Saturday, February 19, 2011

Aging Photos Digitally

ToNToN CoPT has posted an excellent collection of Photoshop scripts that make aging photos a breeze. There are other packages that do similar work, but his approach replicates the look of photos based on the era they were taken.

This collection is so useful because photographs are easily the most cost effective props available for live action and tabletop games. Prints are ten cents or less at almost every drugstore or retailer and they're inherently immersive. Frankly, I'm surprised they aren't more widely used in commercial products. The source files for a couple of retouched photos can add immeasurably to the immersiveness of a scenario while costing just pennies to make available.


Dibakar Sarkar said...

... beautiful... the old age glory!

CoastConFan said...

Doctored photos can really add to a campaign or collection but keep in mind how the photos got that way. The two main contributing factors to photographic decay is environment and the second lies in the original materials and how they were used.

Environmental problems might be due to ending, scratching, dampness, exposure to light, storage in high acid photo albums, display in frames, which have high acid mats and backers.

Cheap materials, badly fixed photos, poor paper or high acid paper and backers are another set of factors that lead to fading and old looking photos.

All of this contributes to emulsion delamination, fading, and silver oxidation. Keep in mind that badly taken photos looked bad even when they were new with poor contrast and other flaws.

Be careful of “over-antiquing” and using too much sepia tone in your PhotoShop works. I have a number of 140 year old plus original photos that are crisp and clear and as nice as the day they were made.

Anonymous said...

First off, thanks! Second - has anyone tried this yet? I'm having difficulty with the 1800's one (the one with the manual input).

ToNToN CoPT said...

Can you describe me your problem with the 1890's action, maybe I can help you (or update the script ?) ;o)

Ryan said...

This is great and all but...uh, am I missing something? How are we supposed to read that page? Is that french? I can't read or speak french.

Am I missing a link or...?

Propnomicon said...

@ Ryan

My apologies for not pointing out the page was in French. I use Google autotranslate and simply overlooked that not everyone else does.

Ryan said...

Yeah I figured as much. No harm done or anything. I need to learn how to use google translate then.

ToNToN CoPT said...

Hi !
Now, this article can be read by English's friendly users, and many others Cré'à'Vapeur articles too ;)