Retro Photo Effect

Wonder how an ordinary photo turned into a somewhat old yet cool effect? There are many of them seen in the internet, most popular of which is the Instagram, with millions of followers posting pictures everyday. Well, you can do the effects too like the ones posted there. In this tutorial, we’ll limit the topic though to retro effect and then, maybe, you can try yourself making other effects as well.

There are only a few steps to do here to make the job done. Yep, and it’s easy!

First off, open the photo to work with in Photoshop, then duplicate it.



Now the most exciting part:

1.Go to the Adjustment Layer button located at the bottom of the layers palette. Choose            Curves. The Curves dialog box appears like the one below.


2. Select the Red in the dropdown menu. Make an upward bend like an arc to increase              the amount of reds in the overall colour balance of the photo.


3 .Now, select the Blue and make a downward bend (the opposite curve of Reds),                        decreasing the blues and creating a yellow tone.


4. Then, select the Green and then make an s-shaped curve like the one shown below.            This will make the reds more prominent in the shadows and the yellows in the                         highlights.


Set the mode into Soft Light and Opacity to 50%. This is to effect the steps we did above. Depending on the photo used, Overlay, Screen, or Lighter Color will do. You must try it.


5. Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise.. Check Monochromatic and Gaussian. You can choose also Uniform in place of Gaussian. This has no big difference in this case.


6. Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur… This is to hide the hard dots and creating a vintage look at the photo by the soft tone and the noise as well.


7. Go back to Adjustment layer again and, this time, select Color Balance and play with the sliders to meet the right values for your photo (e.g., enhancement of the reds, blues and yellows without eroding the result we’ve done already). Here’s mine:


8. Still with the Adjustment Layer, select Solid Color and perform the right amount of yellows to be applied. This is to enhance more the vintage look of our photo. Here’s what I come up with:


9. In the layers palette, set the layer style to Overlay and Opacity 32%.


Voila, your retro effect!



*Note: You can fine tune it if you feel unsatisfied with the result by trying some different values in the curves created. Note that there can’t be no identical effect in every photo that is used. It is a must to play the sliders, other tools to meet the desired result. For example, you may want to add also a vignette (like the one above) and/or other effects as well.

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Halftone Effect

Converting a normal (RGB or Grayscale) photo into a Bitmap (halftone) image is very interesting and gives a unique and dramatic effect. Unknown to many, halftone is a popular form of digital art which can be seen in comic books, magazines, newspapers, and other media. It is characterized by dotted figures basically in black and white and gray. This tutorial is largely inspired by the works of Roy Lichtenstein, a famous pop artist.

The following guides you through a 3-step instruction to achieve the expected result which can be done so easily, even a newbie find it a ‘no sweat’ stuff.

Photo used here is Scarlett Johansson.

Open the photo you wish to edit. By default, this become your ‘Background’ layer as displayed in your layers palette.


Most probably you’re in RGB mode and we can’t effect a halftone right away. To be able to do such effect, first, we must convert our image into grayscale (Image>Mode>Grayscale…).

Next, convert grayscale into bitmap (Image>Mode>Bitmap…).Under Bitmap, you may select the default values and press Ok.

Bitmap and Halftone Screen

Bitmap and Halftone Screen

Enter a lower value if you want the effect bigger and higher if smaller (dot distribution). Voila, you have your halftone effect!

Bitmap Result

Bitmap Result

Note: Before you can proceed to the next step, convert back the image into grayscale, then to RGB.

If you wish to colorize, go on and apply Hue/Saturation. Play on the sliders to select the color you want, or, you may just check Colorize for an instant color.

This is the result:

Final Image

Final Image

Image-based Typography in Photoshop

Wonder how an image is turned into texts? Using texts with varying fonts, sizes, colors and opacity into an image or to your photo is something you’ll enjoy with such amazing results! With simple steps, you can turn your photo into a colorful stuff, done in Photoshop.



Step 1. Open photo in Photoshop

Image below is a picture of Scarlett Johansson and can be can be found here. You may use your own photo if you prefer to.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Step 2. Creating the shadows

What we are trying to do here is to make a dark contrast out of the photo so that the texts that we’ll be typing on will be effective as we apply layer mask into it. That will follow in the next couple of steps.

