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How To Enhance a Portrait with a Soft Focus "Glamour" Effect in Paint.NET

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Soft Focus

Soft focus effect for enhancing portrait photos. (It looks even better on hi-res images.)

This technique is great for creating glamour portraits. It's also good for reducing JPEG artifacts. It mimics a soft focus or diffusion lens filter, softening the photo, reducing harsh lines and wrinkles, and intensifying the colors. Follow the steps here to create the soft focus effect in Paint.NET.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 2 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Open the photo.

  2. Duplicate the background layer. (Layers > Duplicate Layer)

  3. Go to Effects > Blurs > Gaussian Blur.

  4. Set the radius to 4-10 pixels (use a high amount for hi-res images, low amount for low-res) and click OK.

  5. In the layers palette, double-click on the top layer that you just blurred, to open Layer Properties.

  6. Set the opacity down to about 100-130--whatever looks best to you. While you're here, change the name of the layer to "Soft Focus" and click OK.

  7. Go to Adjustments > Hue / Saturation.

  8. Set Saturation to about 110 and Lightness to about 5-8, then click OK.

  9. Save your image under a new file name so you don't overwrite your original.

Tips:

  1. Go to Layer Properties and experiment with the Blending Mode menu for a different look. Lighten and Screen blending modes sometimes work well.

  2. Click the check box next to the soft focus layer in the layers palette to compare the before and after results.
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