Thursday, January 1, 2015

Going vintage

This is a rehash of a comment I posted on LinkedIn in response to a group query on how to apply a vintage look to a photograph.

Here is the full technique, complete with screenshots:

First find a suitable photo to "age" - this is a wide-shot of Paris from the FreeImages website (
Adjust the Contrast to give you a bit more detail to work with. I did this using Curves' Auto options - apply an Curves Adjustment from the Adjustments panel.
From the Curves panel dialog, select the Panel Options drop-down (its the down-pointing arrow at the top-right with the 4 horizontal lines) and choose Auto Options...
In the Auto Options, first select any of the radio options above the default Enhance Brightness and Contrast - this is just for you to access the lower half of the dialog box; you will evaluate your options in a moment. Tick the Snap Neutral Midtones checkbox and try each of the options to see which one works for the image. For this example, I have gone with the Enhance Per Channel Contrast option.
The final steps in preparing the image are to make the image into a black-and-white - I did this by setting the colour chips to their default (White Foreground and Black Background), then applying a Gradient Map Adjustment.
Before the texture is placed, it is a good idea to colour the image a sepia tone - apply a Solid Color Adjustment layer and select the Pale Cool Brown preset from the Swatches panel.
To tint the image, change the Color Fill layer's blend mode to Color.
You need a vintage paper image to complete the look - this one is from Pixelmator's Tutorials page; and some scratches for authenticity - also from Pixelmator's Tutorials.
Note - the scratches image is actually transparent, it has been placed here on a black ground to show the scratches.
Place the paper texture over the image, resize it to fit and change the blending mode to Multiply.
To finish off, place the scratches and lower the layer's Opacity to 50%.
And there you have it!
Have fun!