To do this, go to Select>Color Range… then select Shadows. As a result, a selection of the dark parts is loaded and you can see kind of running ants on the photo. Now, press Ctrl+J to create a layer (Layer 1) for this.



Shadows Layer

Shadows Layer

Step 3. Midtones

There are areas where it’s not totally black nor white, they are gray actually, and we will include it along with the shadows that we earlier made. This is so because as as we type the texts later, the effect will be lighter in opacity compared to that of the shadows (which is black), and that will give an added highlight to the image outcome.

So, go back to your background layer, then like as we did to the previous step, but this time select Midtones. When done, press Ctrl+J to create its own layer (Layer 2).


Step 4. Shadow Fill

Activate Layer 1, then go to Edit>Fill… and select Black. Ba sure to check Transparency. You’ll notice that the shadows is enhanced and now more pronounced.

Fill Dialog Box

Fill Dialog Box

Fill Result

Fill Result

Step 5. Midtones Fill

Ok, like we did to Shadows, we’ll fill the midtones layer also but, this time, fill it with 50% gray. To do this, be sure to activate Layer 2 (midtones layer) first.

Gray Fill

Gray Fill

Gray Fill Result

Gray Fill Result

Step 6. Creating Text Brushes

We now need to create text brushes as we will be using in the next step. So, meantime, we’ll leave our work temporarily and create a new document. The size of the document is not that important really because we can adjust anytime the brush size as we go along. But to minimize, small size is better.

New Document

New Document

So, after a blank document is done, type the text that you want, preferably short. After this, go to Edit>Define Brush Preset…

Text and Brush Name

Text and Brush Name

Text Layer

Text Layer

Make plenty of text brushes, one at a time, with different font style and sizes. The more is better (and merrier!).

Step 7. Brushing Time!

Before we start the fun, create a new layer first above all the layers. This will serve as our brushing area.

Brush Layer

Brush Layer

Now, go grab your Brush Tool and select Brush. Click Brush Tip and adjust the Size and Spacing. Drag left or right to adjust. Brush all over the photo. It’s okay if not all filled with text brushes as that will be fixed later.

Brush Settings

Brush Settings

Step 8. White fill layer

Create a new layer below the topmost layer. Fill this with white (with white set to FG, click Alt+Backspace).

White Layer

White Layer

Step 9. Copy and Paste Merged Shadows and Midtones

Hide layers 3 and 4. Activate layer 2, select and copy (Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C).Unhide layers 3 and 4 now, then make a layer mask on Layer 3 (that one filled with texts).

Paste the copied layer (eg, Layer 2) into the layer mask by pressing Alt+Click. Hold Ctrl then press V, D, I simultaneously.







Step 10. More brushing

As mentioned earlier, we’ll fix the text brush area by applying more brushes until fully filled or contented. But first, click layer mask thumbnail (not the mask, but the one filled with text brushes). Okay, go on and brush more to the image as you wish. Give particular attention to the eyes and edges of the model.

Here’s how it should look like after rebrushing:



Step 11. Finishing touches

Enhance your work by applying Curves and/or Levels, Color fill, hue/saturation or maybe gradient overlay to make your product colorful and even more interesting.

Here’s how I came up:

Final Image

Final Image

2014 New Year Poster

With new year just around the corner, it is but timely to greet our friends and loved ones a cool poster or wallpaper via your favorite social media websites. Or, you can make a print out of it, kinda like a greeting card, and put your most lovely note into it. Ain’t that nice eh?

This tutorial shows you how to make such one, in a simple, easy-to-follow instructions below.



Step 1: Background Setting

Create a new document, about 1280×800 pixels (can be bigger for wallpaper, smaller for cards) and fill it with any solid color of your choice. This is because we are applying a chromatic color scheme here (meaning, the same color family which varies only by their lightness and darkness (e.g., hues). Just be sure that the color is bright and lively as we are about to make a new year greeting. The one i use here is almost like a burnt umber (be7032).


Step 2: Creating the rectangular shapes

There are 2 types of rectangular shapes that we will make – vertical and horizontal, with different width (of
which the former is thinner).

First off, create a new layer above the background layer. Pick the Rectangular Tool and draw your first rectangle. We will do the vertical first. Fill this with your background color. You’ll notice that as if there’s nothing changed, as a result. Don’t worry, the next step will make it visible.

