No announcement yet.

Question on how to create a Soft Spot/Soft Focus effect

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Question on how to create a Soft Spot/Soft Focus effect


    I was wondering if someone can advise on how to create a Soft Spot/Soft Focus/Defusse effect on an image? Let's saying using Photoshop (or similar software). Want to use this on Romantic shots or some wedding shots.

    An example on the net

    Thank you in advance.


  • #2
    Sorry if this isn't what you meant, but here's what I tried quickly: (I'm using the GIMP)

    I opened the original image, saved it as a second photo, then I went into Layers and duplicated the original layer. Then on the second layer, I applied Gaussian blur at about 3 pixels to the entire image. After that, I took the eraser tool and erased the the little girl so that she showed through from the orginal layer and wouldn't be blurry. then I played around with Curves a bit to get the highlights the way I wanted them to look.
    I attached the before and after images.

    - David
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Hello again, Anon...

      Here's one method (in Photoshop) similar to what David described. (I used the same picture as David [thanks! David] )

      1. Duplicate the original layer (name it BLUR)
      2. Apply a Gaussian blur to the BLUR layer. You decide how much looks good.
      (this will make it appear that the blurring is gone)
      4. Set WHITE as the foreground color; choose the Airbrush tool and set the opacity "low" to 15-25% or so.
      5. Start painting where you want the photo to blur. (Don't're painting on the layer mask, not the layer itself.)

      Paint "heavy white" where you want it blurred a lot. "Light white" where you want it blurred lightly.

      If you blur an area you didn't mean to, switch to black and paint over that area. If you decide to make it blur again, paint it white.

      There are other variations on this theme, but this is a fundamental method.

      Hope this helps...

      Attached Files


      • #4
        Hi Anon,

        I found this technique in PCPhoto a long time ago and use it quite often:

        1. Duplicate image (to save original)
        2. Apply Gaussian Blur at radius 10.
        3. Fade by 50%.
        4. Unsharp Mask: 100-200%, Radius 2, Threshold 12.
        5. Increase Saturation by 10-15% (since the blurring reduces the saturation somewhat.)

        Hope this helps,


        • #5
          Here's the results of the technique I mentioned (also using David's photo). I only used a Gaussian blur of 4 (instead of 10) because the photo was so small.

          Attached Files


          • #6
            I like this effect. Thanks for the posts on this, I hope there's more. Here's one that real simple.
            Duplicate background layer and blur it heavily. Probably more than you think...
            Change the blend mode to screen.

            Attached Files


            • #7
              Another option: duplicate the background layer twice. Turn off the uppermost layer, target the middle layer, then blur (I used gaussian blur at 3 (small file). Target top layer, make layer mask and fill with black. Then paint white (low opacity) on areas you want to make sharper. Increased contrast to 10. I like the layer masks because you can always tweak the results by painting with black or white.

              Attached Files


              • #8
                I liked Mig's technique, only I used the overlay mode on the duplicate layer. I flattened the image, duplicated again and made a selection with the lasso tool. I feathered the selection by about 20 pixels and clicked "Add a mask". I then applied a Gausian blur to the underling layer to give the selected focus effect.

                (image is in honor of the cat thread in the Salon )
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Hi, I too like Mig's technique. I have however used Katrin Eismann's soft focus effect on a few wedding pictures and have been happy with the results. The method entails...
                  Making a duplicate copy of your image setting the blend mode to screen. It will lighten the picture up a great deal - but you will later paint the color where you want back in. Then go to Filter, Blur - Gaussian Blur and set it to what you like - generally high setting above 10 looks nice. Then adjust the layers opacity to about 70 or less so the color is not too bright. I then add a layer mask. Choose the airbrush tool making sure the color is black and the brush is soft and opacity set to about 15-25. Then paint right back over the image to get the effect you want. You can chose to omit the edges or just focus on the faces. I have attached a photo using Karin's method.

                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Wrong Before & After... Oops!

                    Take Two!!
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      Here is a nice tutorial that outlines all of the above techniques.



                      • #12
                        PS Actions - get 'em while they're hot


                        Very informative tutorial, complete w/downloadable .atn set (3 actions), which happen to be compatible w/PS 5.5 and up. Greatly appreciate you posting this link + the show-n-tell example.

                        What a terrific thread this has become. Thanks to all who have contributed.



                        • #13
                          Wow, what a terrific collective of suggestions. You guys are wonderful. I will try each of the suggestions out one by one, looking at the result images already impressed me enough.

                          Thank you all once again and I am sure glad to have found this site. Your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks heaps!

                          Best regards,


                          • #14
                            Mig and Greg...

                            Thanks for the great ideas.

                            I liked them both.



                            Related Topics