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I know about depth of field but I have no clue how to set it to my liking.

Is there an add-on for those of us who aren't camera savvy about adjusting focus? Like a visual line to show what is in focus or a measured distance something like in focus from 1 meter to 10 meters?

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  • $\begingroup$ @cegaton Can I drag the line with the mouse? I know about real time rendering but how do I set anything if I don't know how to use it? For example, the distance there's no units, is it inches or meters? There are 8 setting in the panel I can't just put in any value till suddenly I can see something. $\endgroup$ – Eric Huelin Jan 22 '18 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ Related: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/69270/… $\endgroup$ – cegaton Jun 5 '18 at 16:53
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Built-in Tools

In the Properties window's > Camera > Display settings you can enable the visibility for limits. It will show you a line and a crosshair for the focus in the 3d viewport:

enter image description here

If you are using cycles you can see the depth of field in rendered view. To set focus precisely is to use an empty and have that empty be the focus object. Moving the empty will move the focus distance:

enter image description here

There is one point where things are in focus, objects closer or further away will be less sharp (or blurrier). Depth of field is defined roughly as the range (distance) in which "things are acceptably in focus", before they are considered blurry.

What is acceptably in focus is determined by the size of the circles of confusion. Watch this video for decent explanation of circles of confusion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdq65lEYFOM

The depth of field depends on 3 things:

  • Lens size - Shorter lenses will have more depth of field. Selective focus is easier to achieve with longer lenses.

  • F-stop - Smaller values for f-stop (a wider aperture) will make the circles of confusion larger before and after the focus distance, resulting in less depth of field. In blender you can set the f-stop to values that could not be achieved in real life, where it would be impossible to get a lens with an f-stop of 0.01. a larger value for the f-stop will result in larger depth of field.

  • Focus distance - The closer the objects are to the lens, the less depth of field a lens will have, if you look at images taken with macro lenses you will see that is focus is critical.

Another variable to consider is the sensor size. Using a small sensor requires the use of shorter lenses, making selective focus harder to achieve. Larger sensors will require longer lenses, making it easier to get a narrower depth of field.

There are no tools to visualize the depth of field in blender as far as I know (other than through the camera view). But there are plenty of depth of field charts and calculators online, and a multitude of apps for that.


Depth of Field Utilities

This Add-on allows to visualize the Depth of Field limits (near limit & far limit) directly in the viewport:

enter image description here

Once the Add-on is enabled, select the camera, open up the Properties region of any 3d View (N), scroll all the way down to the bottom and enable the visualization. From there you can fine tune all relevant properties of the selected camera as well as using the 3d Cursor to set the focus distance:

enter image description here

Notice that you can disable the instructions to hit Esc in the Add-on Preferences if needed.

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  • $\begingroup$ F-stop 128 AND F-stop Number 0.2? What is all that about? The distance is the obvious part, it's the rest I don't know what each setting does. You are explaining distance when I want to know how to set range, not the same thing. $\endgroup$ – Eric Huelin Jan 27 '18 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ The f stop on the bottom left you can safely ignore, it is for the viewport only. The F-stop on the aperture section is the one for the camera and the one that gets rendered. The f-stop works like it does on a real camera, the smaller the value, the less depth of field. Make a google search for "lens circle of confusion". $\endgroup$ – cegaton Jan 27 '18 at 4:00
  • $\begingroup$ "lens circle of confusion" I been through this before and end up with the same problem, I have to learn to calculate the distance from the lens to the sensor... in a virtual camera? Thanks for your help, but it's hopeless for me. $\endgroup$ – Eric Huelin Jan 27 '18 at 5:29
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @cegaton To me it's more like teamwork, you helped me a lot with testing and also had great ideas to improve it so it feels great to me adding this to your nice answer :) if that's ok to you of course, otherwise let me know. I'm going to write an answer to this question: blender.stackexchange.com/q/69270/3710 and I think we can link both so it's some kind of team-up contribution :D $\endgroup$ – p2or Jun 5 '18 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ @p2or I turned into a community wiki! $\endgroup$ – cegaton Jun 5 '18 at 16:44

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