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How To Create A Portrait With A Retro Hollywood Look

Convert your regular colour portraits into a stylish mono image, courtesy of MacPhun's Tonality Pro Photoshop plug-in.

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One of the features of MacPhun's Tonality Pro, compared to the regular version, is that it can be used a Photoshop plug-in. This makes it much more useful as you can maximise its toolset then drop back into Photoshop for any other adjustments that are needed. In this tutorial, the aim is to replicate some of the characteristics of classic Hollywood portraiture while converting a colour image into mono. Typically, films at the time rendered red lipstick colours very dark while lenses lacked the sharpness of today’s gear. Other features included a slight tendency to halo effects and let’s not forget that with big 5"x4" plates there was plenty of opportunity for the manual retouchers of the day to shade in areas and pencil out imperfections. While Tonality Pro can work on a layer within Photoshop it can actually create a layer system within the plug-in so you don’t have to go back and forth when stacking effects.


Portrait before and after edit


Tonality Pro Step-By-Step Tutorial: 


Load The Image & Launch The Plug-In

Let’s start by loading the image to manipulate and launching the plug-in from the Filters menu. Select Basic from the Presets menu and from here select Smooth. This evens out the skin textures to start with. Scroll down to the Color Filter and decrease Red to -50 to get darker lips. Then go to the Layers panel and click on the Plus sign.


Tonality Pro Photoshop Plug-In


Smooth & Glow

If you scroll down to the very bottom of the filter panel you can see an entry for Layer Properties. The Source should be set to Previous Layer. Check all the settings now and even if they have a tick in them, all the parameters should be at zero. Go to the Glow panel and increase the amount to +50 with Smooth at -50, to add a glow to the skin tones.


Tonality Pro Photoshop Plug-In


Adjust The Tone Curve 

Go to the Tone Curve panel and place control point by clicking on the line. Drag the line down to reduce the highlights without excessive bronzing. Now here’s a very neat feature of Tonality Plus. Move you mouse over the Histogram at the top of the panel. A number of boxes appear on it. Move the mouse over them to see what part of the image corresponds to that part of the Histogram.

Tonality Pro Photoshop Plug-In


Rename Layers & Adjust Lens Blur 

Double-click on the name of any layer to bring up the text edit box and you can then rename them to something more usable. Add another layer and this time go to the Lens Blur panel. Increase the Amount to +100 and the Radius to +90. This is the area that remains sharp so we are protecting the area around the face. Reduce the transition to -78. This makes the area between the blurred background and the sharp face transition between the two.

Tonality Pro Photoshop Plug-In


Add Grain

Add another new layer and call this one Grain. Go to the Grain panel and add +30 in the Amount. Increase the Softness to +100 to make it more blend in. This then replicates large grain portrait film. Go to the Vignette panel above and change the Amount to -60 to darken the corners. Increasing the Feathering will make it more subtle.

Tonality Pro Photoshop Plug-In


Add Texture To Finish 

Create a final new layer for finishing touches. Here you can add a paper texture for a really old print effect. The Blend modes used here will affect the final result in different ways and in themselves can create very different results. After that refer to the Clarity & Structure panel. You can tweak the local contrast in the image here so if everything is too defined, reduce the Structure, or if you want more impact, increase it.

Tonality Pro Photoshop Plug-In








Try For Free

If you want to have a go at the above tutorial, you can try Tonality Pro for free by downloading a trial version from the Macphun website

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