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- Safely experimenting with creativity
- Creating a black-and-white effect
- Using Curves presets for creative effects
- Applying a vignette
- Using the Filter Gallery
- Applying a Gradient Map adjustment
- Creating a multiple exposure effect
- Hand-painting an image
- Creative projects
Skill Level Intermediate
In this lesson, we'll take a color photograph, and apply a variety of creative effects, to produce a result that has the look of an old faded photo. Of course, with an old photo immediately makes me think of a black and white image. So I'm going to start by adding a black and white adjustment layer. I can fine tune the overall appearance of the image. Perhaps darkening or lightening specific color values. And maybe I'll brighten up the truck a little bit. And darken up some of the background. And that looks to be pretty good as a starting point. And then I'd like to add a sepia tone type of effect. So I'm going to turn on the Tint check box.
You can see I have a basic sepia effect right off the bat. But it's a little too saturated, and not quite the right color. So I'm going to click the Color swatch. And in the Color Picker, I'll find a different color. I'm going to choose the Hue option here. And I think I'd like something that's just a little bit more yellowish, perhaps. And I'm going to reduce the saturation. I want a very subtle color effect in this particular case. So I'll reduce the saturation quite significantly. And that looks much better, I'm going to click OK, and we're off to a pretty good start.
I'd now like to brighten up the image, mostly to produce contrast and give it something of a faded effect, so I'm going to add a Curves Adjustment layer, and in curves, I'm mostly going to focus on just brightening up the overall image. I don't want to blow out the highlights, and so I'm not really going to adjust the endpoints I could drag the black end point up little bit. And that will cause the darkest areas of the image to no longer be black. It will be a shade of grey effectively although, in this this case, of'course with the CP, I attempt to it. So somewhat in there and may be brightened up just a little bit more. I don't want to loose too much contrast.
Because then the image will start to look extremely flat. I just want it to look faded. I think that's a pretty good effect for the moment. I could always come back and refine this a little bit later as I continue to finalize the effect. As long as I'm lightening the image, I think I'd like the edges to fade a bit more, so I'm going to click on my background image layer. So I'm going to choose Filter, Convert for Smart Filters, and then click OK so that I can convert my background image layer to a smart object that I can use smart filters on, and then I will choose Filter Lens Correction from the menu.
I'll turn off any of the Autocorrection options, in this case just Geometric Distortion, and then click Custom. And I will increase the value for amount under vignette to lighten the edges under the image. I can adjust the midpoint as well, I think in this case I'd like to pull it actually in toward the center of the image to lighten up a larger area. And that looks to be pretty good, I'll go ahead and click OK, and then I can adjust the overall intensity of this effect by double-clicking on the Ctrl button on the far right of lens correction, and reducing my opacity control.
And somewhere right about there, looks like about 85% will work well in this particular case. And then I might add a texture effect to the image. I'm still working on my Smart Object, my Image Layer that's been converted for Smart Filters, so I can simply choose Filter, Texture, and then Texturizer. I think in this case I will use canvas. I can adjust the scaling of the effect and the relief. In other words the strength of the effect. And I'll go ahead and click OK. And again I'd like to reduce the overall opacity of this texturizer filter. So I'll double-click the control to the right of texturizer. And reduce the opacity in this case fairly significantly. I just want a very subtle texture to show through in the image, and I'll click OK, and that looks to be a pretty good adjustment.
And I think I might even dodge and burn just a little bit, so I'm going to go to the top of my layer stack here, and then I will hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh while clicking on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the layers panel. And I will give the new layer a name. We'll just call it Dodge and Burn, in this case. And I'll change the blend mode to overlay and then check the box to fill with the overlay neutral color of 50% gray. We'll go ahead and click OK to create that layer. And now, choosing my brush tool, I'll press D on the keyboard to get my default colors of black and white.
Make sure that I'm working with a soft edge brush, a 0% hardness. The blend mode on the Options bar should be set to Normal. The overlay blend mode is set on the dodge and burn layer. And I will work with a 20% opacity in this case, because I would like a fairly strong effect. But 20 is about the most that I would ever use, and I can press X as needed to switch my foreground and background colors. And I can lighten or darken specific areas of the image as I would like we'll go ahead and paint some darkening effects in the background here.
Maybe darken up, well not that much. But darken up, part of the truck here. And mostly just kind of painting with light. Just adding a little bit of texture here and there. Adding some density in certain places and reducing density in others. I might even exaggerate that vignetting effect a little bit, by lightening some of the edges. Especially down toward the bottom where it was not as readily visible in the image, and that's looking to be a lot more interesting. So I just dodged and burned. Lightened and darkened specific areas of the image as I'd like, and that looks to be a rather interesting effect. I'm going to hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh while clicking on Eye icon associated with my image layer. That will cause only that image layer to be visible, now in this case, that also means the filter effects are currently visible, my vignette and my texture. But this still gives me a pretty good sense of the before version of the image, and then I can again, holding the Alt or Option key, click on the Eye icon for that image layer, once again to enable all of the layers, and I see the final effect.
By blending multiple techniques for a single image, you can achieve a creative effect that is very impactful. One of the things I enjoy most about this sort of approach is that it can often transform an ordinary image into something much more interesting.