Lightnings taking a ride

by ceinmart

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I'm trying to accomplish this effect for my website. I need to do this to a couple photo's and they need to look exactly like this (see below).

Here is a link to the image with the effect I'm trying to accomplish:


I know there are a lot of tutorials out there for an old camera effect but I couldn't find any quite like this. How can I accomplish this effect in PhotoShop CS5 Extended? You can refer me to tutorials you may know of or give me hints. Thanks in advance for the help!

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closed as unclear what you're asking by John Cavan Aug 8 at 15:18

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Unless my eyes are deceiving me (and that's always a possibility), the image you are trying to emulate is actually a hand-tinted black and white photo. Looks like oils to me (rather than dyes), specifically Prussian blue and sap green. The sky and cloud/mist are blank because the film/plate used was really only sensitive to actinic (blue) light (it's likely pre-orthochromatic) so to record detail in the landscape the sky had to be significantly overexposed. That's the process you need to duplicate. –  user2719 Feb 1 '13 at 16:29
Looks like there was a red in there at some point as well, probably a crimson lake like madder, mixed with a touch of green to render a brownish tone. All that's left of it right now, really, is a "not yellow" remnant in a couple of places. Red lakes (dyes applied to inert pigments) tend to be very fugitive. –  user2719 Feb 1 '13 at 16:45
I don't have time now to answer, but if you want a hand tinted look, then hand tint the image. Convert to black and white. Then use blending modes to add in layers with blocks of color. I used to do some black and white image conversions and it can look a lot like this image. –  Phil Feb 1 '13 at 17:18

1 Answer 1

Original Image:

  1. Reduce the contrast using the levels tool (drag the output levels sliders in):

  1. Either apply a warming photo filter, or use the colour balance tool (colour balance gives you more control as it supports split toning, here I moved the shadows toward red and the highlights toward yellow):

  1. Finally apply film grain filter:

A better result could have been achieved by spending longer on the colour balancing step, the image you posted has a stronger split in colour between shadows and highlights. I think the lack of contrast caused the shadows and highlight adjustments to overlap too much, it might be better to do this step before reducing contrast.

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Thanks, that didn't really do it. Should I use an Old Camera overlay and blend it with the picture? –  Caleb Hallahan Feb 1 '13 at 16:06
@JohnHall There's no one set of steps that will work with every image, you have to experiment with the settings to see what works for your image, but some set of contrast/colour adjustments plus grain ought to work. But if you original image is totally different then you may not be able to get the exact effect you want. –  Matt Grum Feb 1 '13 at 16:14
To get this particular image closer to the sample, maybe a step in the middle introducing more blur, and perhaps a layer simulating haze? –  mattdm Feb 1 '13 at 16:34
Is there a set of brushes of some type that would work? Do you know of any scratch brushes you know of that you could refer me to? –  Caleb Hallahan Feb 1 '13 at 17:06
Another good idea would be to use an overlay layer with steel or paper scratched texture. With proper blending & nice texture you should be able to achieve results that are much more realistic than these from applying film gain. Just remember to CTRL+U and remove saturation out of texture before applying blending, cause otherwise your colors will be messed up in unpredictable way. –  MarcinWolny Feb 1 '13 at 17:08

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