Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photoshop lesson: Digital Orton effect using a flower photo

This is a nice flower photo, but hardly outstanding:

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

The original photo was okay, but I was feeling creative, so I applied the digital Orton effect, and this was the result:

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430, altered in Photoshop

Here is how, using Photoshop:
In my experience the Orton technique almost always works well with flowers, but try it on other subjects like landscapes, animals or people to get some interesting and sometimes wacky effects.
  • Open the image you plan to use. Make a copy of the image with Image>Duplicate. Close the original (I never work with originals when I’m playing around in Photoshop).
  • Open the dialog box under Image>Apply Image. Choose “Screen” from the menu of choices and set the opacity to 100%. This simulates overexposure.
  • Now make a copy of this image with Image>Duplicate.
  • Open the dialog box for gaussian blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur). Play around with the Radius setting in this until you get an effect you like. Usually you will get the best results in the range of 15 to 50 – the higher the number the blurrier the photo gets, but blurrier is not always better.
  • Choose the “Move” tool from the toolbar and, holding down the “Shift” key on the keyboard, drag the blurry image on top of the other one and align them. Then release the mouse and “Shift” buttons.
  • Open the layers palette (press F7). Choose “Layers” to open a menu og blending modes and choose “Multiply”.
  • Finally, flatten the image (Ctrl+E), and voilà! You have a digital Orton image.
Here are instructions with photos.

Here is another example:

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430, altered in Photoshop

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