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Chemical Bath effect

Chemical Bath effect - No, itís not an article on body disposal. Duncan Evans explains how to distress those lovely clean digital images.

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Adobe Photoshop

The trouble with digital, if you can call it that, is that it comes out of the can all clean and shiny and, well, lacking in character at times. Whereas in the olden days, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and film was king, you could simply select the stock to give the creative effect required. And if that wasn't good enough, then say hello to DIY developing and the world of chemicals in a dark room. Digitally, if you want to distress and image, you have to do it with your image editing program, and that's what this tutorial is about.

Chemical bath 1) Load your original image and convert it to mono however you like, simply ensuring that the face is light enough. Here Photoshop CS3’s Black and White filter was used.









Chemical bath 2) Create a new blank layer by clicking on the New Layer icon in the Layer’s palette. Then select the colour you want to tint the image with and use the Flood fill tool to turn the new layer that colour.






Chemical bath 3) Now go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and enter a value of 50% strength to add noise to the layer. Then go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Set the direction to straight up and down and put the distance in as 200.









Chemical bath 4) Set the blend mode of the chemical layer to Linear Light, if the picture is dark as here. If it’s quite light then try using Colour Burn or Overlay. Reduce the Opacity until the effect is as strong as you want.





Chemical bath 5) Select the Burn tool and put the Exposure at 10%. Now make some vertical passes up and down the image. In a predominantly dark image like this one, it shows more on the face. On a lighter image it will show everywhere so be careful spacing them out.





Chemical bath 6) Merge these layers and then create a new duplicate layer. Then go to Filter > Texture > Grain and select the Speckle grain with an Intensity of 40 and a Contrast of 50. Apply it then reduce the layer Opacity to about 50%. Merge these layer and save your distressed picture to finish.






The finished digital image, fresh from a bath of chemicals, in the digital darkroom.
Chemical bath




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