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Thread: Old Photo Tutorial

  1. #1
    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    As promised, here is my old photo tutorial, outlining the various steps and tricks that I use when aging photos. Enjoy! :)

    The photo that I'm using here is one of my Civil War portraits of a Union medic.

    The first step in my aging process is to convert the image to B&W. I always use channel mixer for this step, but any B&W technique will work. Occasionally, I will do an old photo in color, but not often.

    Now is also when you should clone out any modern objects that you don't want in the photo, like power lines, cars, etc. In this case there were none; however, I did replace the BG because during the Civil War a portrait like this would have been taken in a studio rather than in the field.
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

  2. #2
    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    Now for the fun part: the textures! Most of the textures that I use are my own that I've created from my extensive collection of texture photos. I also use lots of textures from Shadowhouse Creations. Typically, I look for textures that are kind of sepia toned and have a rather scratchy, vintage look. I also use a lot of textures with a vignette or antique border.

    Resize the texture to fit your photo, copy it onto the image, and adjust the blending mode and opacity till you like the way it looks. The most common blending modes that I use are multiply, overlay, soft light, and hard light, but occasionally I will use other modes as well. Sometimes I will apply the same texture twice or more using different blending modes.

    For this photo, I first applied one of my own textures and a texture from Shadowhouse Creations called "ScratchBox3" using multiply blending mode and 100% opacity for both(Image 2). I also converted the ScratchBox3 texture to B&W, a great technique to use when you don't want a texture to affect the color of your image.

    After applying a texture, you will probably have to adjust the contrast and brightness of the image. For this, I use curves layers, levels, and shadow/highlight. For instance, after applying the first two textures to this photo, it looked too dark as you can see, so I used a curves layer to lighten it up a bit(Image 3).
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

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    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    Next, I added another Shadowhouse Creations texture, "Classic-6," using soft light at 100% opacity(Image 4). Comparing the two photos below, you will notice that I removed two dark lines on the texture, one by his nose and the other to the right of his neck. Sometimes there will be a case like this where a spot on the texture interferes with the subject; in that case, I just use the patch tool on the texture layer to clone it out. I also used shadow/highlight here to help bring out the details of his uniform(Image 5).
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

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    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    One of my favorite texture tricks is to mask the texture off the center of the image to create a texture vignette. That's kind of what I did here in this next step; I applied another of my own textures using hard light at 69% opacity, but I partially masked it off the center of the image(Image 6).

    I then used curves to darken the image a bit because it was looking too light, and I decided to convert the whole image to B&W again(Image 7).
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

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    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    Another trick that I use very frequently is to adjust the brightness and/or contrast of a texture, which can make a big change in the effect created.

    For example, here I applied another of my own textures using soft light at 94% opacity(Image 8), but it lightened the image a bit too much so I added a curves layer to darken just the texture layer(Image 9).

    To do this just select "Use previous layer as clipping mask" in the curves(or levels) dialog box so that it only affects the texture layer. You can also make these kind of adjustments before applying the texture, but I like to do it after because then I can see how the changes affect the look of the image.
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

  6. #6
    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    Sometimes you may even want to go back and add adjustment layers underneath the other layers, like here. I applied "Latte," another texture from Shadowhouse Creations, using overlay at 60% opacity(Image 10). As you can see, it caused his face and the BG to be too bright, so I added another curves layer underneath the texture to darken those areas(Image 11).
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

  7. #7
    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    Continue to add textures and adjustment layers till the image looks good and old and you're happy with it. For this image, I used a total of 9 textures, but 3 to 6 is probably most common for me.

    The most important thing is to experiment. Oftentimes I will end up trying many different textures before I finally hit on the right ones for a particular image. Also, don't be afraid to go back while you're working and adjust the opacity, tones, and order of previous layers. I will go back and forth innumerable times adjusting the textures and adjustment layers before I'm finally satisfied.

    Sometimes I will use hue/saturation or selective color to add a sepia tone, but usually I find that the textures themselves create a great sepia tone. If after applying the textures, the color tone isn't quite to your liking, it's easy to use hue/saturation, selective color, or color balance to adjust it.