Applying the layer styles.

Still on the same layer, click the fx icon below your layers palette then select Blending Options. Check Drop Shadow then input the following settings:


With the first one done, create 2 more rectangles by duplicating twice the first rectangle layer. When done, position them evenly parallel with each other using the Move Tool (refer image below).


Yay, we’re done with the vertical rectangles! What we’ll do next with these is to group it altogether and merge them. To do this, create a new layer group (name it ‘Vertical’) and drag each of the shape layer under it then Merge Group. This is how your layers palette should look by now:


For the horizontal rectangles, do the same process as with the vertical. Create a new layer under the vertical layer, draw a fatter horizontal rectangle this time, then fill it the same color as the vertical rectangles. After this, apply the layer styles, duplicate the layer twice, and you’ve completed the 3 horizontal shapes! Group them together and then Merge Group.



Step 3: Making the numbers

The numbers ca be a little bit lighter or darker, it’s all up to you. Mine is #ca8232, a little bit lighter than the first we used. Having decided for yourself what color to use, we’ll proceed in making the numeric characters.

First, create a new layer above all the other layers, then type your first number. I used the font Gill Sans MT Condensed here, size 100 pt. See below the values used for the Drop Shadow in the Blending Options (2nd figure).



Now that we’re finished with the first number, right-click that layer (‘2’ layer), then select Copy Layer Style. Click the other number layers (0, 1, 4) then apply the layer style by right-clicking the layer and selecting Paste Layer Style. Do this each of the layer.

This is how it should look by now:


You can opt for the above image now or, if not yet satisfied, you can add more layer styles like the one below which is added with Bevel and Emboss in its default values.



Step 4: The finishing touches

To complete our work, select a color again, a lighter or darker one than the previous ones. I chose lighter hue here (#eeac32).


Type ‘Happy New Year’ using a Vivaldi font, size 18. Apply Drop Shadow, Opacity to 100, check Anti-alias, Ok. Position the text using the Free transform Tool on the right side vertically. Done!


Instagram-Effect in Photoshop

Instagram is getting more and more popular these days amid increasing smartphones and android phone users. That’s why it’s no surprise hundreds of images are uploaded everyday via Instagram application. So sad though for non-android or smartphone users that they cannot have the cool application. Well, I don’t have it either, but that’s not a problem anymore, as long as you have your PC and a Photoshop installed. So, for you all that have no Instagram like me, here is an easy tutorial to make your photo with effects like an Instagram. This is also known as Lomo (short for Lomograph) effect.

01Bring in your photo in Photoshop. With your selected photo now on the window, a corresponding layer of it is also created as a result as seen in your layers palette (named ‘Background’).


The photo above is credited to Theresa Hardy (via Vera Machado) and can be seen here.

02First thing that we will do is to make the photo with higher contrast. Click the Adjustment Layer button below your layers palette and adjust the slider in the Levels dialog box, with values best for your photo. I’ve used the following settings below:


03If you notice, Instagram-applied photos have the following features: high contrast colors, dreamy or blurry parts, color channels more pronounced individually, and focus is clear relative to the background, among others. Next thing that we will do here is to adjust each of the RGB color channels. To do so, click the Adjustment Layer icon again, but this time, choose the Curve… With the Curve dialog in view, apply the following settings:





04Now, go back to your background layer and make a duplicate out of it. Click the Adjustment Layer and this time choose Gradient… Set the colors to black-and-transparent. Black-and-white is okay also as long as you lower the opacity. What we’re doing here actually is rendering a vignette to the photo with the black color at the bottom.


05Apply Lens Blur (Filter>Blur>Lens Blur…) with the following settings:


06To reveal the focus of the subject (e.g., the dogs), we will apply Layer Mask by clicking the icon of it below the layers palette. Make the opacity at a low level (about 25-30%) so that you have room for adjustment and you can choose the right opacity for your picture. To do it, pick a large, soft brush and click to the center of the photo. Repeat painting till the desired effect is met. By the way, don’t forget to set your FG color to black to apply layer mask.


07Set blend mode to Screen (or Soft Light/Overlay), opacity to 50%.


FinalResultLet’s take a look at our before and after images shown below to compare the original to that of the edited one. Well, I hope you enjoyed it. Try it yourself!