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Orton Effect Photography and Photo Editing – GIMP Tutorial: A Detailed Guide

Updated on May 1, 2011

What do you feel when you look at the above image? It is a dream-like image, where we can see in the fantasy movies and fairy tales. Do you know how to create these kinds of photo effects? Here we will see.


This effect, which I have used here, is Orton effect. The Orton effect is named after photographer Michael Orton who first used the technique. Combining two photographs, one image is sharply focused and over exposed, the other, out of focus and over exposed. The combination of blurring and over exposure would give you the dreamy like mystical effect.


This has traditionally done using slide film. You must use a tripod for this as you have to shoot both the images in the way, which has to be identical. Now you can simply use one image and layer into two different effects. You can use any photo editing software, which allows you to layer the image such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. Here I'm using GIMP.

Note: I have explained everything in detail, which can help even beginners. So it may look long(the process) for others.


Open the Layers window
Open the Layers window

The Tutorial

Open Gimp and open the image, where you have to apply the effect. You can right-click on the image, click OPEN WITH and select GIMP or you can open GIMP, go to FILE, click on OPEN, and then select the image.

The LAYERS and Toolbox windows should open by default. If not, follow these methods.

  • To open the toolbox window, Go to TOOLS >> TOOLBOX or Ctrl+B.
  • To open the LAYERS window, Go to WINDOWS>> Dockable Dialogs>> LAYERS or simply hit Ctrl+L.


Duplicate the Layer
Duplicate the Layer

Creating Duplicated Layers

Now you can see a layer named Background by default inside the LAYERS window. There is a small image icon at the bottom of the LAYERS window. Click on to that icon and create another two additional layers (duplicated, not new layers).

You can duplicate the layers by hitting Shift+Ctrl+D.

The default names BACKGROUND COPY and BACKGROUND COPY# will be appeared for the duplicated layers. If you wish, you can rename them according to you convenience.Iā€™m leaving them as it is here.

Change the mode and set Opacity
Change the mode and set Opacity

Change the MODE and MERGE

Click on the BACKGROUND COPY# layer and select the dropdown menu, which is located on the top of the LAYERS window.

Change the MODE from NORMAL to SCREEN. Set the OPACITY to 80 or whichever the number you feel as appropriate. You can do some experiments and see. Then you will know the exact OPACITY scale. Now you can see some difference in the image (layer).

Select the BACKGROUND COPY# layer and go to LAYER tab on top, click on MERGE DOWN. The BACKGROUND COPY# and BACKGROUND COPY layer will be merged.

Select the Gaussian Blur
Select the Gaussian Blur
Set the Blur Radius and Method
Set the Blur Radius and Method
Select the Overlay Mode
Select the Overlay Mode

Blur the and Overlay the Layers

Now select BACKGROUND COPY layer and go to FILTERS tab on top.


Click on the FILTERS tab and select BLUR, then select GAUSSIAN BLUR. You will get another box named.


Set the radius to 20px or 30px (It depends on the Image size, you can experiment with some values and see the results) and set the BLUR Method to RLE.The layer will be blurred now.


Click on BACKGROUND COPY layer and change the MODE from NORMAL to OVERLAY. You can see amazing change in the image now. It will just give you the Mystical effect instantly.


Click on the LAYERS tab on the top and select MERGE DOWN again. Now the layers will be merged and you can see the completed image on your screen.


Save The IMAGE

Now you can save the image by selecting FILE>>SAVE AS>> Give a unique name to your edited image>> Set the QUALITY to 100 and save.

See the Difference

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Original PhotoOrton Effect with 30px blur radiusOrton Effect with 70px blur radius
Original Photo
Original Photo
Orton Effect with 30px blur radius
Orton Effect with 30px blur radius
Orton Effect with 70px blur radius
Orton Effect with 70px blur radius

Some Orton Effect Images

Mystic Waterfall
Mystic Waterfall
Colorful Dancer
Colorful Dancer
Lemon or bulbs?
Lemon or bulbs?
Night with Lights
Night with Lights
Buddha Statue and Monks
Buddha Statue and Monks
Dashing Peacock
Dashing Peacock
Tulips...
Tulips...
Enchanted Castle
Enchanted Castle
Apples..
Apples..
Rainy Day...
Rainy Day...
Autumn Forest
Autumn Forest
Red Leaves
Red Leaves
Mystic Forest
Mystic Forest
Umbrellaaaaaaa.....
Umbrellaaaaaaa.....
Enchanted Forest
Enchanted Forest
Autumn
Autumn
Cinderella
Cinderella
Colorful Indian Festival
Colorful Indian Festival
Misty day
Misty day
Secret Window
Secret Window
Monks
Monks
Splash of Martini
Splash of Martini
Yellow flowers
Yellow flowers

Tips:

  • You can increase the Brightness and Contrast a bit before starting to add Orton effect. It will increase the attractiveness.
  • Do not apply the effect on any professional portraits or anything that needs to be shown as sharp. It is suitable for the pictures of babies, nature, or the images where you want to show the cuteness.
  • Blur the image details, not sharpness. Otherwise, it will change the image completely into some other. However, the images appearing about are some experiments. Not fit in to any rules.
  • Though the process looks so complicated, once you start editing it will be very easy for you apply them.

Comments

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    • Vishaaa profile imageAUTHOR

      Vishaaa 

      5 years ago from Somewhere on this earth..

      Thanks JanMaklak & Cheeky Girl

    • JanMaklak profile image

      JanMaklak 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Every time I think my photography is getting good I come and find a photographer like you who is head and shoulders above the rest. You could just do visual work and have so many good hubs. Sign up for Red Gage and post your pics there for some extra cash. You could have a link pointing to your stuff here for a double dip. Voted up!!!

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      This is awesome and gets my vote and lots more besides. What a brilliant guide to using GIMP! You should publish this as a book! You'd make a packet! And what sells this is the photos! They are fantastic and bursting with colours! Definitely following you now! Cheers, Vishaaa!

    • Vishaaa profile imageAUTHOR

      Vishaaa 

      7 years ago from Somewhere on this earth..

      Thank you for stopping by in my hub. Great pleasure to receive an appreciation from an expert.

      Thank you again.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      7 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Great photos and instructive too, one of the few techniques in photography of which I was not aware.

      I thought that there was nothing else in photography for me learn, but I just did.

      Thanks for posting

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