For Photoshop Nerds: Editable Diffuse Glow

EDIT: 26th September: looking back on this not sure why I didn’t just create a smart blur from a diffuse glow (one reason: you should be able to use this technique in 16bit – swapping grain for noise).

For photoshop nerds: I use diffuse glow on portraits, occasionally on architectural and landscape shots.  I’ve been messing around with photoshops CS4’s smart filters and realised you could recreate it in an editable way.
Create a smart blur layer from your background then add the following filters:
Maximum (1-3 seemed to work)
Gaussian blur (10-30+)
texture>grain (regular, mid contrast and then adjust to taste).

Set the layer blend mode to ADD.

I added a bit of finesse by sandwiching it between 2 curves layers and putting the whole lot in a group.
2009-05-29_142626
Pictures show the effect on a portrait.
How the layers are arranged in the group.

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The before and after curves (the before curves is the one that really reduces the highlight values).

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