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Grunge Effect

By Sus  
Following on from a thread about the 'grunge' post-processing effect used by a number of Polish photographers, this is an initial experiment.

1. I worked with adjustment layers, and first made auto contrast and auto levels adjustment layers (The auto levels over adjusted but this helped this particular effect, so I faded it only slightly)

2. I then created a couple of duplicate background layers and used different blend modes, with varying opacities, to create the effect I wanted. I used: Colour Burn (with a decrease in saturation), Multiply, and another duplicate layer on which I used the USM with very high radius but very low amount, which does not sharpen per se, but increases contrast.

3. Then a normal flatten and slight sharpening (but not much).

Hope this helps. I think the biggest breakthrough is using the different blend layers, then REDUCING THE SATURATION is key.

Comments/suggested improvements on this method very welcome.

Tags: Portraits and people

Voters: francisg, jjwithamlao, paulcr and 3 more


francisg 16 705 1 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2006 10:42AM
An exelent portrait. Sharp, with a good range of tones. I like the lighting. But from reading the description I would have thought it a lot of complicated manipulating.



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Sus 15 3.2k 9 England
28 Aug 2006 10:43AM
This is primarily posted to demonstrate a 'grunge effect' technique - PLEASE VIEW THE MODIFICATION which shows the original photo I worked on, if you are interested in the technique.
Sus 15 3.2k 9 England
28 Aug 2006 10:45AM
Thanks Frank. I have to admit to being rather chuffed with myself over this, but I didn't use any brush work (dodging or burning) so not too time-consuming.
jjwithamlao 13 5 1 England
28 Aug 2006 10:45AM
Strong portrait, the eyes make it work, quite sinister.
paulcr 15 1.5k 9 Ireland
28 Aug 2006 10:46AM
Hi Sus, big difference compared to the original. Paul
francisg 16 705 1 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2006 10:57AM
Hi Sus - Having now seen the original I have to agree that the efect is quite impresive.

JuliaB 15 110 2 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2006 1:19PM
certainly this has much more impact than the original
Sus 15 3.2k 9 England
28 Aug 2006 8:30PM
Takui and RichardB have kindly also submitted mods - Richard I love the eyes and lips in your version, thanks for supplying the details, something more to experiment with! The blue channel unfortunately emphasises the excema though.

Takui's looks excellent too - another great effect though totally different - more 'matt' skin, in contrast to Richard's 'shiny'. I like the way you have made it look a lot more defined ('sharper'?) than mine, and - I think desaturated more vigorously - anyway the colour of the skin is a lot more flattering, though I think I would probably go for more gleam in this case.

I think it's mainly a question of how under or overstated (and how dark) one wants to go with this look. Lots more scope to play around with this style though. Thanks all!
eddieali1961 16 97 United Kingdom
29 Aug 2006 2:11PM
Good portrait.
Good work.

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