Cool Retro-Look Effect in Photoshop

Transforming your boring photo into a retro-look effect can be more appealling, really cool, and fun. This can be achieved basically by filters and layer styles. An easy-to-follow tutorial which you can do it in a few minutes.

You can download the image below here. This will be the photo we’ll be using here as an example. You can have your own photo to work with if you prefer to.

This is the final result we’d like to achieve:

Step 1 – Opening and duplicating the photo
After downloading the photo, or if you have already one ready in your gallery, open this into your Photoshop and duplicate it.

So, by now, you have your ‘Background’ and ‘Background copy’ as seen in your layers palette.

Step 2 – Darkening the photo
To really have that old-look effect on the photo, we have to darken this a bit in preparation to the next step that we will do. So, to do this, go to Image>Adjustments>Levels… With the adjustment levels box in view, follow this settings: 60, 1.00, 220 (from left to right).

And we have this photo as a result right now:

Step 3 – Applying film grain
Duplicate the ‘levels’ layer first then rename it later into ‘film grain’ layer after this step is done. Meantime,to make that photo looks really old, we will apply film grain effect into it, e.g., Filters>Artistic>Film Grain… Apply the settings below:

> grain: 4
> highlight area: 0
> intensity: 10

Step 4 – Color Halftone application
Last with the filers. Apply this time the halftone color to the photo: Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone… Set the maximum radius to 4, and leave the others into their default values.

Step 5 – Applying the layer style
Yay, we are almost done! So, done in pixelating (halftone) the photo, we’ll move on in applying a layer style into it.

Duplicate the ‘halftone’ layer and rename it into ‘soft light’, because we really have to convert the blending mode from ‘Normal’ into ‘Soft Light’. To do so, click the blending mode option (which is set to Normal by default) then scroll down and choose Soft Light (or, depending on the result, you may choose other blend mode like Darken, Color Dodge, Multiply, or whatever that may best suite your taste).

This is what we’ve got now:

Step 6 – Changing the background of the girl
First, we have to make a new document, same size as our stock photo (384×352), then fill with black.

Apply the following filters : Noise – 10, Render – Clouds, Gaussian Blur – 50.
Radial Gradient: BG color- 11143d, FG color- white. Draw a gradient from center to the top right corner (or any corner for that matter).

Apply Halftone (Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone… max radius: 4. After this, make a selection out of the girl by using the Pen Tool, copy it, then paste it onto the new layer we’ve just created. Fix edges by using the Eraser in soft brush and blur it a bit.

Sans the border, you’ll now have a new white-to-blue background for the girl!

Last Step – Creating the border
There are 2 ways to make the border: by applying right away Stroke (fx>Stroke on your layers palette) and just fill in the value how thick is your border and what color; or, make a new document larger than the size of our stock photo, say adding 50 pixels, more or less, depending what thickness you want, aside from the color of your choice.

The color applied here is e19e1d, following the latter option (e.g., making a new document).


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