Adobe Photoshop is an epochal software, and in the right hands, is perfectly capable of creating magic. Replete with ground breaking tools, this image editing software is the industry norm in high-end digital imaging. It has an extensive variety of tools for performing a wide range of image manipulation techniques. Photoshop is the be all and end all – you name it, Photoshop has it.
Photoshop has various filters, each designed to give the image a different look and feel. One such filter is the retro filter. It gives images a cool retro look, making them look as if they had been taken a long time ago. Yes, this tool allows you to make an actual trip back in time!
First, start by selecting any image file, and opening it in Photoshop. (File>Open).
The next step is to find a texture which has plenty of scratches or wrinkles. This part is very important, as this is the texture on which your retro image will be based. A heavy texture will also do just fine. A wide variety of textured images are available for download on any stock photo website.
Next, insert the selected textured image into your original photograph, on a new layer. The Blend Mode of this layer should be changed to either Screen or Overlay Blend Mode. Generally speaking, Overlay works the best, but you are free to try out the other blend modes and select whichever mode works best for you, depending on the texture and colors.
With the completion of the previous step, your photograph will already have taken on the tinge of an aged look. With the removal of color, the photograph will be taken further back in the past. To do so, insert a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. The “Colorize” box should be checked, and the adjustment layer should have the following measurements – Hue: 25 and Saturation: 25. This is what will create a unique sepia tone.
Blend all layers into a single layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E. If you are not satisfied with a particular part of the image, go back and re-adjust layer properties as per your need. If you are pleased with what you see, continue.
Adding film grain is the next step. To do so, select Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Check the “Monochromatic” option and make sure that the “Distribution” is set to “Gaussian“. Add as much grain as you feel is necessary.
To further add to the aged look, make use of the Dodge and Burn tools (from the tool box) to lighten and darken parts of the photograph as desired. Keep in mind, darkening the edges will greatly enhance the feel of the image.
To make your image look more authentic, adding torn edges to the image is a very good option. If your texture has torn edges by default, then you are all set, and should be happy with the way your retro image looks. If your texture is simply wrinkled and does not feature torn and/or jagged edges, here is how you can create it in Photoshop:
- Create a new layer using Layer > New Layer, or pressing Ctrl+Shift+N, the hotkey.
- Fill in a colored background to the layer, and draw a white border around the edges of the image (using the Rectangular Selection tool). Inverse the particular selection (Ctrl+Shift+I).
- Activate Quick Mask mode (by pressing Q), and navigate to Filter > Brush Strokes > Spatter. Again, the measurements depend on your choice, but it is ideal to select a mid-range Smoothness and a fairly small Spray Radius.
- Now, deactivate the Quick Mask mode (simply by pressing Q again), and hit delete. You will be left with a refined tattered edge for your image.
Experimenting more with the colors and settings will enable you to create a wide variety of retro-cool effects for your images.
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