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Tips & Tricks Adobe Photoshop 7.0 Chapter 1 How to set the Brush Tools

The Aging Photo

In this tutorial we’ll take a look at how to make a crisp digital photograph look like it was taken decades ago.

Before you start

NOTE: Many of the settings used in this tutorial are only rough guides to give you an idea on what to do and need not be strictly adhered to. Different images need different levels of treatment so feel free to experiment with a variety of settings to find out what yields the best result for you.

  Step 1: Create a border



Start off by opening your photo in Photoshop and adding a border around it by increasing the canvas size [Image > Canvas size]. Add about 40 pixels to both the height and width dimensions of the canvas to create a 20 pixel thick border around the photo.


   Step 2: Filling the border

In this step we'll add some colour to the border surrounding the photo.

Go down to the [Layers] panel and create a new layer by clicking on the [Create a New Layer] button. Drag the newly created layer under the layer containing the photo.


Set your foreground colour to #F9F1E5 and using the Paint Bucket tool fill the new layer with the foreground colour.


The border looks a little too perfect for an old photo, so let's add a little bit of discoloration.


Right click on the layer and select [Blending Options].

Now, click on the [Inner glow] tab and adjust the settings as shown below.

You should now have a faint brown stain along the edges of your photo's border.
   Step 3: Add some noise
In the [Layers] panel select the layer containing the photograph and using [Filter>Noise>Add Noise], add about 3-5% [Monochromatic] noise to the image to give the photo a grainy look.
   Step 4: Remove the color

Move back down to the [Layers] panel, click the [Create new fill or adjustment layer] , select [Hue/Saturation] and adjust the settings roughly in accordance with what I have used.

Right click on the [Hue/Saturation] layer and select [Create clipping mask] to restrict the effect of the layer to the photo.
   Step 5: Adjust the exposure

Now let's adjust the exposure of the image by once again clicking on the [Create new fill or adjustment layer] and select [Exposure].


Adjust the settings of the Exposure adjustment layer, as follows, to darken the image



At the moment the overall photo is looking a little too dark. What we need to do now is to adjust the [Exposure] layer so that it only affects the border of the photo. To do this, firstly, make sure the [Clipping mask] for the [Exposure] adjustment layer is selected.


Select the [Brush] tool and in the [Brushes] panel increase the size of the brush's diameter and reduce the hardness down to 0.

Click the [Other Dynamics] tab and set the [Opacity Control] to [Pen Pressure].


Now using your Wacom Tablet, gently paint the central part of the photo to mask the effects of the [Exposure] layer.

Having done this, right click on the [Exposure] layer and select [Create Clipping Mask].
   Step 6: Scratch the surface

The photo is still in too good a condition to pass off as an old photo so to help overcome this we'll add some scratches and imperfections to its surface. [Create a new layer] and drag it to the top of the [Layers panel].

Set the foreground and background colors to their default state (SHIFT + D) and the switch them around so that the white is in the foreground and black is in the background.


Now, using the [Paint Bucket] tool, fill the new layer with the foreground colour (white).



Add some noise to this layer by going [F ilter>Noise>Add Noise]. Set the noise level to about 38% and make sure the distribution is set to [Gaussian] and that the [Monochromatic] check box is ticked.


With the help of the [M agic Wand] tool, select and delete random parts of this layer till you get something that looks very similar to the image below.



Getting looks old....

Bring out the Brush tool and use your Wacom Tablet to draw in some thin, white lines/scratches.

Set the layer's [Blending mode] to [Overlay] and turn down its [Opacity] to around 36%.

The image below shows roughly how your photo should be looking at this stage of the tutorial

   Step 7: Add more scratches

Let's degrade the surface even further by adding even more scratches. The scratches that we will be adding in this step will be far more subtle than the scratches add in the previous step. This will help blend the image together a whole lot better.

In the [Layers] panel [Create a new layer] and drag it to the top of the list. Set the foreground colour to #D9C3A9 and using the [Paint Bucket] tool, fill the new layer with the foreground color.

Go to [Filter>Texture>Grain] and add some grain to the layer using the settings below.



Set the layer's [Blending mode] to [Softlight] and turn down its [Opacity] to around 43%.

With any luck your photo should look very similar to the image.

   Step 8: Bleeding the edge

In this step we're going to bleed the perimeter of the photo so as to remove the clean cut edge that exists between the photo and its border.

With the photo layer selected, use [Rectangular Marquee Tool] to select an area that is just slightly smaller than the size of the photo.

Inverse the selection by either pressing [Shift+Ctrl+I] or by going [Select>Inverse].

Using the settings below perform a [Gaussian Blur] on the selection : [Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur]
   Step 9: Jagged border

In this last step we're going to add the final touches to the photo by applying a jagged edge to its border.

Add another 20 pixels to the height and width of the canvas by using the [Image>Canvas Size] method that was mentioned in step 1.

Go to the [Layers] panel, right click on the layer containing the border and click [Select Pixels]. Doing this creates a selection box around the border.


Click on the [Quick Mask Mode] button and then create a jagged edge by using the crystalize filter [Filter>Pixelate>Crystalize].


Escape quick mask mode by clicking on the [Quick Mask Mode] button again. M ove down to the [Layers] panel and, making sure that the border layer is selected, click on the [Add Vector Mask] button.



Having done all this you should now have a tattered old photo sitting in front of you.

The Aging Photo ( PDF 1.1MB)
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