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Photoshop CS3 tutorial explaining how to create a grainy artistic nude.

The aim of this tutorial is to turn a standard colour nude photograph, into a gritty and grainy one, redolent of classical art, as Duncan Evans explains.

|  Adobe Photoshop
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First you need to have a picture that's sympathetic with the treatment in question. The pose here is a subtle, modest one, and the model has plenty of cascading hair. The background cloth as well, is a traditional, dark, mottled surface and the model is sitting on a chaise long, though little of that can be seen. If you don't have a suitable picture to hand, you can download the lo-res version of the one used in this tutorial. Just right click and select Save Target As from here. This tutorial created with Photoshop CS3, but most image editing programs can perform the same processes.

step 1 1. The first task is to convert the image to monochrome so go to Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map. Ensure that the foreground colour is black and the background colour is white before doing this, otherwise, click on Reverse.

adjusting levels2. Next, the image needs brightening, so go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and drag the right end carat in until it reaches the start of the data.


3. Now got to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights and enter a value of 25. This is so that the hair is now separate from the background.

adding grain

4. Create a duplicate layer in the Layers palette. Let's add some grain now so go to Filter > Texture > Grain. Select Intensity 40, Contrast 50 and grain type Enlarged.

using Curves 5. Set the blend mode of the duplicate layer to Luminosity then merge the layers. Create another duplicate layer, then go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Select a point about a quarter of the way up the line from the bottom and drag down and right. Do it until the skin tones darken.

adding a layer mask6. Click on Add Layer Mask then select black as the foreground colour and the Paintbrush. Set the brush Opacity to 20% and paint around the head and push the darkness back towards the edges of the screen.


Burning shadows in 7. Finally, click on image icon itself in the Layers Palette of the duplicated layer and select the Burn tool. Set the Exposure to 10% and pick a large brush size. Then burn in darkness into the bottom of the picture, particularly towards the right corner. Then flatten the layers and save.

The final image with a border added.the final image


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Just Jas Plus
20 26.4k 1 England
For goodness sake why?.....!!!!!
Duncan_E 15 201 3 United Kingdom
Because this type of subject looks better in grainy black and white than it does in the clean colour that digital cameras produce. Traditionally, you would have shot this picture with a grainy black and white film, but in the digital world, you have to do it in Photoshop.
MickS 17 23 14 England
Watcha Duncan,
I'm wiv JJ, why?
Just use film and do it right from the start.
Duncan_E 15 201 3 United Kingdom
Because Mick, film is dead, and using film isn't any more right than using digital anyway. With digital you have the option of making it look like whatever you want, and in this case, it a grainy distressed look. To say just shoot it with film is a false argument - film wouldn't look like this image either, you would have to develop and distress the image specifically.
MickS 17 23 14 England
Watcha Duncan,
'film wouldn't look like this image either' that's right, film and digital are 2 different animals, it was you that brought up the concept of making it look like film instead of: here's a great effect with digital.
Don't be so arrogant about digital and film, Robert White can't keep up with demand for large format cameras and several proccesssing plants are having to increase capacity. We only have to look at what has happened to Jessops from abandoning film users.
Duncan_E 15 201 3 United Kingdom
Sigh, yes I brought up film just to make the point that in the world of digital, everything is clean and in colour. Although there are now some specific emulation modes in-camera, it isn't like film days when you would pick a stock to suit the subject. Everything comes out of digital looking much the same.

I'm hardly arrogant about film and digital - I own a Nikon F80 and a Mamiya RB67, as well as my D200. It's sales statistics - digital cameras outsold film 15-1 last year. If I was to be more specific, it would be to say 35mm is virtually dead. At the moment, there is still plenty of call for medium and large format. Given the amazing quality of large format, it's nice to hear that some dealers are still doing the business on it.

The point about Jessops is that they are in a mess not because they abandoned film but because they couldn't offer a good enough service for digital. People have largely abandoned 35mm film.
Ooh Duncan, bet you wish you hadn't done it now

My view on WHY is that a lot of people on here use digital and can't or wont also work with film. But even with film, many images especially ones attempting the be of an artictic nature relied on some form of post processing in the lab or darkroom. Digital is no different but Photoshop is far more daunting than a darkroom to the unitiated and not everyone on here is experience with it.

So please keep them coming. one of the reason I joined this site was to learn.

You may or may not be arrogant Duncan - don't really know (sometimes it's quite a good thing Smile )- but what about this for pompous nonsense -

Just use film and do it right from the start.

I grant you he tried to soften it by saying things like 'watcha' and 'best'......

What are you supposed to do junk your equipment and buy a film camera just to do grainy b&w - ??

there are things to hang on to from the past - not at all sure film is one of them ??

having said that I find all this hanging onto grainy shots a bit overdone - it's only trying to emulate stuff from the past - 'in my HUMBLE opinion'.. Wink


Hi Duncan, this reminds me of all the old arguments from the 60's relating to quality, ie. 35mm V 6x6 etc. Whats does it matter how you achieve the picture so long as the picture pleases YOU.

I use all formats from 5" x 4" to D1x. Nobody has ever asked me what equipment I used to get the finished picture. Thank goodness they are more interested in the finished results.

funkeldink 18 1.6k 1 Australia
sod em all ... its very helpful ... if i was to write one it wouldnt be too far different .. i love grainy b&w and so do many others ... there is a huge demand for this type of image ..well done
Here, here! Thanks for doing it. I appreciate all the work you put into it. All I can say is that if you can't say something positive then keep quiet!
Take it from me Duncan you'll never win the old digital v film I have the hate mail to prove it. A nice little experiment is two do two shots one using grainy film and duplicate the shot using digital noize via this method or any of the great plug ins available print out 2 10x8 prints nice frame etc and get people to guess whats digital and whats film. Most people will not have a clue and ultimately it dose not give a jot just enjoy the beauty of two photos and forget about getting hung up on these old arguments.
Ofcourse, you can get grainy images naturally using film, just as long as you use a high ASA film in daylight.
But to say that you can't get grainy images with your digital cameras without using software is incorrect!
You just jack up the ISO in your camera for daylight is virtually the same thing as using film.
Don't forget that you can't add grain to a 16 bit image as the texture option is disabled. Image | Mode | 8 bits/channel to convert so that the texture option is available to you.

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