Aging Your Photos Digitally

Share
June 18, 2018

When you get that ol’ nostalgic feeling, it’s easy to lean into it with your photography. Your photos may be from now, but they don’t need to look that way.

What we lost when we left film photography for digital is some of that rustic charm. Some people don’t miss it. Others want to keep it alive. And for some, that rustic charm comes in the form of film grain. It was part of the film experience—a result of unique chemical reactions in the development process.

However, all is not lost. It’s easy to use ACDSee Photo Studio to add a film grain look for artistic effect. You can painlessly combine it with other effects to give it a stylized, archaic ambience.

First, what is film grain? Isn’t it just noise?

Well, not quite. Noise occurs due to the limitations of the sensor and transmission errors, especially when shooting in low light. The smaller the sensor, the higher chance you have of producing a noisy image. In other words, a very digital problem.

Meanwhile, film grain is texture that arises thanks to chemicals and dye particles (when using color film) reacting in during the development process. You might say it was a part of the film experience, particularly since the resulting patterns were wholly unique.

Generally, when people go for this look, they use a black and white photo. If you want to, you can create a grayscale image in Edit mode. If you want to work with a grayscale image and already have one, skip to the Grain Tool section below.

Select your regular color image and open it in Edit mode.

In the Color group, choose Convert to Black & White.

In the Convert to Black & White, do any of the following:

    • Drag the Percent Red slider to the left or right.

The more red there is in a pixel, the more effect the red slider has on that pixel. The area of red in the picture is brightened or darkened more than other areas.

    • Drag the Percent Green slider the left or right.

The more green there is in a pixel, the more effect the green slider has on that pixel. The area of green in the picture is brightened or darkened more than other areas.

    • Drag the Percent Blue slider to the left or right.

The more blue there is in a pixel, the more effect the blue slider has on that pixel. The area of blue in the picture is brightened or darkened more than other areas.

Drag the Percent Brightness slider to the right or left to brighten or darken the whole image.

Click Done. Then, in the Add group, select Grain.

Grain Tool

Inside the Grain tool, you can drag the sliders to customize the look and feel of the artifacts, depending on the texture you desire.

  • The Amount slider specifies the strength of the grain.
  • The Smoothing slider determines the smoothness of the grain.
  • Lastly, the Size slider establishes how big the grains will appear.

You can use the Preview window to view the effect up close.  Click on the preview to toggle a before and after of the effect being applied. Also, to change the area being previewed, click your desired area on the image itself.

Once you’re happy, press Done. You may want to add some special effects if you are looking to take the vintage look even further. Effects like Sepia and Old can really pump up the old timey vibe.

Here’s with the Old effect.

Here’s with the Sepia effect. I played around with the Opacity to get a bit more realism. Don’t forget about the Opacity slider, or Blend Modes, for that matter—they can give you a lot more control, particularly for effects like this that don’t have any customizable settings.

And here’s a combo of the two, because why not?

How old do you want it to look? Give me a year.

These remind me of ancient newspaper photos.

To finish in Edit mode, press Done again. That’s it! You’re finished. I hope you enjoyed aging your photos.

 

 

Tags: PC | LESSONS

Most Recent Posts