Orton Effect in ART (quasi-tutorial)

Mark Denney released a YouTube video today on creating the Orton Effect entirely in Lightroom. Obviously Lightroom isn’t on-topic here and while both tools have similarities, they also have many details not found in the other. However, I was curious if I could create the Orton Effect in ART instead using his basic procedure as a starting point.

I kinda got there, but it’s difficult to tell since the image I used doesn’t really lend itself to “Ortonizing”. For some reason I have very few images even slightly suitable for demonstrating the Orton Effect.

In the end, it’s very subtle. Very subtle. And honestly, I don’t use Orton Effect all that much, but if a procedure in ART can be better defined, who knows. Used appropriately it can be effective in the right context.

It would be great if others could try this, correct any errors / “worst practices” I’ve committed, improve it, document it. etc. In particular it needs more “glow”, so maybe there’s a better way to do (parts of) it…?


The Orton Effect in ART

The starting image

Activate the Color/Tone Correction tool

Per Alberto’s recommendation, temporarily raise gamma in by surrounding your editing layers with two “Separate RGB channels” layers first raising, then lowering gamma:


The first layer raises the Gamma to 2.0 and the bottom layer lowers it again by half (Gamma set to 0.5), returning it to normal. All edits will occur on layers between these two.

Rename the second layer to Highlights and add a new Parametric Mask. Adjust the Luminance equalizer to target highlights only.

Raise the Highlights/Gain level to add more brightness to the highlights. This will vary by image, experience and desired intensity / effect. This example is raised by 1.500. Depending on the prominence of the image’s highlights, how “inclusive” your mask is and other factors, you may need to adjust elsewhere if they get too bright. But since they’re masked, most of the image won’t be affected.

Copy the Color/Tone Parametric mask you just created.

Activate the Smoothing (Local editing) tool

Name the existing layer Glow.

Activate the Smoothing Parametric mask and paste the Color/Tone mask you just copied.

Change the layer mode to Gaussian and raise the Radius value to create a diffuse glow. This amount is very subjective and even providing a suggested starting point could benefit from further experimentation but a radius value of roughly 0.10x of the image’s size in megapixels seems to work reasonably well.* For example, this is a 24mp image, so I chose a radius of 2.5.


Again, experiment to see what value gives a good softening without killing too much detail.

* This is based entirely on what I’ve seen recommended in other Orton tutorials. Experiment!!

Activate the Texture Boost/Sharpening tool

Name the existing layer Details.

As with Smoothing (indeed, with almost any parameter of this process), the optimal settings will need to be found. For this image, I settled on Strength of 1.00, Detail scale of 15.00 and 3 Iterations.


Ideally it would be nice to be able to control the overall opacity of the effect, but by varying the Local editing tools’ parameters it can be controlled well enough. In particular, changes to Smoothing and Texture Boost/Sharpening can control the strength of the effect.

On this particular image, it’s pretty subtle but it would be nice to see what others can do with their images. Hopefully this process can be refined and better documented (e.g., good default values).

The final image

A/B comparison

Left is off, right is on.

So what can be done to improve this process?


thanks for the tutorial!

I don’t know about improving, but here’s another way to do something like this:

Screenshot from 2024-02-01 08-43-15


Just looking at the curve (here on my phone) that makes sense. Just for the record, what does the Residual Contrast slider officially do?