'Orton' Effect Tutorial

I have been asked many time about the post processing of my images, and although I have always stated that I take no more than about ten minutes on each image, on occasion this includes an 'Orton Effect' being applied.

I know that this is a manipulation of the original image, but, I feel on some images it adds that 'pop' that is missing in the finished image. I have several friends who would be appalled by this manipulation, but I am pretty comfortable with the reasons why I do it, and it can raise the profile of an image significantly in some cases... decide for yourself...

I am a great believer in simplicity, and this is the easiest and most straightforward tutorial requiring no great knowledge of layers or advanced degree of Photoshop expertise. I have done this in Photoshop CS6, but have been doing it since Photoshop CS4 and it is possible on other platforms.

Stage 1

Open the original image and go to 

Image - Duplicate 

Windows - Arrange - 2-up Vertical

This will give you side by side images with the copy image on the left of the page.

(all Images will enlarge on clicking) 

Stage 2

Image - Apply Image (opacity100%) - Blending mode = Screen - OK

This will overexpose the image on the Left as seen below 

Stage 3

Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur - Approx (10-25 pixels) - OK

This will blur the image on the left as seen below, I generally use about 15 pixels

Stage 4

Using the move tool (top of the tool bar) + Shift - use your mouse to drag and drop the left image over the right image and release making both images look similar, as below

Stage 5

Close the left (copy) image, as above

Stage 6

In the layers panel on the right of the image (below)

blending mode = multiply - opacity 70% (personal choice)

The preference for the opacity is down to how much effect you want, as you will see this affects the saturation and reduces the brightness of the image, so it is down to preference, but, you can selectively bring this back in the next stage.

Stage 7

Eraser tool - (50-80%) Choose areas to de-blur ensuring soft feather, and use a lower opacity and larger brush for larger areas

This should be used selectively to de-blur specific areas of the image as the overall blur can be altered in the opacity slider.

Stage 8

Once you are satisfied with the results go to 

Layer - Flatten Image - File - Save

Below is the final result alongside the original, with the 'Orton' image on the left of the screen. for a larger image see here

The original tutorial that I used and modified to this is by  Darwin Wiggett  and in his tutorial there is an option on how to apply this effect in film cameras.

I realise these effects could be done in various ways, but this is what works for me... I have since saved it as a photoshop action and can be applied with one action.

Below are some before and after examples of this effect in use, I realise it is limited in its application, and works best with landscape images, particularly of flowers and verdant green images of trees etc, but for the time it takes and the 'pop' it gives some images, it may be worth a go.

Please contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or with links of attempts at this effect... 

Orton Images on the Left