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Aging photos – quick and simple

Numerous tutorials on the Internet describe various ways to age a photo. I would like to offer another one, using Photoshop with Filter Forge plugin. This tutorial doesn't use ready-made textures and brushes.

If you haven't got Filter Forge installed, download it from the developer's website http://www.filterforge.com/download/. Run the setup to install Filter Forge. A new menu option appears in the Filters menu.

Step 1. Open the Original Image

Run Photoshop and open the source image (Ctrl+O). I used a photo that I shot in St. Petersburg using Canon A520. Note there are no details that would go against the vintage photo style, like satellite dishes or modern cars. Examine your photo for such elements and remove them from the image. There are many ways to do this, I will not address this further.

Filter Forge Tutorial - Step 1

Step 2. Correct the contrast

Correct the image contrast: Image > Adjustment > Brightness/Contrast. For this image I set the contrast to +30.

Filter Forge Tutorial - Step 2

Step 3. Apply the 'Old Photo' Filter

Select the Filter Forge plugin from within Photoshop (Filter > Filter Forge). Visit the 'Old Photo' page – http://www.filterforge.com/filters/5075.html – and click 'Open in Filter Forge'. The filter (38,7 KB) will be downloaded and opened.

Filter Forge Tutorial - Step 3

Repeat the above actions to download the 'Coffee Stain' filter from http://www.filterforge.com/filters/1203.html (12,9 KB). We'll use it later to add stains.

In Filter Forge, select 'Old Photo' from the Photo category.

Step 4. Fine-Tune the Filter Parameters

Now we've got the necessary filter and can figure out the parameters required for the modification. For the start let's try the factory presets (on the Presets tab) – double-click a preset thumbnail. One of them is acceptable but can be fine-tuned. Click the Settings tab and start experimenting with the sliders.

One thing can be of great help: the 'Next variant' button in the Randomizer section. You can simply click it until you get acceptable results.

Here's the variant with which we'll proceed:

Filter Forge Tutorial - Step 4

Step 6. Add Stains with the 'Coffee Stain' Filter

Create a new layer in Photoshop, name it Stain and start Filter Forge (Filter > Filter Forge). Select the 'Coffee Stain' texture filter in the Misc category.

Sidenote: you may have spotted duplicate categories in Filter Forge categories list, such as Misc, Frame, Patterns. One of them contains texture filters (the top part of the list), the other one contains effects (the bottom of the list). For more info, visit http://www.filterforge.com/more/help/Miscellaneous/FilterClasses.html. The 'Coffee Stain' texture filter is located in the first Misc category.

Apply the filter to the newly-created layer.

Filter Forge Tutorial - Step 5

Repeat the above actions to create new layers with more stains. Don't forget to experiment with the filter settings.

Step 6. Position the Stains

Move the stain layers to adequate positions (using the Move Tool Move Tool ). Set the Blending mode and Opacity for each layer. Remove the unnecessary stain parts (using the Erase Tool Move Tool ).

Filter Forge Tutorial - Step 6

Step 7. Final Result

That’s all. Here is the result:

Filter Forge Tutorial - Step 7

Author: Kochubey
June 4, 2009

Filter Forge's amazing node based editor has been invaluable in giving us the power to create textures that make the most of today's real-time pixel shaders.

Karl Wickens
Visual Effects Lead Artist
Electronic Arts

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