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Orton Effect

Friday, March 23rd, 2007 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography
 
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Orton Effect

Many years ago, Michael Orton used two images together to create a brand new effect. He achieved it by using one focused and one unfocused image. The two images were then combined together to create the new effect that was aptly named the Orton Effect. Now, you can create this effect by taking two images of the object, one focused and one unfocused. Or, if you’re smart (depending on how you look at it), you can simply do it by using Adobe Photoshop. So, today, I will teach you how to create the famous Orton Effect in Photoshop, all by yourself. Though at the time of origination, the effect was done using film, we will adopt it to digital photography today!

Go ahead and pick out an image that you would like to use during the course of this tutorial. The image I am going to use is given below.

Now, open your image in Photoshop and start by duplicating the background layer. To avoid confusion later on, I would suggest that you name all the layers you make in a way that you will remember. For instance, you can name the copy of the layer “Layer 1” or maybe even “Sharpened Layer,” etc. I am simply going to name my duplicate layer “1,” but choose what’s best for you. Any name will work, just as long as you can later remember what it’s for. Now, without doing anything to this layer, duplicate it yet again. I named the second copy of the main layer “2.” Now, with the layer “2” selected, change the blending mode of this layer to Screen.

Next, merge the layer “2” down with the first copy of the original layer named “1.” To merge down, simply right click on the layer and choose Merge Down. You will then have two layers. One with the original background layer and the other will be the first copy of it (in which I named it “1″). Now, right click on layer “1” and duplicate it yet again. I chose to name this one “3.” Our main intention is to blur this image a bit. Blurring is the essential ingredient of achieving this effect, however, what’s to be noticed is that too much of it will ruin the effect and too little of it will make it impossible for the effect to shine in all its glory.

The tricky part is that here, in this tutorial, the amount of blur we are going to use isn’t fixed. Depending upon the resolution of the image, this will change, which essentially means, the bigger the image, the larger the blur value. I have one last piece of advice about using the blur effect before we go on. The idea is to use enough of it so that the outlines and shapes are still visible, but the details are not. If this confuses you, just play around with the blur slider for awhile and you will see what I mean.

As you can see, for this, we are going to use the Gaussian blur for this effect. To use this, go to Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur. Now, we are almost finished. The only thing that needs to be done is like adding salt to the almost ready dish. Our image is 99 percent finished. What you do with it now is entirely up to your taste and how you want the final image to look. A few things you could do would be to change the opacity of the layer “3” or even alter the brightness, curves, color, etc. Below, you’ll see the image I ended up with.

It looks a bit dreamy, doesn’t it?! Now, this effect will obviously give you different results with different kinds of images. As I say in all my Photoshop articles, try different things. Go through WorldStart’s other Photoshop articles and combine two different techniques together. Play around with sliders and various values. If you’re creative enough, Photoshop will unveil itself as a powerful tool. Happy creativity, everyone!

~ Yogesh Bakshi

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