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Photography Question 
Melissa A. Caudill

Photoshop: Sharp Vs. Blur Effect

I have seen these portraits where the everything in the picture is diffused-glowing except for the face. It looks really cool. I am going to play around. But, if I can't get it, any suggestions would help! Thanks!

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9/6/2006 7:08:46 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  There's a diffused glow filter and a gaussian blur filter, so I'm not sure which one you're talking about. But with either one, the basic way to do it is to use the marquee tool, or use the lasso tool to select the areas to apply the filter without doing it to the face.
Either way, you use either tool to select just the face. Then use inverse (which you'll find under 'select' in the title bar at the top of the page... file, edit, select...).
Then select all the photo but the face area. Then apply whichever filter you're talking about.

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9/6/2006 9:09:10 AM

Melissa A. Caudill   Thanks alot Greg for the fast and detailed response!

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9/6/2006 9:55:51 AM

Jane M
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/30/2005
  Another way of doing it with more control and ability to adjust afterwards is to duplicate the layer, apply a gaussian blur to it (and screen blend maybe), and then create a mask so that it only affects the non-face areas. You can use different opacities for the mask so that the transition from sharp to blurred is gradual (can do this with feather in Greg's method too). Also (there's 99 ways to do anything in PS) instead of the mask, you could just erase the duplicated blurred layer over the face area, again using different opacities on the eraser to blend it in.
A lot of people also use high settings for noise reduction software (such as Noise Ninja, Noiseware, etc.), which will leave most of the face very soft/blurred but leave the eyes/mouth/nostrils/eyebrows sharp.

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9/6/2006 11:48:12 AM

Fritz Geil   If you are looking at portraits taken by a professional photographer, then the effect was created in-camera (actually in front of the lens...). This is done by attatching a center clear diffusion filter. They are very easy to make: take a clear or skylight (1A) filter, lay it on a table, place a dime in the center, then paint around it with clear nail polish; just before the polish is dry, lightly brush it again to make small brush marks in the polish. The next time you want to see this effect in a portrait you take, put the filter on, and take the picture with the widest or next to widest aperature your lens offers (f 2.8 or f4 on an f2.8 lens). There are also factory built filters for the same purpose built by Kodak, Tiffen, and others.

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9/12/2006 1:08:04 PM

Melissa A. Caudill   Thanks all for the detailed responses! Hopefully, I can get it too work!

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9/12/2006 3:16:28 PM

stacey c. damon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/12/2004
  Obviously this is an editing question..however I would like to say that I use a lens for this effect...its called a Sima soft focus lens, you can find them on ebay pretty inexpensivley. I am not sure if my betterphoto gallery has any examples but if you go to my website and got to the personal gallery you will see dancers and in family some of the kids I used this lens...just another option. Be well!

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9/12/2006 4:25:58 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005

If you want to save money there is an old photographers trick ; put a little vasoline on the UV filter, spread it around, but not too thick.
Interesting results. The downfall is you can not reproduce the exact effect again, but you will be close..and, you have to clean your UV filter. LOL

All the best,


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9/12/2006 7:06:04 PM

Melissa A. Caudill   Thanks alot everyone! There are several options. I will succeed in one way. Thanks so much!

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9/15/2006 4:53:04 PM

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