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Old Photo

Author: mizgriz

Tools Needed

  • Adobe Photoshop or similar program


Ever needed to make a finished render look like an old photo? Ever wanted a cool effect for your Old West renders? This tutorial will show you how to transform your finished render into an old, crumpled up photo, perfect for Old West “Wanted” posters and times when you just want something different.


Step 1 - Preparation

The first thing you should do is open the postworked, finished render you'd like to use this effect on. I've chosen to use this one.


First, duplicate the layer with your finished, postworked render on it. This is so that you can start over in case you make a serious mistake. Double-click it. This will open up the Blending Options menu. Check the “Stroke” option and use the following settings:


Size: 24

Position: Inside

Blend Mode: Normal

Opacity: 100%.

Fill Type: Color

Color: White

You should now have a white border running along the edges of your image, like this:


Now, desaturate the layer. You can do this by going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or by simply pressing Ctrl + Shift + U. Your image will now be in black and white.

Step 2 - Creating the effect, part 1

After you've desaturated the layer, adjust the levels using these settings:


Once the levels have been adjusted, apply a gradient map to the desaturated layer. The gradient I used was a very dark grayish-brown (#0C0C0C) going to white. Use these settings:


Your image will now look something like this:


Now, create a new layer. Name this layer “sepia tone” and fill it with a sepia color. (I used #d28741). Set the blend mode to Soft Light, and set the opacity to anywhere around 75-85%.

Your render will now look like this:


Step 3 - Creating the effect, part 2 (adding texture)

We are now going to add texture to the image, in order to create the grainy effect of the photo. Make sure your desaturated layer is selected and go to Filters > Texture > Grain.


Use the following settings:


Intensity: 8

Contrast: 4

Grain Type: Vertical.

Afterwards, create a new layer. This new layer should be above the desaturated layer and below the sepia layer. Call this one “grain 2” or “noise layer”, as this layer is going to simulate the noise that appears on older photos. Fill it with white.


Go back to Filters > Textures > Grain. This time, use the following settings:


Intensity: 31

Contrast: 100

Grain type: Regular

Desaturate the layer. Then set the blend mode to “Darken” and the opacity to about 70%.

Your image will now look similar to this:


Step 4 - Creating the effect, part 3 (crumpled paper effect)

The next and final step will be to make the image look like it's been crumpled. First, make sure that you have the black to white gradient selected.


Now, create a new layer (name it gradient) and, use the gradient tool randomly until you get something that looks similar to this:


Go to Filter > Stylize > Emboss. Use the following settings:


Angle: 0

Height: 9

Amount: 45%.

The layer will now look like this:


We'll need to adjust the brightness and contrast on the crumpled paper layer next. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness and Contrast. Set the brightness to 25 and the contrast to 75. Afterward, set the blend mode on the crumpled paper layer to Multiply and the opacity to about 55-70%.

Congratulations! You now have an old, crumpled photo: