How to Create an Orton Effect in Photoshop

How to Create an Orton Effect in Photoshop

Photoshop Post Processing Techniques

The Orton effect was developed by Michael Orton in the 1980s, and is still a popular post-processing technique for landscapes. Although this technique has evolved, the concept of the Orton Effect remains the same: apply a glowing dreamy effect to an image. According to the author, the effect is used to imitate the look of watercolor paintings in real life pictures by taking two photographs: one sharp and one overexposed (softly blurred), and merging them together to achieve this dreamy look.

Today, you will learn how to easily make the Orton effect in Photoshop to be used on any image you like. But before we start, if you want to follow this tutorial exactly as described, please download the following image from Pexels: Download

Step 1

Open your image in Photoshop.

Step 2

Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer. Name this layer as “Orton Base” and click OK.

Step 3

Again, go to Layer > Duplicate Layer. Name this layer as “Details” and click OK.

Step 4

Hide the “Details” layer by clicking on the eye icon next to the layer's name.

Step 5

Select the “Orton Base” layer and go to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.

Step 6

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the desired amount of glow you want for your image and click OK. In this case, as is a big image I will set the Radius to 4.

Step 7

With the “Orton Base” layer selected, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast. Name this new layer as “Brightness/Contrast” and click OK.

Step 8

In the Brightness/Contrast properties panel, set the Brightness to 5 and the Contrast to 25.

Step 9

Select the “Details” layer and click on the eye icon next to the layer's name to make it visibe.

Step 10

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass. Set the Radius to 1 and click OK.

Step 11

Lastly, set the blend mode of the “Details” layer to Soft Light.

Some Final Notes

Due the technique we've used in Photoshop to make the Orton Effect, you can change the glow of your image easily. Expand the effects of the Smart Object layer “Orton Base” and double click on the “Gaussian Blur” effect. This will bring the Blur window where you can set any Radius that you want and achieve different looks.


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