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Making photos look old (authentically)

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  #1  
Old 04-30-2009, 02:49 AM
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Soul_of_Kilik Soul_of_Kilik is offline
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Making photos look old (authentically)

Hi
I am a photographer and retoucher and I have a request from one of my important editorial clients to age a series of photographs. I've been researching and looking around, but all I seem to run into are really cheezball soft focus, fake grain and nasty sepia tones on digital images. Nothing looks authentically 'old'. The "70's look" and variants of that is not exactly what I'm looking for either.

Looking at real aged photo's:
patchy blur
frayed edges
uneven exposures
light leaking into frames
flare
colours fade but blue and magenta remain

Anybody here that can point out a link?
Got any tips or examples of something similar?

Thanks peeps. Much appreciated. Will happily post the pics here once published.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:43 AM
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crazyfly1 crazyfly1 is offline
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

One way is to use and aged photo on a layer under your photo and bring in some of the cracks, frayed edges and such from underneath. I'll look around tomarrow, I know I've got tutorials on it somewhere.
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:42 AM
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Soul_of_Kilik Soul_of_Kilik is offline
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

Yes I thought about that.. maybe even the frames of an old 4x5 neg. Sounds fascinating, crazyfly1. I can't wait to see.

Last edited by Soul_of_Kilik; 04-30-2009 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:07 AM
Aleksman71 Aleksman71 is offline
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

Like this.I used layers of craks, frayed edges ...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg new.jpg (96.9 KB, 146 views)
File Type: jpg old.jpg (95.5 KB, 203 views)
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2009, 08:20 PM
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

http://www.creativepro.com/article/p...image-look-old

I know I have a video too, I'll keep looking.

http://graphicreporter.com/tutorials...ingphotos.html

Another good one from Kelby.

http://www.planetphotoshop.com/give-...ique-look.html

I'm still looking for the video, it showed how to do it with an actual old photo.

Last edited by crazyfly1; 04-30-2009 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:52 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

i had a tutorial that replicates the look that Aleksman71 got but i can't seem to find it...
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:51 PM
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Flotsam Flotsam is offline
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

If you're using Photoshop I have an action that might be of some use.
Let me know.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:57 AM
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Soul_of_Kilik Soul_of_Kilik is offline
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

aaahh you guys are LEGENDS!!

Thanks sooo much. I'll post the resulsts soon.

@ Aleksman: That looks excellent. Very authentic.
@ Crazyfly: Thanks for the links. I'll check them out right now.
@ Flotsam: Yep... Photoshop, thank you.
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Old 05-01-2009, 04:24 AM
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

Old Photo Action
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:50 PM
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Re: Making photos look old (authentically)

There are a bunch of things relevant to making a picture look "old."

What time period, for example? If you want Civil War era, then your image should have a lavender or indigo tint, since gold chloride was used to tone images during the general time frame of 1850 to 1890. If you want the look of the immigration period (Godfather time frame), then you want the brown/red brown of selenium or sepia. For higher grade photos of the same era, you would use a red brown palladium, or the yellowish green tint of platinum, both of which metals were used to tone gallery type images. If you want anything from WWII or newer, your tint should be silverish blue from the silver nitrate used.
Toning is a huge part of authenticity if you want to recreate an accurate replica of any time period.

The second thing that is an issue is paper grade. Keep in mind that the greater majority of images produced during the 1850s to 1910s would have been albumen pages, since that was all the rage. To faithfully reproduce such an image, it takes more than coffee stains. You have to actually reproduce the paper fibers in your image, since none of our photographic papers today show any fibers, unless you buy some really cheap artistic rag. If you want to reproduce something prior to the 1850s, like a Daguerrotype, the Daguerrotype was a silver nitrate emulsion on a copper plate, which is why they are sometimes black and white when the silver emulsion is still fully intact, sometimes orangish if the emulsion was or is too thin, and sometimes green from the tarnish caused by copper oxidation.

So you have to decide on the time period you are trying to reproduce.

The second thing you have to consider is what caused the damage associated with the old "look."
Tearing a corner is a cheap way to "olden" a photograph. Anyone can do that. What do you do with an image that was taken care of and kept in a frame? Those look old too.

First, any image older than seventy-five years is going to be faded in general. The paper back then just wasn't as archival as it is today.
Second, before a certain point, there weren't color photographs, just black and white photographs tinted with a variety of chemicals.

So to start with your image, you have to black and white it with your choice method. Personally, I prefer the actual black and white tool in Photoshop. It reproduces many of the effects of actual black and white photography.
Then, adjust the levels of your image. Leave the input for the blacks at 0 and set the output to anywhere between 24 and 40, depending on how faded you want it. Then leave the input for the whites at 255 and set the output to 240. Don't go any lower than that, because paper white is still relevant, even if the image is completely faded away.

If you are reproducing an image from the 1800s, assuming the albumen style, then duplicate your layer, and apply the Rough Pastels filter. Set the Length to 6, the Detail to 4, the Scaling to 100, the Relief to 20, and show the light from the bottom. Make the layer an overlay layer.
Then adjust the layer with Curves, using the Darken preset.
Merge down.
That will give you the albumen page texture.

Next, merge your layers, duplicate the leveled, black and white, textured image, and decide on your damage, and how it got that way.
Typical fading on a photograph that was taken care of is caused by sunlight. Create a levels adjustment layer and make the outputs 30 and 255. Decide where the light was hitting the photograph and mask the levels adjustment layer so only those parts show. Then use Gaussian Blur to blur the mask and soften the edges. I would blur it at 50 or better.

To get tone flaking, caused the by the egg whites chipping off, just copy the straight black and white image prior to toning and put it on the bottom of your stack. When you have finished toning and correcting your image, just mask out certain areas to reveal the untoned image.

There are tons of things you can do. What's important for accurate recreation is using the right tones for the period, and reproducing believable damage. Not every "old" picture was kept in a shoe box, or in someone's wallet.
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File Type: jpg Old-2.jpg (97.3 KB, 121 views)
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