How to Make Your Own Lens Dirt

Bokeh is a free collection of 75 HD lens dirt textures for use in your HitFilm projects.

Interested in how I did it? Want to make your own at home? Let’s get started!

You will need:
  • Camera capable of shallow depth of field (I used the Canon T3i with an 18-135mm lens)
  • Several CD cases
  • Strong flashlight(s)
Part 1 – The Setup

You’re going to want to do this in a dark room, and for me the place that happened to fill this criteria was my bathroom. Although it was uncomfortable to set up (I was kneeling on tile to take the pictures), it worked well. I put my camera up against the mirror and the empty CD case on the edge of the sink.

Camera on Sink

Part 2 – Taking the Pictures

I dirtied up the CD front panel with fingerprints, dirt, and water that I allowed to dry. Zoom your lens in until the case fills the frame, turn off the lights, and shine the flashlight at an angle into the lens. I found that splashing the case with various amounts of water and then un-focusing the camera worked really nicely. The water reflected the light and created good looking bokehs.

Flashlight on Camera

Part 3 – Adding Variety

Putting the light at an angle might result in parts of the CD case left in darkness; fill these in with another flashlight. I discovered that different lights created various colors. My iPhone, for whatever reason, was golden and added a more shimmery rainbow look to the droplets. My LED flashlight was the strongest and covered the most of the lens. Try experimenting with distance as well: move the camera right up next to the case instead of zooming in, or back up the flashlight so that it fills the whole frame. Changing the focal length can make your bokehs bigger or smaller.

Part 4 – The Edit

Import your photos onto your computer to take a closer look at them. In some cases, the camera lens writing or artifacts from the flashlight were visible in the pictures. I just painted or blurred them out using Photoshop.

And that’s it! You can get a substantial amount of variety out of several CD cases and a few flashlights. Just keep changing the variables: focal length, amount of water, distance to camera, type/direction of light. Let me know if you come up with any other tips and I’ll be sure to add them here. Thanks for reading!

1 Comment

  1. Mark

    Great Tutorial 🙂


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