Photoshop Conversions for Colored Pictures

Turning colored photographs into vintage-looking images are now possible through Photoshop conversions.  An abundance of Photoshop applications and tutorials provide tools, instructions, and techniques that help one achieve an antique-like twist to their pictures; the finished products come out having been added with a bit of a dramatic, more interesting, and more endearing charm to the images within.

The most common types of Photoshop conversions one will find and use for pictures are:

  • The classic black and white, perfect for close-up single or dual portraits.
  • Grayscale.  In the world of Photoshop, this type of conversion is essentially very much the same thing as black and white, only with touches of gray.
  • Sepia, which runs along the darker to lighter shades of brown and white, reminiscent of the old, crunchy type of paper.

On a technical note, Photoshop tends to be kind of strict with what grayscale and black and white literally look like.  For Photoshop, black and white gives a more cartoonish, old-type comic-book illustration look.  Grayscale, on the other hand, more closely presents a clearer and more classic touch to the images.  I suppose when it comes to photography, this is not much of an issue.  Even if what we see in old pictures are gray specks, they have always been long known as black and white.  As far as Photoshop is concerned, grayscale is a more accurate way of toning down pictures when taking away their colors.  Not black and white.  I suppose for the sake of going by Photoshop lingo and technicality, grayscale would be better used for converting pictures.

If you want to go for even more unconventional and intense types of conversions, you could also consider these applications:

  • Vector types, in which the final products are more animated in an otherworldly kind of way.
  • Infrared or x-ray conversions that give images a hip, electric, wired look.

Typically, old photographs go through much editing and treatment to take off the fade, mold, or crease that makes the expression and appearance of the person or persons in the picture hard to make out.  And now, through Photoshop conversions, you can do the exact opposite: take modern digital pictures and make them look as though they came from the 1800’s, if you want the look of the picture to go as far back as that era.

But why would people still want to turn pictures of today, hip and digital as they are, into vintage-looking photographs?  It’s already ironic enough that we trick and treat up old ones to make them look more new and appear more “modern” themselves.  So why go through all the trouble of turning the new into old?

  • Artistic expression.  The Photoshop artist would like to see how certain expressions of certain images appear and feel in vintage-type of treatments.
  • Personal preferences.  Somewhat closely related to the first reason, the person treating the pictures goes for vintage because that is what suits his tastes and likes.
  • Endearment and sentimentality.  You have to admit, antique photographs do bear a great and enduring quality and beauty that is incredibly hard to resist.
  • Perspectives.  Seeing a photograph in a different type of mode, color, setting, and effect makes a certain, significant impression to the eyes of the beholder.

In converting pictures, the aim of the treatment is not to delete or add any detail from the picture whatsoever.  The goal you are trying to achieve has to do with keeping to what is original and essential in the picture and then giving it a different perspective changing the overall feel and tone of the picture, not so much with the enhancements and special effects.  To put it simply, you are only dealing with changing colors, not the adding or taking off this and that.  The process involves hiding, desaturating, adjusting, and tossing away of colors and manipulating their brightness values.  There are also steps that guide you in setting different color channels, separating and/or mixing them, bringing out subtle gradients and shades, and leaving a particular color alone to stand out against a backdrop of black, grey, or brown and white.

Photoshop conversions are a great medium for making colors come alive.  Colors have the ability to affect impressions, moods, thoughts, feelings, and ideas.  It influences us in truly subtle yet incredibly effective and mysterious ways.  And when we look at the way a picture is colored, we see and feel an unwritten and unspoken message through the colors of the images.

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