In this tutorial I will show you a useful workflow for creating a retro looking image. We’ll start with the following procedure:
- Apply one-click, darkroom inspired effects to the image at reduced transparencies.
- Use the Tone module within Adjust to create a new & unique, retro look.
So follow along and find out how you can achieve a stylized effect using Topaz Adjust!
Here is the image I’ll be working with for this demo. It was captured at Mayfield Park in Austin, Texas. You may download this image in the resources to the right to follow along (the download also includes 20 new Adjust presets…instructions on how to import these new presets are included at the end of the tutorial).
Camera settings are as follows:
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
- Lens: EF70-200mm f/4L USM
- Focal Length: 70mm
- Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/4.0
- ISO: 2000
- HDR Natural Mode with +3 EV
Overall the image has a lovely composition, however something still feels incomplete. Perhaps it’s the plain, white-washed color of the branches & bark that is calling its name for a style makeover. Using presets in Adjust, we can add some oomph to this image.
Step 1: Applying Presets in Adjust
We’ll start by browsing through the Film and Toned Collections. Each of these collections contain darkroom inspired presets that can help you achieve a stylized, retro effect.
- To start, navigate to Collections on the left side of the interface and click on the Film Collection to expand its list of presets.
This Collection contains a variety of darkroom inspired presets, like cross-processing, a creative technique that was discovered after developing film in the wrong chemicals.
To create these presets, the Tone module (under Finishing Touches on the right side of the interface) was used to simulate retro processes. We’ll take an in-depth look at this in Step 2 of this tutorial.
Film Collection in grid view mode
As you can see, there are a lot of options to choose from. Rather than clicking on each preset, let’s view them in grid view mode to compare and contrast (a new feature in Adjust 5.1).
To access grid view mode, click on the tiny 3×3 square icon adjacent to the presets.
- As you are browsing, keep in the back of your mind that if the effect appears too strong, you can always expand the Finishing Touches panel on the right side of the screen and reduce the Transparency of the effect later on.
- Should you find a preset you really like and might use again, click on the star icon to “favorite” it, adding the preset to your Favorites folder.
- There are a few presets that really stand out to me for this particular image: Cross Process II, Retro Style III, Retro Style IV, Timeless III and Tungsten Film in Daylight.
How will I ever choose? I went ahead and favorited each of these presets by clicking on the star and then returned back to my home screen to access the Favorites collection.
The preset Timeless III has really caught my eye…just look at the before and after:
I love this look, however I still want to aim for other interesting, retro looks. In that case, let’s apply several filters on top one of another at reduced transparencies to create something new & unique.
Toned Collection in grid view mode
- Start by applying Cross Process II (or a similar filter) to your image.
- Go to Finishing Touches-> Transparency to adjust the overall transparency of the applied effect, as it may appear too strong.
- Be sure to press the Apply button (bottom right corner of the interface) before moving onto the next applied preset, or else the settings will be lost.
- Apply the Tungsten Film in Daylight I preset to the image with a transparency of 0.70 and press Apply.
- You may also decide to check out the Toned collection, which contains more presets to help you achieve the retro or vintage style. Just be sure to reduce the transparency should the effect be too strong.
- I applied the Mint preset to this image and set the transparency to 0.80 and pressed Apply.
- Press OK when finished to return back to your host editor.
Here’s the final result after stacking several one-click presets on top of one another at reduced transparencies:
Step 2: Tone Module
If you do not find a preset that suits your taste to par, use the tone module in Adjust for selective toning. Let’s now take a look at this tone module within Adjust, the magic behind these Film and Toned presets. Take your original, unedited image back into Adjust and apply a preset. The preset Timeless III will be used for this demo.
To understand what’s going on within the preset itself, expand the Tone module under Finishing Touches. You’ll notice 4 different Color Regions:
- Look at Color Region 1. It is black and is set at 9.60. This is the the low end of the 0-255 tonal range scale (0 = pure black, 255 = pure white).
- This scale represents value, or shades of gray, from the lightest end, to the darkest end of the spectrum.
- Color Region 4 is off-white, affecting the highlights at 238.55.
- Color Region 2, the deep purple, is set at 83.63. This affects the darker midtones within the image.
- Color Region 3, the yellow ochre, is set at 186.45 and is affecting the lighter midtones.
- You may adjust any of these colors for ultimate control. For instance, should you want to change the purple in Region 2 to blue, simply click on the color swatch to pick a new color.
- You can then adjust this color’s value in the tones of your image, whether you want it to affect the highlights, midtones or shadows on the 0-255 scale.
- Try experimenting with these sliders to see what you can create.
- If you make something you like, save the preset by clicking this icon above the Menu in the bottom left corner.
- Then click Save to save your custom preset into whichever collection you wish to store it under.
- Stacking presets is a great way to achieve a variety of unique results in Topaz Adjust. By mixing and matching different presets at reduced opacities, I was able to produce a variety of different results.
- For a personalized, retro look, using the Tone module is key.
- Don’t forget, you can always return back to the selective parameters and adjust the exposure, color, details, etc. for even more control.
- Another secret weapon is the Warmth slider under Finishing Touches, which controls the temperature of your image.
- To finalize the look, be sure to check out the Vignette and Grain modules under Finishing Touches.
Importing New Presets
To wrap up this tutorial, 20 new Adjust presets have been created and are available for download in the resources to the right, along with the sample image used in this demo.
Important: Before importing presets, please make sure that you have updated your version of Adjust to the latest version (5.1). You may download the most recent update from our downloads page. These presets were created with version 5.1 and will not import into older versions of the software.
How to import presets:
- Download the file to the right. In the folder you’ll find 20 presets with .tpp extensions.
- To Import the preset, Open Topaz Adjust and navigate to the collection you wish to import the preset into.
- Above the Menu in the bottom left corner, click on this icon and then select Import.
- Navigate to the file you just downloaded and select the preset you wish to import.
- After you press OK or Open, the preset should then appear in the Collection.
Please note that this method only allows for the import of one preset at a time. Should you wish to import everything at once, you’ll need to navigate to the Adjust 5 installation location. There will be a presets folder that contains each collection and you can drag the new presets here. Depending on your operating system, the presets folder will be located in one of these destinations:
- Navigate to Computer -> MacHD -> Library – > Application Support -> Topaz Labs -> “Adjust 5” -> Presets.
- Copy and paste the presets or drag them over to this destination (you’ll want to put them into the correct Collections folder).
- Navigate to (32Bit machines) C: Program Files Topaz Labs “Adjust 5” Presets, (64Bit machines) C: Program Files (x86) Topaz Labs “Adjust 5” Presets.
- Double click on the Presets folder and create a new Collections folder.
- Copy and paste the presets or drag them over into this folder.
Here’s the list of presets included in this package and the Collections they are intended to be placed under, although you may place them into whichever collection you desire (or you may create a new collection to place them under):
- Burnt Umber
- Deep Saffron
- Hunter Green
- Space Cadet Blue
- Split Tone VII
- Vintage II
- Vintage III
- Cross Process VI
- Lomo IV
- Retro Style V
- Dynamic Natural
- Landscape Pop
- Landscape Pop II
Thanks for reading and enjoy!
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