This set compares light from a small softbox on the left against a naked direct flash on the right. The left is all softbox, the right is all direct flash, with varying ratios in between. The idea is to compare both the quality of light from these two types of sources, and also see how each functions as a fill light for the other. Because the light is so strongly from the sides, the difference between these two lightings is not as obvious as it might be. But look at the details in the face and the fingers. The naked flash produced hard shadows while the softbox is produced softer, rounded shapes.
Bottom Line: Softer light produces softer looking images (softer in shaping, not softer in focus).