The Orton Effect is named after Michael Orton who first used the technique and is a sandwich of two images, one in focus the other out of focus. With the advent of Digital Photography and Image editing programs, the Orton Effect has been done for years in various ways, but it does come down to the right image and personal taste.
What you will be doing is very similar to THIS tutorial. It should also be easily done in Elements, PSP, The Gimp etc., I can’t remember where I first saw this done, but it has been around for a couple of years, and others have either expanded it or taken away from it.
You can practise on the image below if you like, copyright is mine etc.,
For this to work on other images, the image should have any adjustments needed already done – including being sharpened i.e. print ready.
Open the image, duplicate it and close the original. Double click on the layer to unlock it and when the dialogue box appears, rename the layer *Original* Now you are going to add a levels adjustment layer, you could use a curves adjustment layer if you wanted – either way, you are using an adjustment layer so that you have the ability to go back and change the settings later if you feel like it. Add a levels adjustment layer by clicking on the little ying yang symbol at the bottom of the layers palette. Slide the middle slider to the left till it reads 1.35 see image below.
Click on the b/ground (original) layer and duplicate it using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + J and then repeat again. Name the middle layer Multiply and the top layer Blur. Click on the levels adjustment layer and repeat the same process i.e. you should have 3 adjustment layers. Drag the adjustment layers down till you have one image, one adjustment layer see image below.
Next you are going to Clip each of the adjustment layers with the image layer below. Click on one of the adjustment layers to make it active and use the keyboard shortcut
Ctrl + Alt + G to Create Clipping Mask. See image below.
Click on the Blur layer and then go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur I entered an amount of 5 pixels and then took the opacity of the layer down to 60%. Click on the Multiply layer and change the blend mode to Multiply and I took the opacity of the layer down to 65%. If you have any part of the image that you would like to stay sharp, add a layer mask to the blur layer and brush them back in. I added a layer mask and brought back the eye and the black thing on the Rosella’s beak. See image below.
I’ve added a Hue/Sat layer at the top of the stack and boosted the Master by 10, I then inverted the layer mask Ctrl + i and used a soft edged brush to paint back in the bird. You can go through and adjust anthing you want, and you may end up with something similar to the final image below – and then the comparison image. Have fun