The Matte Photography effect has been a popular image setting recently in the web, particularly because it gives pictures a vintage feel of classic chemical prints, or like the picture was printed in a design-focused magazine. Instagram and a plethora of photography mobile apps proliferated distorted camera effects to peoples daily pictures, so most publishers and photography bloggers sought to find their personal print aesthetic.
Unfortunately, finding a simple step-by-step guide to applying these image effects proved difficult, and I had a few friends ask how to achieve the effect themselves in Photoshop, so I thought I’d post my method here. These steps are not specific to any version of Photoshop, or any photo editor for that matter, and are trivial to also apply in any video editor.
- Prep your picture in Camera Raw Editor.
- Add a “Solid Color” Fill layer.
- Select a dark tone.
- Apply “Lighten” Transparency Mode to the Fill Layer.
- ; Difference only reveals different pixels between the two layers, rendering identical pixels as black (an excellent quick test for compression settings).
- Adjust your colors accordingly.
As you can see above, I use the word “play” a lot. I think Photoshop and all image manipulation is a process of discovery, not merely through trial and error, but in exploration. Some tutorials to be found online will advise to use the Curves filter, which is absolutely possible and will render very similar effects. In fact, they could be more of what you’ll want to achieve with your photo. However, personally I feel this is a simpler and faster method, and much easier to set up in a template that you can apply to several photos, or even prep as a Photoshop Action and apply to hundreds of photos with just a few clicks. And because we’re using layers and Transparency Modes, the same steps can be applied to any video editing platform, or even browser render engines.
Now go play and explore.