In the morning when I took this image, it was cold, overcast and I was in a hurry. I had planned to make some “real” images later, on my way home, but alas it began to rain around noon and it’s still raining now, at almost 1 am.
Anyway. This may not be a good image, but it is a good example of a nice effect that you can produce with Topaz Detail. They have an effect called “Soft Looking”, that actually takes detail away. Basically it keeps fine detail, suppresses medium detail a little and large detail strongly.
This image is really a worst case for bokeh, and although I normally like what I get from the Sigma 28/1.8, here it fails miserably.
What I’ve done is this: I have duplicated the background a few times. The lowest layer I’ve left as it was. The second was treated with this “Soft Looking” effect, and then I have painted in a mask to take the effect away where the leaves were sharpest. The next layer was also put through Topaz detail, but now to strongly increase detail, with the same but inverted mask. Then I’ve added my “Neutral Blur” (explained in “542 – The Show Is Over, Say Good-Bye“), sharpening and on top another “Soft Looking” of the copy/merged layer stack.
The result is a strong differentiation between sharpness and blur. It does not look entirely natural, i.e. like the creamy blur of an ideal lens, but it really makes a difference. Btw, of all the Topaz Photoshop plugins, Topaz Detail is probably the most useful and produces the most natural results. Highly recommended.
The Song of the Day is “I Keep Mine Hidden” by The Smiths. I have it on a compilation of four songs, two singles and their backsides, that is no longer available, but “Sweet and Tender Hooligan” has it as well. The Smiths catalog is a real mess. Worst of all bands I know 🙂
YouTube has the song.