What's new

70s family photo effect


danman03

Well-Known Member
Messages
68
Likes
6
So, I want to make one of those awkward family photos for a christmas card this year. I know how what needs to be done to get the effect, but I just don't really know HOW to achieve it. The old grainy and washed out effect is giving me a lot of problems and I was wondering if anyone knows of a tutorial that could help me out? I've looked on youtube for how to give photos that vintage feel, but none of them looked like what I was trying to achieve. Any tips would be helpful, thanks guys! And a Happy Holidays to everyone!
 

Attachments

fredfish

Guru
Messages
887
Likes
1,247
As well as gedstars suggestions of gradient maps have a look at the "color lookup" and "photo filters" adjustment layers - playing with a combination of these (varying the strength of each adjustment layer) can give some good results in this area.

If you search hard enough you can find some new color lookup profiles available for download as well.

Cheers

John
 

Tom Mann

Guru
Messages
7,223
Likes
4,341
If the OP is still following this thread, let me make a general comment: It's more difficult than most people would think to get a truly convincing simulation of any particular "look", including the film look illustrated in the example given.

The reason is because for a good simulation, one has to get many aspects of the image right. The previous posts suggested changes to the color (using gradient maps, lookup tables and PS's photo filters), as well as trying to simulate film grain using a simple add-noise-then-blur technique.

In addition to these changes, one also needs to realize that the tonality of a film capture of an image is vastly different from that of a digital capture -- digital images typically have very sharp cutoffs as one approaches both pure blacks and very bright areas, whereas film has much more gradual transitions into these areas. In addition, film typically shows halation effects (ie, spilling of light and dark areas into their surroundings even when the film has an anti-halation layer), and that has to be simulated, particularly in high contrast portraits and other images.

Other differences include the fact that film images almost never have the incredible sharpness and the comparative lack of veiling flare of digital images, particularly those taken with modern optics having very high modulation transfer functions at high spatial frequencies, as well as vastly superior anti-reflection coatings.

Also, let me point out that the example image has a cross-hatch texture that Is almost certainly from a matte (aka, "semi-gloss") texture on the print that was scanned.

So, to do a truly convincing simulation of this particular look, one would have to accurately simulate each of the effects listed above, plus other effects not mentioned (eg, different spectral responsivities, etc.). Once you get into this game, you will realize that people have expended an incredible amount of effort to simulate each one of these effects. Companies (eg, Alien Skin, VSCO) have been formed to develop plugins, actions and presets that do nothing except try to accurately simulate film grain and a variety of spectral responsivities. Other companies (eg, Richard Rosenman) have developed products to simulate the softness and halation properties of film, lens flare, etc. etc.

The quest for a realistic simulation of film has absorbed the lives of many photographers, and many pros have simply thrown up their hands, said "it's just too much work" (to get a good simulation), so, when they need a film look, they simply shoot with film using old equipment. Only you can decide how close you want to get and how much effort you want to put into this quest.

If you are interested, you realize that there is no "one-button-fix", and you know Photoshop fairly well and are willing to spend the time learn even more and do considerable experimentation, we'll be more than happy to guide you in this quest -- just let us know.

Cheers and the best of the holiday season to you and yours.

Tom M
 

danman03

Well-Known Member
Messages
68
Likes
6
Thanks for all the help and tips guys. Tom Mann had a great explanation and I completely agree. It is really hard to get a true vintage film look. I did some editing and I got a pretty good result for what I was wanting. I got some of these printed up at a local print shop, but I was very dissatisfied with the results. Virtually any fade I had in the picture was gone when the picture was printed. I don't know what caused the prints to leave out the fade, my guess is the software the printer used or the machine just can't print the image like it's supposed to.



christmascard.jpg
 

Tom Mann

Guru
Messages
7,223
Likes
4,341
Since the average customer is looking for bright & contrasty prints, most printers leave "automatic corrections" turned on. These can have several effects, but the most obvious is similar to what you would get if you applied a "levels" adjustment layer to your intentionally faded print, and then moved the L and R endpoint sliders inwards to the points when the histogram started to rise above the baseline. This is sure death for any intentional fading / low contrast effect.

All printers that cater to pros and semi-pros will give the customer the option of not using "automatic corrections", but sometimes you have to hunt around to find it.

Tom M
 

danman03

Well-Known Member
Messages
68
Likes
6
So, do you think I should talk to the printer and see what they can do about keeping my photo as close as how I edited it? Maybe see if they won't use those "automatic corrections"?
 

Tom Mann

Guru
Messages
7,223
Likes
4,341
Yes, absolutely talk to them. OTOH if they give you some excuse why they can't do this, take your business to a different printer, ie, one who is used to having pros as customers, ie people who know exactly what they want and who don't want anyone second guessing them. Even reasonably high volume, semi-pro printers like Adorama (in NYC) and many other shops offer this.

Tom M
 

Top