Aging a digital image

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by inTempus, May 5, 2010.

  1. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    How do you guys age a digital image? I have a bunch of events this year I've scheduled where I'm going to shoot everything from WWII reenactments, to Civil War reenactments to a Ren Fest here and there.

    I really get a kick out of editing these images to make them look vintage (of course the Ren Fest is an exception).

    How do you do your edits?

    Here's a couple of samples of edits I did using CS3.

    Color:
    [​IMG]

    Yes, there was color film in WWII. :) In this shot I used layers, they are:

    1) background
    2) Gaussian blur (.3%)
    3) added film grain
    4) burn & dodge layer
    5) color adjustment layer
    6) curves layer

    B&W:
    [​IMG]

    The same thing, just without color really. I used a textured layer though for this one.

    1) background
    2) B&W conversion layer
    3) grain layer
    4) texture layer (pic of old piece of paper)
    5) brightness/contrast adjustment
    6) curves layer
    7) burn & dodge layer

    I feel with these I've captured the feeling of the period. I scoured the internet looking for authentic pics to guide me... but my Photoshop mojo isn't what I would consider to be all that great.

    Does anyone have any advice, tips, tricks, etc. for aging a digital picture?
     
  2. erichards

    erichards TPF Noob!

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    I like the first one better than the second. The texture in #2 is overkill and distracting, #1 is good I like the 'aging' more but a bit too much on the grain, and the color is a bit too bright/ clear (don't really know the word I'm looking for but really too saturated for 'aged'). Have you tried doing a sepia tone with the techniques used in the first picture? #2 isn't true B&W and I like that about it. Note: I wouldn't use the automatic sepia in photoshop (or any other editing software) as it tends to be way to orange. I generally use (in Photoshop) Image-> Adjustments->variations and add yellow and red 'til I like it, then adjust the saturation etc. until I'm happy.
    This is just my opinion, hope it's useful.
     
  3. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    I usually add texture by painting some areas with texture brushes or using filters on a separate layer in Photoshop, usually adding some grain. I'm probably taking it too far but sometimes I even add in some imperfections like the ones real old photographs have. I actually like cracks and dust when it comes to making pictures look "old." It just takes more than going sepia to make me believe it's an old photo. I like to leave (add) some "bad" stuff in for the sake of character.

    Also, though I may use a sepia filter I always tweak the color to suit me, and I never make a photograph strictly black and white. I tend to add something like faint hint of blue so it's not so flat. Real old shots don't always have perfectly black, gray, and white hues. It depends upon the film and how the paper and chemicals aged. They sometimes do have a faint cast that's a tad blue or brown or green in some areas and I think that really breaks up the monotony having some of that in there.

    I tend to correct in the channels a lot and I convert to black and white myself using the adjustments and filters rather than just letting Photoshop do it. I like to shoot in straight digital black and white if I can, but if I can't I want to control it all from start to finish. I'm not much into using the standard settings for that kind of thing. I really like to experiment.
     
  4. erichards

    erichards TPF Noob!

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    Oh yeah, it does take more than color and tone changes to make it aged. Leaving in the inperfections (dust & film grain (my favorite) etc...), do their part to make it appear aged. However, it just looked a bit over done for my taste.
    Places to get inspiration for the old look would be the local historical society, and your old family pictures.
     
  5. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    Lots of antique and junk shops have piles of old photos too. You can pick them up for a song. Old family photos from the 1800 and 1900's abound actually. I buy them just to have examples sometimes. You can often copy the ones at the libraries and museums but it helps to have some of the real thing handy when you are going for a certain look. Copies just are not the same.
     
  6. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Yes, there was color photography at the time of WW2 (it was there even for WW1) but after your last thread I went looking for examples on the battlefield because I just couldn't remember ever seeing any.

    I found more than I expected but, still, not much and definitely not "action shots." However, I don't think anyone is going to hold it against you if you keep some shots in color unless you try and pass them as old war photos.

    For what it's worth, I like the B&W one better myself for the above reason but also because you get the feel of paper. And the yellowish tone you picked looks like a lot of the photos I have of that time.
     
  7. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    Time Life books always have a lot of shots in them for CW, WW1-WW2, Korea, Vietnam etc in color and black and white. They're a fantastic resource actually that way. I love looking through them. It's very informative as to styles and how they actually looked back then.
     

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