1. Technology

Auto FX Dreamy Photo

Introduction to the Free Dreamy Photo Software from Auto FX

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User interface of Dreamy Photo

Dreamy Photo offers a focused interface for giving digital photos a dreamy and romantic effect.

© Auto FX (interface)/Ian Pullen (photo)

Dreamy Photo is a free photo editing application offered by Auto FX. This software makes it very easy for anyone to adjust their photos to add soft focus effects that give a dreamy and romantic feel to images.

The software is produced as both a Photoshop plugin, that can be used in most image editors that are compatible with .8bf plugins, and as a standalone application that can be used without having to install any other software.

Highlights of Dreamy Photo

Dreamy Photo offers a reasonable range of features to create different soft focus and romantic effects.

  • Free to download, though requires some basic user information
  • Available for Windows and OS X
  • Standalone application or a plugin for Photoshop plugin compatible applications
  • Choose from different blur types
  • Vary strength and colors of the effect
  • Easily apply preset filters
  • Interface has roll over tool tips that quickly explain what tools do

Why Use Dreamy Photo

If you want to apply more creative effects to your digital photos, Dreamy Photo is perfect for producing lovely romantic photos. More experienced image editor users may feel confident producing soft focus effects in their editor of choice, such as Photoshop or GIMP, and feel that better suits their workflow. For less experienced users, however, a more focused application like Dreamy Photo can make achieving specific effects easier as there is no need to hunt around for the right tool to produce a dreamy soft focus effect.

Dreamy Photo can help to make images that look a little flat appear more interesting. The technique of applying soft focus is particularly effective for portraits and elements from nature, such as flowers, but it can also help to make otherwise hard and industrial scenes appear softer and more attractive.

Limitations of Dreamy Photo

I've found little to criticize about Dreamy Photo as it does a fine job of making the soft focus technique accessible to all. That said the user interface does look a little dated now and I personally feel that when working with images, the interface should all but disappear so that the full focus is on the image. However the tools for editing the effect are presented clearly enough.

I couldn't see any way to apply the soft focus effect selectively to parts of an image, such as to leave the center of the photo largely in focus while increasing the blur level to the edges, though if you use Dreamy Photo as a plugin, then you should be able to achieve this using the selection tools in the host application.

Help and Support

Dreamy Photo is pretty intuitive to use and most users will find that they can quickly produce great results by just experimenting with the different settings. This is fortunate as there isn't much in the way of support, though this is of course a free download offered by a company that sells software commercially. Still, there is a basic manual that you can download that should offer some assistance in using the software.

You can download your own free copy of Dreamy Photo from Auto FX.

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