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I just stumbled on an interesting thread at dpreview. It is all about achieving soft focus in LR, which may be useful to some of us, but there is also and interesting note for all ACR users: using negative clarity.
I was particularly interested in the post by AdriaanMeijer about doing this in PSP. ... e=30988584
If I understand well, it can be done in Elements with a layer mask.
- duplicate background (or merge visible Ctrl Alt Shift E, if there are several layers)
- add a layer mask to it (by Grant, Grafi, Hiddenelements, Elements + ...)
- select the upper layer (not the mask), copy (Ctrl A, Ctrl C)
- select its mask (Alt click into the mask icon to get a white screen)
- paste (Ctrl V): you have create a shadow mask.
- reselect the layer (click into the layer icon)
- set the blend mode to screen (lighten is a possibility)
- Use Gaussian blur, moving the slider until the image looks right.
- you can vary the layer opacity, adjust the masks levels or paint black on the mask to protect some areas.

The idea is to blur selectively and progressively the highlights with a luminosity mask leaving dark parts sharp. Good results for me.

Without masks, you can get a similar effect, though less progressive, with a selection.
- with the magic wand, select the lightest part of the picture, with high tolerance, vary until it covers the meaningful light parts of the picture. Feather large depending on picture size (30-50). Ctrl J to copy the selection to a new layer. Set blend mode to lighten or screen, gaussian blur and vary opacity.
Michel B
PSE6, 11,12,13.1 - LR 5.7 Windows 7 64 - OneOne Photo Perfect Suite - Canon 20D, Pana TZ6 - Fuji X100S
Most used add-ons: Elements+

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Saw that there also, Michel. Thanks for posting here
Here is an example from LR. There are other adjustments, but the skin softening was done using a negative clarity of -26 in this instance. It was used an overall effect on this photo, but could just as easily have been applied with the brush strictly to his skin.

Tadhg-B&A.jpg (148.34 KiB) Viewed 2360 times

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