My version of an Orton effect

The original in-focus frame and the OOF frame:

Two recent threads from David Wallace and Mike Friel mentioned Orton effects. I did some back in film days and tried a few digital versions using an in-focus and an out-of-focus shot. I hadn’t done anything with them for a long time but dug out one where I had the two source files and worked with them again to create a better version. It’s tedious but I wanted more control than I had achieved before, and I’m happy with the results. I’ll have to find some subjects to play with it more.

Specific Feedback Requested

All comments welcome!

Technical Details

Is this a composite: Yes
Canon 5D2, 24-70 f/2.8 at f/11, ISO 400, 1/125 and another one shot well OOF, layered in PS. Some slightly tedious steps – I can write a tutorial if anyone is interested.

The advantage for me of the actual OOF component done in camera has been that I haven’t been able to recreate the lovely glow if I just do a focus blur on a copy of the in-focus layer. But maybe I haven’t tried hard enough.

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I posted another example of what I see as an Orton effect but it’s really more my memory than what I think you were looking to recreate. that said, I don’t see this as Orton, either. Maybe what I remember from the old PS actions is not at all a true Orton either. Quien Sabe’

The Orton effect was created with a slide sandwich of an in-focus and an OOF image, giving a ghostly effect. Any digital representations of the original that we see today were done with scans.

The “old PS actions” that you refer to were nowhere close to the slide sandwich effect. There are many filter effects that give lovely treatments to a single image, such as Dream Glow and attempts to recreate a classic soft focus lens. Some combinations of effects are claimed to be “Orton effects” but they fall short of the real thing. I think it’s a misuse of a term, similar to “bokeh”, which has been re-defined by its misuse to mean the shallowness of DOF.

I’ve just started to look at the TK effects, and they are lovely, but don’t recreate the real thing in my attempts so far. I think we can come closer by combining two digital captures, one in-focus and one OOF. That is what I have done in this post. The result can be modified quite bit in the PS stack. But even this can’t fully replicate the slide sandwich look.

Failing to replicate it, I think the method I use gives a unique and interesting look that can’t be obtained from a single capture.