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When a scene evokes a somewhat dreamlike quality, you can often add to that effect with an Ethereal Glow Effect. With this photo of surfers at sunset, for example, I felt that it needed a little bit more of a mystical type of effect to get the mood that I was really after in the photograph. The first step is to create a copy of the background image layer, so that we can apply the effect there. I'll go ahead and drag the thumbnail for the background image layer down to the Create New Layer button, the blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Doing so will cause a background copy to be created. Anticipating the final result, I'll reduce the Opacity control for that layer at the top right of the Layers panel down to about 50%. Next, from the menu I'll choose Filter > Blur and then Glossy and Blur. This will bring up the Glossy and Blur dialog where I can Blur the image. You'll notice as I pan around the image here, that I'm creating a slightly softer surface effect. However, even if I blur the image significantly, notice that the underline photo still looks sharp, it just has a bit of a glow effect to it. That's because the Blur layer is only set to a 50% opacity. So I'm effectively seeing through that blur to a sharp image below. I'll generally work at about a 10 pixel radius but you can fine tune the effect based on your preferences for the image.
When you're happy with the Blur, you can click OK to close Gaussian Blur and then you can fine tune the Opacity setting. If I increase the Opacity up to 100%, I'll see the Out of Focus version of the image and at 0% I'll see the original image. But I can then dial in the degree of a Ethereal Glow that I'd like to apply to this photo. Generally speaking, right around 50% should work out well, it certainly seems to work well in this case. So, I'll leave the setting at 50% percent for Opacity.
Now that I'm happy with my final result, I can choose Layer > Flatten Image, and then Save the final image.
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