Free Orton Effect Action for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

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Download the Orton Effect Action

The Orton Effect
The Orton Effect action can quickly give your pictures a lovely dreamlike quality. Original photo © J. Charles, used with permission.

Download the Orton.atn file (right click and save target)

This action creates an Orton Effect on your image to give it a dreamy quality. The Orton Effect works best on candid portraits, landscapes, and photos of children or animals. Besides creating a dream-like effect, it can be useful for salvaging photos that you didn't quite get in focus to begin with.

Learn more about this effect, first used by Michael Orton, from Photography Guide Liz Masoner in her article on The Orton Effect.

Editor's Note: We have also posted a tutorial on creating the Orton effect in the current version of Photoshop.

The action works with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements 7 or higher, using the action player in Photoshop 7 and up. I didn't test it in older versions of Photoshop, but it should work even in very old versions as it does not use any new features in Photoshop.


Photoshop users can simply double click the action and it will load into Photoshop's action panel. For more information on using actions, and for Photoshop Elements installation, visit the links below.

Using the action:

In Photoshop, open the picture you wish to use, select Orton Effect in the Actions panel, then click the "play" button at the bottom of the actions panel. Photoshop Elements users, see the instructions for using the Action Player.

Notes about the Orton Effect action:

The action includes stops and notes in places where adjustments need to be made. Since subject matter and resolution files will differ when you use this action on your own file, you will need to use your judgment on how much adjustment to apply for your own images. Experiment with it, and you'll begin to get a feel for what works best.

If you use Photoshop (not Elements) you can edit the action to remove the stops. See the next page for instructions.

Safari users, click here if you have download trouble.

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How to Remove the Stops in Photoshop

Actions Panel
Photoshop users can remove the Stops once you are familiar with the action. © Sue Chastain
With the action loaded into the actions panel, click the arrow to expand the action so you can see all its steps. Toggle the checkmark for any "Stop" items in the list, as shown in the screen shot here.
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Your Citation
Chastain, Sue. "Free Orton Effect Action for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements." ThoughtCo, Oct. 23, 2015, Chastain, Sue. (2015, October 23). Free Orton Effect Action for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Retrieved from Chastain, Sue. "Free Orton Effect Action for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 22, 2018).