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By Lauren Harmon |

Deke's Techniques: Creating an antique photo effect in Camera Raw

The final black and white conversion in Camera Raw

Welcome back to Deke’s Techniques. This week learn how to transform the Dunguaire Castle image from last week’s technique into a weathered black-and-white print with Adobe Photoshop and Camera Raw. We’ll balance the luminance levels to create the sepia tone, and we’ll add some film grain and vignetting. Let’s see how it works.

To get started, follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.

  1. Open the photo in Photoshop and transform it into a Smart Object so that you can revisit your changes at any time.

Convert layer to a Smart Object in Photoshop

  1. Double-click the layer thumbnail to open the image in Camera Raw. Go to the Basic panel and make sure all the adjustments are at zero. However, change Contrast to +35.
  2. Go to the HSL/Grayscale tab and check the Convert to Grayscale box to dial in a custom black-and-white adjustment. Increase the Reds to brighten those areas of the image. Darken the grass by reducing the Greens and make the sky more dramatic by reducing the Blues.


p>Use HSL/Grayscale to convert photo to Grayscale

  1. Switch to the Split Toning panel and increase the Saturation values for both the highlights and shadows. Change the Hue of the highlights to 50, which is a yellowy orange color. Change the Hue associated with shadows to 45. Adjust the Balance to increase the contrast a bit more.

Split toning in Photoshop

  1. Select the Lens Correction tab and turn on Enable Lens Corrections. And if you’re working inside Camera Raw 6, which is included along with Photoshop CS5, then you’ll want to turn on the check box at the bottom of the panel as well.

In Camera Raw 7, it’s located here inside the Color panel, and it’s called Remove Chromatic Aberration.

  1. Switch to the fx tab. Increase Amount and Size in the Grain section to add a film grain effect to your image. Change the vignetting style to Color Priority and increase the Roughness and decrease the Amount. This will create a dark vignette in the corners of your image. Click OK to exit out of Camera RAW and open your image in Photoshop.

Add film grain to a photo in Photoshop

  1. Lastly, in Photoshop we’ll add some sharpening by choosing Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen and dial in an Amount of 200%, a Radius of 2 pixels, and enable the Lens Blur setting. This filter will be applied as a Smart Filter since the image was converted to a Smart Object. This way you can adjust the filter settings at any time.

If you like, you can reduce the Opacity of the Smart Filter layer to take a bit of an edge off the sharpening.

The final black and white conversion in Camera Raw

And that’s how you take a full-color digital photograph and render it out as a kind of antique film photo using a combination of Camera Raw and Photoshop.

Members of lynda.com can check out the next movie in the series, Adding a weathered old-photo frame effect, and learn how to add a frame to your image. Plus, next week Deke shows you how to draw your own “grumpy bird” in Illustrator. Keep watching for more great techniques.

Suggested courses to watch next:

• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection • Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate • Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate

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