iPhone Photography Tutorials #4 – Faded Retro Look Quickly in PhotoForge 2

by Pu on August 23, 2011

A slightly washed out look with vibrant colors is very easy to create using one or more of the many apps which are provided to iPhone and iPad users. There are tons of presets around to obtain similar results, but in some instances, the best option you have to make sure effects will go well with your photos is creating your own, fine-tuning every setting to make sure the result will be as you like.

For this brief tutorial I am using PhotoForge 2 on the iPhone, as it has everything I need for my purpose. You can follow exactly the same steps on the iPad.

1. Open your photo of choice in PhotoForge 2. I am using a random photo I have taken a few days ago while testing the macro lens for iPhone.

Step 1 - Choosing the photo

Step 1 - Choosing the photo

2. Go to Adjustments by tapping on the three-slider icon and select Brightness/Contrast. Move the brightness slider control up to around +5; do the opposite with contrast and move it down to about -50. Depending on the overall brightness and contrast of the original photo, you may want to adjust these values for obtaining the right degree of fading on the image of your choice.

Step 2 - Setting brightness and contrast

Step 2 - Fading the photo

3. Now let’s produce some color shifting. Remaining in Adjustments, Select Curves. Set the curves in RGB mode for each of the three colors, Red, Green and Blue. Try to achieve something close to what is shown in the screenshots.

Step 2 - Adjusting Curves

Step 2 - Adjusting colors

4. For this style, we want a faded overall look, but at the same time we are looking for vivid colors. Always in Adjustments, select Vibrance. Move the slider up to +25.

Step 3 - Setting Vibrance

Step 3 - Toning up color

As a final touch, we are going to add some vignetting. In PhotoForge 2, you can add a vignette simply using the Vignette tool included in the app’s FX section. However, I prefer the vignette to blend a little more with the photo, so I am using Layers to achieve a slightly better result.

5. Go to Layers by tapping on the three-layer icon and create a new blank layer above the photo’s; select a white fill color for it. Change the layer’s blending mode to Multiply. Leave opacity to 1.

Step 5/1 - Creating a new white layer

Step 5/1 - Creating a new white layer

Step 5/2 - Changing the blending mode to multiply

Step 5/2 - Changing the layer mode to multiply

6. Go to FX and select Vignette. Pick a vignette style that goes well with your photo. In my case, I choose Vignette 2 and I move the intensity control up to around 0.60. For a more “enclosed” feeling, you can raise intensity even more.

Step 6 - Adding vignette

Step 6 - Adding vignette

And that’s it! You can save the photo to your photo album or share it with whomever you like. PhotoForge2 saves the complete history of your post-processing, so you can go back in any moment and if you do not like the final look of your image you can make further adjustments to contrast, curves, vibrance, and so on.
Step 7 - Final result

Step 7 - Final result


Jay August 24, 2011 at 5:40 am

Great tutorial and very useful. PhotoForge2 ;eaves me thinking….now what? I actually migh tbe able to use it more.


Pu August 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Personally, I am very lazy so I get the impression it’s easier to go through 5 basic apps in a row to edit a photo, perhaps not knowing what I am going to do next and inventing step by step, than doing a well planned editing in PhotoForge2 or in other similar apps. It makes no sense of course, as the time I spend following either workflow is more or less the same. But sometimes I just feel that if I have to make so many changes that I have to use PhotoForge2, then it would be more or less the same than opening the photo in PS and editing it there. Nevertheless, I am happy for the various PhotoForge & co., because most of the times I don’t actually want to open iPhone photos in PS =P

Miege August 25, 2011 at 1:35 am

Uh oh, I suck at PhotoForge 2’s layers 🙁

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: