Inside Photoshop

Here’s a quick way to age a photo

Inside Photoshop

by Gary DeFranco

There are times when adding years of wear and tear to a photo brings a special visual interest to your project. And, although it may seem a simple process of desaturating a color image and adding a yellowish cast, that approach doesn’t always produce the most convincing results.

Use these tips the next time you need a retro look. For the purposes of this example, we’ll go back to the early days of full-color photography in popular consumer magazines.

  • Tone down the color. Early printing technology wasn’t able to print the brilliant, intense colors to which we’re accustomed today. Choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and reduce the saturation to -50%.
  • Add grain. Older photos rarely possessed the crisp resolution of their modern-day counterparts. We used Film Grain. Choose Filter > Artistic > Film Grain and set the Grain slider to 3, the Highlight Area to 16, and the Intensity slider to 1 (which emphasizes the limited tonal range of early reproduction).
  • Introduce fading and staining with a quick layer of colored clouds. Set your foreground swatch to a yellowish-beige and the background to white. Choose Filter > Render > Clouds. Set the blending mode for the clouds to Multiply and[…]

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