VinnyPrime's blog

Tutorial: Vintage Photos

posted by VinnyPrime, Mar 31, 2007 6:35 PM — 25 comments

Before I begin, let me mention that there are many methods by which similar (or better!) results can be achieved for this effect. I am simply creating this tutorial for those who would like to experiment with new methods! Plus, I like my method best. So there.

Also, this tutorial has been designed for Photoshop CS2 users. While I am confident that a similar result can be achieved in other editing programs... I have no idea how to do it. :-P

All right, so let's begin!

First, let's start off with this somewhat bland picture of our dear friend Jake. You can download a full-size version here:

As you can see... not too exciting, and not at all vintage. Let's fix that!

Step 1. Open the image in Photoshop. That was easy! :o)

Step 2. Duplicate the background layer. There are two ways you can do this. Firstly, you can click and drag the background layer down onto the "New Layer" button, or you can right-click the layer and click "Duplicate Layer," like this:

Step 3. Now, we want to make this new, duplicated layer look ridiculous, right? Oh wait, no, we don't. But guess what: we are!

Ok, so now, with the layer called "Backgound copy" highlighed in the layers palette, click the little black and white circle at the bottom of the screen. This little button allows you to add an adjustment layer, which is very useful.

Now, once you've clicked that little button, click on "Gradient Map," like this:

A dialog box will pop up, and show a gradient (smooth transition between colors). More than likely, the gradient that we want to use will not show up by default, so we want to change it.

Click the gradient, and a box will show up displaying many different gradient options. The one we want is very creatively entitled "Violet, Green, Orange."* This is what it looks like:

Select this gradient style, then click "OK." Your photo should now look something like this:

*A few other gradient styles can be used to achieve neat results. Mess around with them!

Step 4. Now, we want to make this adjustment layer a permanent part of our image. So, we want to "merge" the adjustment layer with our Background copy layer. Do this by right-clicking the Gradient Map 1 adjustment layer, and then clicking "Merge Down," like this:

You will now have two layers- one that is the original image, and the other that looks like a crazy violet, green, and orange mixup.

Step 5. These colors are a bit extreme, so let's turn them down a bit. With the "Background copy" layer selected, click the "Opacity" box on the Layers Palette. Now, lower the opacity to your liking. Here's the setting I used:

Your image should now look something like this:

Step 6. Ok, so the colors are a bit more "vintage," but it still looks too... "new." Let's fix that.

Press Ctrl, Alt, Shift, and E all at the same time. This will create a new layer, with everything visible in your image stamped into one layer, like this:

Now, go up to the Filter menu, and click:
Filter>Artistic>Film Grain
like this:

Now, a box will pop up, and you will see a preview of your image with the film grain effect added. Change these settings to your liking. Here's what I used:

Once you're done with this, click "OK."

Your image should now look something like this:

Great! Now, with a few more light touchups, like levels, brightness/contrast, etc, you're done!

Good work!

(-: Vince Petaccio :-)

Comments | RSS

1. posted by Woopidoo2, Apr 2, 2007 3:58 PM

Nice, should remind this tutorial for later

2. posted by RachSkull, Jun 4, 2007 10:41 AM

:-) Great! Ill use this.

3. posted by cordelina, Jun 28, 2007 9:26 PM

Awsome =)

4. posted by baychee, Jun 29, 2007 1:14 AM

great tut! if nothing else you gave me a very valuable keyboard shortcut (stamp all)! i had been wondering for the longest time how i could merge my adjustment layers, yet keep them intact. thanks!

5. posted by asl-design, Jul 17, 2007 11:35 AM

Cheers mate. very usefull

6. posted by morleys, Jul 30, 2007 6:00 PM

Cool, your tutorial was very easy to follow. Thanks

7. posted by yeswai, Aug 16, 2007 6:57 AM

woah, i'll surely take this into condsieration.

8. posted by xchildx, Aug 16, 2007 12:21 PM


9. posted by MistressKy, Nov 10, 2007 8:58 AM

Nice tutorial! My picture didn't turn out as well as yours, but it still taught me that new shortcut. Thanks for sharing :)

10. posted by escan, Aug 18, 2010 9:01 AM

Nice tutorial.

11. posted by bobak_art, Dec 26, 2007 2:41 PM

Very nice and useful tutorial....
Great work!

12. posted by shari_y77, Jan 4, 2008 7:00 AM

not bad, neighbor!

13. posted by aagavin, Jan 19, 2008 12:55 AM

kool n-and-games

14. posted by leave81, Jan 19, 2008 10:09 AM

cool !! im gonne use it ;-)

15. posted by makasper44, Jan 30, 2008 4:15 AM

Sorry Man, but this looks nothing like an old photo. Nice effect though.

16. posted by VinnyPrime, Jan 30, 2008 5:51 AM

It's not necessarily meant to look old- just vintage. :o)

17. posted by de_keyzer, Mar 13, 2008 8:59 AM

for a real vintag-look, the dynamic range is too high. when you look at real vintag photos, you can notice, that they have far less tonal values. and on your photo is therefore too "deep".

18. posted by ericalee, Mar 16, 2008 4:15 AM

I lOVE that you gave us the same picture that you used to start out with. Now THAT's a tutorial!

19. posted by simmi2410, Apr 26, 2008 6:21 PM

I like it!

20. posted by missvogue, May 14, 2008 5:25 AM

looks good.

21. posted by alainap, May 14, 2008 8:46 PM

very easy to do and looks super cool. thanks!

22. posted by easy37, Oct 29, 2008 3:51 PM


23. posted by trainer2, May 31, 2013 9:10 AM

omg, this is amazing. i love you

24. posted by renderiska, Jun 21, 2013 5:58 AM

works real well.

25. posted by carlislekm, Jul 29, 2013 4:39 AM

Very interesting

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