Tilt-shift photography is fascinating, and can be used as an easy way to fake miniatures. Tilt-shift lenses let you focus on a single part of the photo (tilt), while other parts are blurred (shifted) out. This creates an optical illusion which makes the photo look like a miniature model. It works especially well when you photograph scenes from above the ground, with people, buildings or other man-made objects. The outer edges of the image is blurred, so that the eye is fooled into believing that the part in focus is a miniature.
The good news is that you don’t actually need a tilt-shift lens to get the effect. The same principle can be added in Photoshop/GIMP. In Photoshop do the following:
Or, if you want a quick and easy way to create tilt-shift, go to http://tiltshiftmaker.com/. The results you get there are actually quite good, though it is easier to get a more precise focus using Photoshop/GIMP.
The same technique can also be used for videos. Check out Keith Loutits website, he’s a man that pushes tilt-shift videos to the limit.