Tutorial: Add a Retro Effect to Any Photo!

February 14, 2012 at 11:00 am | Posted in Conventional Art, Software | 1 Comment
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Hello again, artists! It’s the Imikimi Team yet again! This time we’ve got something for you that a little more direct, more to-the-point. This is going to be a short and sweet tutorial on how to transform any photo into one with a vintage feel using the free trial of Adobe Photoshop.

1. Select a photo and open it with Photoshop. Here we’re using a photo of a cabin on a lake, but feel free to use whatever you like.

2. With your photo now opened, use your keyboard to press Ctrl + Shift + U. This will automatically remove all of the color data from the image, turning it black and white.

3. From here, at the top of Photoshop, click Filter > Lens Correction…

4. Click on the “Custom” tab in the upper right of the pop-up screen, adjusting the “Vignette” amount as shown (or however much you wish). This will darken the corners of the photo, something which is a natural occurrence in film cameras. Click “OK” when you are satisfied.

5. Now let’s add some graininess to our image by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise… Adjust the settings as shown below and click “OK” in the upper right when happy with the results.

6. Modern cameras are capable of taking extremely sharp images, but this wasn’t always so. Therefore, if we’re going to try to emulate the look of an old photograph, we’ll probably want to blur our image slightly, using the settings below. To access the blur settings, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur…

7. For that final vintage touch, let’s add a bit of texture to our image. To do so, open up an image of an old piece of paper (perhaps from stock.xchange) and place it above the photo of the cabin.

8. To blend the paper texture with our image, go ahead and adjust the layer blend mode and opacity at the top of the “Layer” palette, in the lower right of Photoshop.

9. And voila! We’re done! 😀

As always, we want to thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! We hope this has been an informative little tutorial, and it will get you started on your way to more digital art skills. We’ll see you soon!

Best Wishes,
The Imikimi Team

“Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” — Pablo Picasso


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  1. […] some vectors. Or perhaps you want some textures to help add some natural texture/grain (like in a previous tutorial). Then go ahead and do the same for those items, by then clicking the “free” link below. And […]

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