Soft-Glow Effect

After learning this lesson, you will learn how to create the effect of shooting with a soft-focus lens.

Soft-focusing lenses include those that have a high coefficient of light scattering in the optical system. This creates a specific effect on the image (called a lens pattern), which consists in the fact that the borders of objects are displayed sharply, and the bright areas are blurred and slightly hazy. In addition, there are chromatic aberrations (especially pronounced at the edges). Some photo lovers like these effects imitating shooting on imperfect film camera models. It is believed that they should give the picture some “warmth”, fill with “luminous air.” At the request of one of the fans, this lesson was written in which an attempt was made to reproduce the semblance of a soft-lens shooting. Let me remind you that it is impossible to accurately reproduce a lens pattern like a monocle. You can try to make only some imitation. The effect is quite simple, but in some cases, you may need more detailed work with layer masks.

Step 1. Open the image and create two copies of the layer by pressing CTRL + J twice.

Step 2. Turn off the visibility of the upper layer for now (by clicking on the eye next to the layer icon). To another copy of the layer, apply the command Filter – Distortion – Distracted Glow (Filter – Distort – Diffuse Glow). Settings are selected individually, for this you have to practice. You can try to apply more Gaussian blur (Gausian Blur).

Step 3. Create a layer mask by clicking on the mask icon in the layers palette.

Then go to the menu Editing – Run Fill (Edit – Fill), or you can press SHIFT + F5. In the dialog box, choose 50% gray.

Our mask will be grayed out, which will reduce the effect of the diffused glow.

If necessary, adjust the opacity of the layer.

Step 4. Now we need to return the clarity of the boundaries of objects. To do this, turn on the visibility of the upper layer and apply the command to it. Filter – Stylization – Edge Selection
(Filter – Stylize – Find Edges). Press SHIFT + CTRL + U to discolor the layer.

Step 5. Invert the image by pressing CTRL + I. Adjust the mask mask with Levels (Levels) and lightly blend with filter Gaussian blur.

Step 6. Now click ALT + CTRL + ~, to load the brightness mask as a selection. Turn off the visibility of the top layer. Now go to the bottom layer with the original image. Press CTRL + J. This action will copy the selected areas to the new layer. He looks like this

Step 7. Place this layer on top of the rest. With this layer, we return the sharpness to the borders of objects and some details. If necessary, adjust the opacity or create a layer mask and adjust the display of the desired areas.

Step 8. Add chromatic aberration. To do this, create a new layer from the flattened content of all layers. To do this, press ALT + SHIFT + CTRL + E. Apply filter Correction of distortion (Filter – Distort – Lens Correction). In it, you can choose the color of the aberration border.

Step 9. Chromatic aberrations have the maximum intensity at the edges of the image, so you need to create a black layer mask (for this you need to hold ALT when clicking on the mask icon). Use a white brush with soft edges to show the effect on the edges of the image.

Source Image:

The result of the lesson:

Now merge the layers and save the result in JPEG format.
I wish you all creative inspiration and success!

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