and I wanted to control the amount of Gaussian Blur with this gradient...
I would get this...
Note I used a line to express the spread of the blur and an O to show approximately what it would be like on an average photograph. I just wanted to say that considering the picture looks like some sort of symbol but I can't remember if it means something bad or not, even though I wasn't using it in that way.
I have read books and tutorials showing you how to create a depth of field effect like this but they all simulate it in a way that is fake. I am talking about the procedure of copying a layer and putting the copy above the original...putting a mask on it similar to the gradient above, and blurring the copy (not the mask). This will create the effect, but it will leave edges and other things showing making it not look real (to me anway) like the image below.
So I went and created my own filter to actually dynamically change a setting within a filter on a per-pixel basis. This creates a better (if not true) depth of field effect like the third picture from the top. I know that Digital Confusion and other plugins for programs like Lightwave use this but use the depth buffer instead. I was just wondering (sorry for the long explanation before the actual reason for the post) if Photoshop already has this feature of controlling every setting like this and I am just missing something, or if it doesn't.
Here is another test.
Source image (I figured grabbing this wallpaper from XP wasn't copyright infringement or anything since it is given with Windows)...
Gradient (or alpha/mask, whatever you would like to call it)...
My filter (true)...
I would like to point out that I still have to fix the filter considering the edges between focused and non-focused are bleeding through, that the crossover line is showing in the true version, and that I know that the picture already has some narrow depth of field...I was just trying to exaggerate it to show the effect. Also you probably won't see much of a difference, the fake one may even look better...but if you look closely you will see certain edges showing through. If I used an image with higher contrast areas you would be able to see the difference.
This would be useful (if not cool) to be able to control every last setting (or value) of a filter. For example using any of the Artistic filters and being able to control every setting with a mask\alpha or another image. Even all color channels not just a grayscale to control the setting. In the Save for Web plugin you can actually use a grayscale image for controlling the amount of compression across the image. This is actually what sparked this idea along with the fact that Digital Confusion does this as well within Lightwave.
Thank you for your time and helping me.