The Vintage Effect

Add antique charm to any modern image by easily creating a vintage effect.

Layers, effects, the Gradient Tool, transform tools, and color adjustments are used in this tutorial.

Step 1

Open an image to which you would like to add a vintage effect in Pixelmator.

Step 2

Make the image black-and-white by double-clicking the Desaturate thumbnail in the Effects Browser (View > Show Effects Browser).

Step 3

To defocus the image just a bit, apply the Gaussian effect from the Effects Browser with the Radius set to approximately 1 pixel. Click OK when done.

Step 4

Since the Gaussian effect washes out the image corners, go ahead and smooth them. Click to select the Blur Tool in the Tools palette and drag over the image corners. Make sure that the blur strength in the Tool Options bar (View > Show Tool Options) is set to 100% before using the Blur Tool.

Step 5

Vintage pictures aren’t very smooth, so a bit of grain would make the image look aged. To add some grain double-click the Noise thumbnail in the Effects Browser and set Radius to 3-4%. Click OK to apply the effect.

Please note that the Noise effect looks most accurate with a 100% Zoom (View > Actual Pixels).

Step 6

To create an old-style sepia tone for the image, double-click the Sepia Tone effect in the Effects Browser, set Intensity to 90-100, and click OK.

Step 7

Download the old paper texture from the Tutorial Resources to your Desktop and simply drag-and-drop it to your composition. Use the example in the image below as a reference.

The texture will instantly appear as a new layer. If necessary, scale the texture to fit your image proportions by choosing Edit > Transform.

Step 8

In the Layers palette, change the texture layer’s Blending to Multiply, since the Multiply blending mode darkens and tones down the color of an image. Also reduce Opacity a bit to get a perfect texture blend with your image.

Step 9

Next, download and add the scratches image from the Tutorial Resources to your composition, the same way as the paper texture. If necessary, scale the texture to fit your image proportions by choosing Edit > Transform.

Step 10

In the Layers palette, change the Scratches layer’s Blending to Overlay, since the Overlay blending mode combines pictures equally. Reduce this layer’s Opacity to approximately 50%.

Step 11

And the final touch — color adjustments. In the Layers palette, click to select the layer with the image you’re applying the effect to (in our case, a picture of the Eiffel Tower). In the Effects Browser, double-click the Brightness thumbnail to bring up the color adjustment dialog. Reduce the Contrast to approximately -20%, since many old pictures aren’t very rich in contrast. Click OK when done.

Once you’ve learned to create the vintage effect, feel free to experiment by applying it to different images.