Transforming an old photograph into one that looks as though it was taken with one of today's top-of-the-line digital SLRs is relatively easy in Adobe Photoshop CS2 and other image-editing programs. You'll find many retouching and restoration articles on the topic on the web and in photography and Photoshop magazines.
In this column, we're taking a look at the opposite effect, however: transforming a recent photograph into one that looks as though it was taken yesteryear. The techniques here are fast and easy. Let's go!
1. We'll begin with a picture of a man I took in Hong Kong, on film in 1976. He's asking me for a dollar. I had already paid him a dollar to take his picture and was about to take another. His hand went up before I could snap the shutter for a second time. I forked over another dollar bill. The bucks were well worth it.
2. In Photoshop CS2, I wanted to apply the Aged Photo Action. (An Action applies different combinations of effects/enhancements/filters, etc., with one click of the Action button.) The Aged Photo Action isn't listed in the default Actions palette, however, so it needed to be loaded. To load it, I first clicked on the fly-out arrow (see my red arrow) in the Actions palette and then clicked on Image Effects, the bundle of Actions that includes Aged Photo.
3. Here's a look at the Actions palette after all the Image Effects had been loaded (in about a second). I circled Aged Photo to make it easy for you to see it.
4. Hey, remember I said that clicking on an Action button applies several different effects/enhancements/filters with the click of your mouse? Well, this screenshot of the History palette shows the steps involved when the Aged Photo Action is applied. As you'll see, a new layer was created as well.