Soft focus without a soft focus lens

‹ Centered linear motion blur in GIMP | Maximum (and Minimum) filter in The GIMP ›

Analog, added during exposure

Method Comments
Soft Focus Lens I have no plans to go out and look for specifically for a soft focus lens
Grease on the front of the lens or on the filter I don't have a spare filter to try this with at the moment. Maybe I'll try this once I get a better protective filter to replace my current crap one.
Stocking over the front of the lensHaven't tried this (yet)
Breathe on lens
Interesting idea for cold weather

Digital, added during postprocessing

Method Steps Involved
Forrest Croce
  1. Small "Maximum" Photoshop filter
  2. Small Gaussian Blur
  3. Small Motion Blur
  4. Reduce Opacity (normal mode)
Pretty good looking result. GIMP's motion blur needs a workaround. Value Propagate can substitute for Maximum here.
Eric R. Jeschke
  1. Large Gaussian Blur
  2. Reduce Opacity (screen mode)
  3. Levels (on both layers)
Fails to preserve contrast. Not automated (levels step is subjective).

Tom Nieman (link intentionally broken by author, you need to turn off javascript or click Effects then Soft Focus)

  1. Large Gaussian Blur
  2. Very Low Opacity (normal mode)
Fails to preserve contrast. Fails to brighten the image.
Cliff Smith
  1. Large Gaussian Blur
  2. Levels to brighten blurred layer
  3. Moderatlely High Opacity (normal mode)
Exceedingly and painfully blurry
PCPhoto (via jeaniesa)
  1. Gaussian Blur (radius 10)
  2. Fade(opacity?) 50%
  3. Unsharp Mask Radius 2 Threshold 12
  4. Increase saturation
A little bit blurry. Improved somewhat by using the soft focus layer as a layer mask for itself and switching to screen mode.
GIMP:Script-Fu:Photo Effects:Style:Soft Focus
  1. Just use the menu option
Looks similar to PCPhoto image with the screen mode and layer mask improvements I suggested. Fails to move lights into dark areas.
Tim Gerla
  1. Downloadable GIMP script
Looks good, also adds sepia, haven't looked into how it works yet

various methods compared here as well

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