Below is a photo I took outside my house. I was messing around in Photoshop with different effects, and really like the outcome (bottom image). The problem is I don't remember everything I did to it. Does anyone have any tips on how to reproduce it? I would really like to know how.

Here is what I do remember. I used an adjustment layer to completely de-saturated the photo, then I used a very soft eraser with about 30% opacity and let some of the color in the townhomes flow through. I reduced the opacity even more and did the same to the sky.

I am not sure what I did after that. I think I messed around with the brightness/contrast and maybe applied another B/W adjustment layer to it, but that just makes it B/W. I must have changed the blending mode or something.

If anyone has any tips I would really appreciate it. I have been trying to do this for a while and can't figure it out.

original image

desired effect

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what you did exactly, but this made me laugh out loud. +1 for sure. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Aug 10, 2011 at 3:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ We've had our fair share of 'how do i do <something here>?' but I think this is the first because they forgot how they did it themselves! \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Aug 10, 2011 at 3:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know..i wish i would have saved the psd :p \$\endgroup\$
    – user6189
    Aug 10, 2011 at 4:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that in modern versions of Photoshop there is the option of keeping an edits log. In CS5 look under Preferences -> General and then look for "History Log". It has been there since CS2 at least. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2011 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


Quick attempt on my part in Photoshop with:

  1. Vibrance layer (immediate above image) of -31 vibrance and -77 saturation
  2. Curves layer (top most) using the "strong contrast" preset


enter image description here

It's very close from what I can tell, so minor tweaks from there would place you where you wanted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ yes very close. much easier to remember too! they sky is a little off, but this gives me a big head start. thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – user6189
    Aug 10, 2011 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Joe - You're very welcome. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Aug 10, 2011 at 15:57

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