- Create a dreamy Soft Focus Orton effect
- Open the image and duplicate the layer
- Add soft focus effect
- Change layer mode
- Add another layer and apply the Soft Light mode
Create a dreamy Soft Focus Orton effect
The Orton effect produces a dreamy soft focus that can make a relatively uninteresting photo more impressive.
Traditionally, Orton’s photography was a darkroom technique of sandwiching two exposures of the same scene, usually one out of focus. The resulting image was soft and surreal with slightly unnatural lighting.
It’s easy to recreate this style of photography in the digital age with GIMP. The digital technique is closely related to the darkroom process in that more than two or more images of the same scene are placed together using a layer palette.
Open the image and duplicate the layer
Go to the section to open a photo File > Open and navigate to the folder on your computer where the image is stored. Select an image and click the button Open .
To duplicate the background layer with two versions of the image, go to the page Low > Double layer or click the Duplicate Layer button at the bottom of the Layers palette. , If the Layers palette is not visible, go to Windows > Embedded Dialogs > layers .
Add soft focus effect
To apply soft focus, click the top image layer in the Layers palette to make sure it’s selected, then go to Filters > fade away > Gaussian Blur . This opens the Gaussian Blur dialog box, an easy-to-use tool. Make sure the chain icon next to the horizontal and vertical input controls is intact – click it to make sure the blur is applied evenly in both vertical and horizontal directions.
Use the arrows next to one of the two input controls to change the amount of Gaussian blur applied to the image. The amount will depend on image size and personal taste, so be prepared to experiment with this setting.
The image on the layer is now clearly in focus, but doesn’t look very impressive. However, the next step is crucial.
Change layer mode
Look at the top of the palette layers . You should see a label with the name mode with the word Normal to the right of it. After making sure the top layer is active, click on the word usual and choose Screen in the drop-down menu that opens.
The image immediately takes on a soft and dreamy look and can look exactly the way you want it. However, it may look a little light or lack contrast.
Add another layer and apply the Soft Light mode
If you find that the image is too light or lacks contrast, there is a simple solution that includes another layer with a different layer mode setting.
First, duplicate the top layer of the image, which has a Gaussian blur applied to it. Now click on the middle layer in the layers palette and change the layer mode to Soft Light. You will see that the contrast increases as a result. If the effect is too strong for your taste, click on the slider cover , just below the Layer Mode control, and drag it to the left until the image is exactly the way you want it. You can also duplicate the Soft Light layer if you want to further increase the contrast.
Feel free to experiment by duplicating more layers and trying different layer modes and amounts of Gaussian blur. These random experiments can lead to interesting effects that you can apply to other photos.