I hope this helps as I tried to break down the steps as detailed as possible. It is a different method that is what you outlined, it excludes the gradient. I hope you can achieve to look the are wanting, slightly less complicated.
Below is the picture that I feel needs a stronger focus area, and a stronger sense of depth.
Opening the image in Photoshop, I went to Filter > Blur > Field Blur.
The Field Blur dialog is opened, as shown below. As you can see, there is one pin on the image already, with the default blur set at 15 px.
Start setting the focus pins, as shown below. Take your cursor over the image, and you will see the pin tool. You want to set the focus pins at 0px. This will eliminate the blur, and set a focus. You can add additional pins for focus, as you will see later in the steps.
Next, you want to set the next pins to apply your blur. As you can see, I have began to add in the pins where I want to apply a depth of field blur. I have set my pins at 30 px, you can adjust as needed.
You can see all the pins that I set below.
Finally when you are done setting your pins, make sure you select "OK" in the top tool bar. This will apply all your pins.
Please post back with any questions. I hope this quick trick helps you,
Ok after relooking at the Photoshop I loaded I found it to be Photoshop Element 10 instead of the Photoshop 8 i originally stated..( I purchased the wrong help book)....I actually found what you have shown me by accident....but I am still interested in how to reset the gradient tool to unblur. It has to be somewhere. Also why does the black blob show up? Thank you for the vidoes they help alot.
Hi there! Because the forum you originally posted in is for beginners trying to learn the basics of Photoshop, I moved your question to the Photoshop Elements forum, where you'll get more specialized help.