography – some to the real thing taken with actual tilt-shift lenses, and some dedicated to fake miniatures. As with any group, some of the images really look like models, and some not so much. Another good collection of images can be found here.
Of course, I couldn’t let this pass without trying my hand at it. Below are my first two attempts, each followed by the original image. The images are a bit larger than I would normally posted because the effect is more pronounced in the larger images.
Original (or close to the original):