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Creating Distressed and Vintage Photo Effects with Photoshop

via LinkedIn Learning


Learn how to create unique, beautiful vintage and distressed photo effects using Photoshop.

Sometimes a photo conveys a more powerful message if it's less than perfect. In this course, photographer and educator Seán Duggan shows how to use Photoshop to create vintage and distressed photo effects.

After reviewing the kinds of things that make a photo look old—fading, chemical deterioration, physical damage, and so on—Sean shows how to re-create those effects in Photoshop. He also explores other facets of vintage photography, from lens distortion to light leaks, and shows how to simulate them. The course concludes with details on adding texture and border effects to your finished photos.


  • Welcome
  • What you should know before taking this course
  • Using the exercise files
1. Overview of What Causes a Distressed Look
  • Causes from the photographic process
  • Causes from the developing and printing processes
  • Fading, deterioration, and damage
2. Aging an Image with Tonal and Color Adjustments
  • Analyzing the tonal characteristics of old images
  • Converting a color image to black and white
  • Using Levels and Curves for faded and low-contrast effects
  • Creating a sepia-tone effect
  • Using Hue/Saturation to emulate a faded effect
3. Blurring Effects
  • Adjusting focus to emulate a vintage image
  • Focus falloff with Iris Blur
  • Focus distortion with Spin Blur and Radial Blur
  • Uneven focus with the Field Blur filter
  • Long-exposure motion-blur effects
  • Creating a tilt-shift-focus effect
  • Adding noise after a blur effect
4. Vignetting, Light Leaks, and Faded Color
  • Creating uneven light through vignetting
  • Using gradients for a light-leak effect
  • Transforming light-leak effects
  • Using layer masks and filters with light leaks
  • Saving a light-leak effect as a separate file
  • Creating a faded-color effect
  • Creating a cross-processed color effect
5. Textures, Damage, and Edge Effects
  • Where textures fit in the imaging workflow
  • Building an archive of texture photos
  • Using blend modes to combine textures and images
  • Using the Adobe Paper Textures Pro panel
  • Creating composite layers from multiple blend-mode effects
  • Combining a photo with a vintage-image border
  • Combining images for custom distressed effects
  • Exporting textures and borders from apps to use in Photoshop
  • Next steps

Taught by

Seán Duggan

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