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Retro Effect Tutorial

 

This tutorial was featured in the latest Advanced Photoshop magazine(Issue105) amongst the 20 PRO photo effects collection!

 

Here is the step by step guide on how to give your photos a retro look/lomo photography effect!

For this example i will use my photo "Explorer kitty"


As you can see the image below was taken in the first hours of sunlight also known as one of the "golden hours" so we have a nice backlight and contrast to start with.
But the overall feeling of the photo is still a bit cold and weak in colors.



We wil be using many adjustment layers on top of the image so that we can always go back and dynamically change the settings according to our taste
Remember you can always paint with a soft 40% opacity black colored airbrush on the mask to remove the effect from the areas that it is burning your values


1.Look at the bottom of the layers tab, there is a half black-half white button, on hover says "Create new fill/adjustment layer". Click on it and choose Selective color.


Choose the color you want to adjust, and drag the sliders to increase or decrease the components in the selected color.
You can enter the following values:
Colors: Reds
-100
100
-19
100

Colors: Yellows
60
0
90
0


Colors: Greens
100
60
-100
0


Colors: cyans
74
0
0
0


Colors: Blues
34
0
-40
0

Colors: Blacks
0
0
0
-4

Since the Selective color has subtle results i will create an extra new Selective color Layer on top of the existing one
and pull out some cyan reflections from the sky on the wet leafblades in orfer to get an image with richer color depth.
THe trick is not to ever do it with warming up/blowing the values the image but to create a visual interest with various color elements thoughout the image and try to  keep it quality looking with small adjustments.

Colors: Greens
100
-10
60
10


Colors: cyans
74
0
0
0


Colors: Blues
34
0
-40
0

Result is displayed in the image below




2. So now its time for Levels adjustment layer, adding overall yellowish warmth.



Red: 0    1.00   226
Blue:30   1.00   255

Result is:


3.Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and enter the following values:

Master:
Hue 0
Saturation:13
Lightness:0

Greens:
Hue:15
Saturation:30
Lightness: 14

Result is




4. now you can create a new empty layer on top of all layer to lighten and darken some areas of the picture.
With a large soft airbrush i used a brown color (RGB 70 45 40) to create some sort of a Vignette on the edges of the image and a pale yellow on the central areas(RGB 230 230 200) to create the effect that it is bathed in light


some experimenting with opacity is needed because it can easily become to bright/fake looking and every image has its own needs.

The result so far should be something like this:




5. Finally a Black and White adjustment layer on top is always handy to quicly fix the values and you can create some amazing results experimenting with it and several blending modes.
Remember:the better the quality of your photo, the more values it will pull:
Put it in Soft light mode and set it to 50-70% opacity
Enter the values as seen on the picture


Custom

Reds:-40
yellows:101
Greens:220
Cyans:300
Blues:-14
Magentas:-107

We are finally finished! Result is:


If you followed all the steps your Layer stack should look like this:




(This tutorial usually works best on nature photos with natural lighting where cold green and brown hues are dominant but feel free to experiment on other type of images or make your own tweaks in the initial workflow to fit each case.)
I have also attached some more examples where the same layers where drag-and-dropped on similar washed out images

Examples of similar nature photos using the same procedure (before and after)




All Photos used in this tutorial belong to ©Irene Zeleskou. They are for demostration purpose therefore You may not alter them/use them/upload them in any way as your own.