My latest obsession is with Orton Imagery, or the Orton effect, or Ortonized photos, whatever you want to call it. I found a great introduction to the technique here.
Most of the explanations of the technique cover Photoshop, or Adobe elements, neither of which I own. I went looking for GIMP specific explanations, and found a decent one.
Before I get too far, you really should see some of the excellent work in the Orton Flickr pool. In a nutshell, the Orton effect adds an incredible dreaminess to a photo, immediately elevating it from snapshot to artwork.
So, my point here is to write a click-by-click tutorial for doing this in The GIMP, because, although the one above it decent, it left a lot to be desired for my (previous) level of GIMP experience. This applies to version 2.2.11.
- Open your image in The GIMP. (OK, I hope you can figure that much out).
- On the Dialogs menu, choose Layers.
- Right click on the Background layer and choose duplicate.
- Right click on the Background Copy layer and choose duplicate. You should now have three layers: Background, Backgroupd Copy, and Background Copy #1.
- Set the Mode for Backgroup Copy to Screen. If you click the eye in front of Background Copy #1, you’ll see that your image has an over exposed look to it. Be sure to click on the spot where the eye was to make the top layer visible again.
- Right click on the Background Copy layer again, and choose Merge Down. You will now have just two layers: Background and Background Copy #1.
- Select Background Copy #1 in the layers dialog.
- On the image’s Filters menu, point to Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur…
- Set the Blur Radius for Horizontal and Vertical to somewhere in the 20-30 range. This is something you can play with to see how you like it, and will depend on the resolution of your picture. Also, set the Blur method to RLE (OK, I don’t know why. I can’t tell the difference between RLE and IIR. Just DO IT!).
- Back on the Layers dialog, set Background Copy #1 to Multiply mode, and then play with the opacity to see what you like. Then change the mode to Dodge, and play, then Burn, then back to Multiply, then Soft Light, then Multiply. Anyway, you get the idea. This is where your personal preference will come in. I set mine to Multiply with an 88.6% opacity.
- Save your image as a JPG to post it on-line, or as a GIMP xcf if you want to keep the layers separate and still have the opportunity to play with it.