Aging Photographs in Adobe Photoshop

Something I’ve recently discovered–and had a lot of fun playing with–is aging photographs in Adobe Photoshop. I’ve been through some classes, and know that Photoshop is an extremely versatile tool–but I’d never actually tried out a step-by-step guide for aging pictures until the other day. In other words, I knew enough to be dangerous, but not much else.
 
Below is a guide on how to take a color image and turn it into an aged-appearing black-and-white digital image. I know that these techniques have been discussed on many messsage boards and blogs. The following technique was posted on the Maschinen Krieger message boards (here) by member Roggenwolf. It’s worth reading the thread, as there are links to several other techniques, as well. In addition, there’s methods for aging color images. For simplicity, I’m just going to list out how to do it in black and white here.
 
First, open the image in Photoshop.
1.  Create a duplicate of the background layer. Call it Monochrome, and select it in the Layers palette.
2.  Press D, to restore Color Picker to default black & white.
3.  Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map.
4.  Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set Radius to 0.5 pixels.
5.  Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Set Amount to 10%, Distribution to Uniform and check Monochromatic.
6.  Filter > Blur > Smart Blur. Set Radius to 3.0, Threshold to 25, Quality to Low and Mode to Normal.
7.  Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Set Brightness to +15 and Contrast to -25.
8.  Create new layer. Call it Fading. Set its Mode to Overlay and its Opacity to 25%.
9.  Filter > Render > Clouds.
10. Image > Adjustments > Levels. Click Auto and "OK".
11. Open Color Picker and set foreground color to EECE93.
12. Create new layer. Call it Tint.
13. Edit > Fill. For Contents, use Foreground Color; for Blending, set Mode to Normal and Opacity to 25%.
14. In the Layers palette, select the Tint layer.
15. Create new Layer. Select it and call it Stains.
16. Edit > Fill. For Contents, use Foreground Color; for Blending, set Mode to Normal and Opacity to 100%.
17. Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All.
18. Filter > Render > Clouds.
19. Image > Adjustments > Levels. Set Input Levels to 127, 1.00, 129.
20. Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set Radius to 4.0 pixels.
21. In the Layers palette, right-click on the layer mask icon and select Apply Layer Mask from the menu. Then set Mode, for Stains layer, to Multiply and Opacity to 10%.
22. Duplicate the Stains layer. In the Layers palette, select the copy and rename it Stains Edges.
23. Filter > Stylize > Find Edges.
24. At this point, you can flatten the image, or (better yet) save it as a Photoshop file, and then merely save a copy as the new image–allowing you to play with the image later on.
And that’s about it. Again, this was a technique originally written up by the Ma.K. forums member Roggenwolf, so he deserves all the credit for this easy-to-follow guide. This technique can certainly be applied to more than just models, but models are a great place to start!
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