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Diffusion plugin?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 8:03 am
by Lightkeeper
I am looking for a good diffusion plugin. The ones I have tried so far seem to give me a lot of little light dots around the highlights, as if done with a very coarse airbrush. I would like to see something a lot smoother, and I would also like to find one with the option to diffuse dark into light as well.
Any suggestions?

Thanks, David <><

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 12:50 pm
by HaraldHeim
Do you mean an effect similar to the Diffuse Glow filter of Photoshop? If you set the first slider of Diffuse Glow to zero, the dots vanish.

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 4:33 pm
by Lightkeeper
That definitely helps Harald. Thanks.
I am looking for something that also has less effect on the quality of midtones and still retains some highlight detail while showing diffusion effects in midtones in general, and on the flesh tones in particular. Maybe I just need to work with the settings more to get what I want, but I am working with a bridal photo right now, with the bride in a blue dress, white baby's breath in the bouquet, and a need to soften the flesh tone areas a little for the look I would like. Now, if I had shot the original with a Tiffen Soft FX 2 filter, I would have exactly what I want, but I did not. The problem I get with diffuse glow is total destruction of the highlight detail and significant lightening of most midtone values when the flesh tones are pleasingly soft, or, alternately, flesh tones that are barely affected when the highlight softening is under control.
Is there a way to target the flesh tones for stronger softening perhaps?
The interesting quality of the Tiffen Soft FX series of filters in particular is its ability to retain tonal values across large areas such as a dress, for example, and its ability to retain important fine details, such as eyelashes, by confining the radius of diffusion from each source point. It would tend to obliterate fine details which were surrounded by similar tonal values, such as pores in the skin, or texture on fabric, but retain significant detail in areas of contrasty details. Also, because of the confined radius of diffusion, flare was easily controlled, making the filter usable in a variety of settings. It seems to me that the diffusion effects I have tried in Photoshop are different conceptually, and for my particular need, they seem to be inferior. I think they are great for other situations, but I would love to closely simulate the look of the Soft FX if it is possible.

Thanks, David <><

Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:36 pm
by HaraldHeim
I have found some image examples of such a filter at ... usion.html

It looks very similar to the digital equlivalent of a edge-preserving soft focus effect. For example my own FocalBlade plugin ( lets you do such an effect.

To achieve that effect in FocalBlade, please do one of these steps:

1. Go to Expert Mode.
2. Click on the Reset button.
3. Set the Sharpen slider of the Edges tab sheet to zero.
4. Set the Sharpen slider of the Surface tab sheet to zero.
5. Set the Soften slider of the Surface tab sheet to a value of 10 - 50.
6. Set the Radius slider of the Surface tab sheet to a value of 5 - 16.

You can achieve a lot of related effects by experimenting with the other sliders. For example with the Highlights slider from the Extras tab, you can remove the effect from the Highlights or with the Shadwos slider you can remove the effect from the shadows.

Thank you!

Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 3:15 pm
by Lightkeeper
Thank you for the help. I will try Focal Blade out. By the way, I love the try before you buy options for software. I never mind buying what works for me, but I hate buying something that does not really do what I need. I have gotten used to this option for Palm Software, and really helps. I will let you know how I do with Focal Blade when I try it out.

David <><


Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 5:46 pm
by Danielle
Luminous Landscape have a great tutorial on how to soften and make pictures glow.
Have a look at..

Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:34 pm
by Lightkeeper
Wow... Danielle, that is perfect! You know, it's so easy, I should have intuitively understood this myself, given my film background. The truth is, I have a lot of experience with certain aspects of Photoshop because of the work I have done, and big gaps elsewhere, where I guess I just don't have a clue. Thank you so much for that link. It was a tremendous help!

David <><

Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:51 pm
by Danielle
You are welcome! I just happened to have read the article and tried it out with some success. I learn so much from sites such as this, that it is good to be able to contribute at times.