Old Photo


This tutorial will teach you how to transform a normal photo into something that looks like the 1890s very neat effect.


Step 1

Open the image of your choice.Make sure it’s RGB (not Indexed), of course. Go to layers>transparency>add alpha channel.

Image After Step Two

Step 2

Go to Image>Canvas Size… Click the “chain” to break it keeping aspect ratio. Increase the new width and new height by about 20 apiece (may vary according to your image size, but 20 is a good size for smaller images).

Clickto centre the image, and then OK

Step 3

In the Layers, Channels, and Paths dialogue box, create a new white layer. Fill it with the color #a7986f (a brown). Move it below your photo layer.

Step 4

Do Layers>alpha to selection on your original photo layer.
Grow selection by 5 (that is, one-fourth of what you increased the canvas size).

Step 5

Feather selection by 20. Make a new transparent layer, move it between the original photo layer and the brown layer. Fill the selection with white. Deselect (Selection>None).

Image after Step Six

Step 6

Duplicate the feathered white layer… Each time you do, a little more of the brown will be covered. I copied twice for this image.

Step 7

Select your original photo layer. Select colors>desaturate.
Copy your original photo layer, and fill it completely with #a7986f (same brown as before).

Set the layer blending mode to Overlay. You may at this point duplicate and modify the opacity of this layer to produce the amount of brown you wish to have shown in your picture, fiddle with the contrast of the original black and white layer (very recommended). You can make it look as if it has been washed out, or more sepia than anything. Or you could just leave it how it is. 😛

You may flatten the image, but it looks rather boring. Let’s continue below for more effects.

Step 8

Obtain a nice set of grunge brushes (ahem Prowler’s Brush Packs)

Step 9

To make it seem as if the photo has been scratched off a bit, use grunge brushes along the edges and a little bit in the centre of the original photo layer and erase portions of it (make sure you duplicate it just in case you overdo it, make the copy invisible so you can see what happens when you erase).

Personally I use Part 2-3 (Scratches), Prowler Grunge 14#6, Prowler Grunge 7, Prowler Grunge 6, Prowler Grunge 10#2, and from another brush pack, Grunge 23 and 24. *This tutorial is four years old, so I can’t remember the name of that particular pack.

Do this a little to the border itself so it doesn’t look too uniform: add a little black shading, also. Coffee stains also work well..

To make the border appear distressed or ripped, you could use the hard erase tool and use one or two of the brushes to remove parts of the bottom white layer. Look at the above image to see where I erased parts. The very tips of grunge brushes work well

Afterwards, you can flatten the image, and copy and paste it to a much larger sized image… I usually scale down my photo about 33.3% (Ratio X,Y ,667). I then use the transform tool to rotate it about 15º. Copy the layer, fill it with black, layer to image size, and, making sure keep trans. is off, blur by about 3×3 (and copy if necessary for a thicker shadow).

I usually add a staple, paper clip, or tape around this time. I did a tape tutorial, but the other two should be fairly easy to figure out. I no longer have the saved gfig shape for the paper clip. >_<

And there you have it. I might have an error or two or an old location in this tutorial. Just let me know.