    To finish this image, I added three more textures from Shadowhouse Creations, "Revenant(hard light-17% opacity)," "Square-11(multiply-100% opacity)," and "Trashed(soft light-38% opacity)." I then lowered the saturation a bit using hue/saturation and added a couple more curves layers and a little shadow/highlight to finish adjusting the image tones.

    I hope you found this helpful, and I'm looking forward to seeing all your "old" photos! :D
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

  8. #8
    OOTB Moderator Indranil Sircar's Avatar
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    Outstanding technique and tutorial, Christopher. Thanks for sharing.

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    Out Of The Box Moderator Cheryl Slechta's Avatar
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    Christopher, thanks so much. This is an outstanding tutorial and should help all of us. :)
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    Christopher, Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together and sharing your well developed technique. Great job!!
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    BPN Member Judy Howle's Avatar
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    Thanks so much Christopher, very informative and useful! A suggestion that I have used on some "old photo" transformations is to download free Ps brushes and use them for adding scratches and "grunge" to the photo.
    “Post-production is a place where your only limitations are time, skill or imagination.” -- Alexia Sinclair

    Judy Howle
    Southern Exposures
    http://southernexposure.zenfolio.com



  12. #12
    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    Good point, Judy. I occasionally use various brushes too on my old photos. My favorite set of brushes is this set, Free Hi-Res Splatter Photoshop Brushes.
    Last edited by Christopher Miller; 10-31-2010 at 07:40 PM.
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

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    BPN Member Steve Adkins's Avatar
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    Super tutorial, Christopher. Well written and easy to follow. TFS!!!

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    BPN Member Paul Lagasi's Avatar
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    Hey Chris, great job on tutorial...I will have to find an image, to try this with...thanks

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    Out Of The Box Moderator Kerry Perkins's Avatar
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    Christopher, thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial! I have added it to the workflow sticky. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated. This kind of generous sharing of knowledge is one of the things that makes BPN the best!
    "It's not what you look at that matters. It's what you see." -Henry David Thoreau

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    Thank You Christopher. It all you promised and more.

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    BPN Member Anita Bower's Avatar
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    Excellent tutorial! Wonderful step-by-step explanation. Many thanks.

    I have a somewhat related question. When using textures that aren't your own, but are free for use, such as those from Shadowhouse, how do you credit the texture creator when you post or print an image for public display? Or do you?

    Thanks.

  18. #18
    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    Anita, When I post an image on which I've used textures that are not my own, I always add links back to the textures in the image description. I haven't really printed any images for public display, but if I did, I would probably put something like "Textures by Shadowhouse Creations" and give the link to the creator's website on the back of the work.
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

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    BPN Member Anita Bower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Miller View Post
    Anita, When I post an image on which I've used textures that are not my own, I always add links back to the textures in the image description. I haven't really printed any images for public display, but if I did, I would probably put something like "Textures by Shadowhouse Creations" and give the link to the creator's website on the back of the work.
    Thanks, Christopher. I do exactly what you described. Glad to have confirmation of my approach.

  20. #20
    BPN Member Judy Howle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Miller View Post
    Good point, Judy. I occasionally use various brushes too on my old photos. My favorite set of brushes is this set, Free Hi-Res Splatter Photoshop Brushes.
    Thanks for the link. Maybe I can find the link for my scratch brushes and post it later.
    “Post-production is a place where your only limitations are time, skill or imagination.” -- Alexia Sinclair

    Judy Howle
    Southern Exposures
    http://southernexposure.zenfolio.com



  21. #21
    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy Howle View Post
    Thanks for the link. Maybe I can find the link for my scratch brushes and post it later.
    Please do. :)
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

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    Christopher, I've only just come across this tutorial and wanted to add my thanks. I bow to a master of textures and the 'aged' feel in images. Fantastic images you produce and the tutorial is easy to follow. I hadn't heard of Shadowhouse as I make all my own textures, but I'm off to have a look at what they offer.

  23. #23
    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    You're very welcome, Hilary.
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

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