Sunday, February 27, 2011

'Color & Tone' Actions Part 2

In this 2nd part of 'Color & Tone' actions we discuss 16 more 'one click' actions. The most popular among them are some trade mark camera looks, cinema colors, vintage and some retro actions.

Cinemascope Blockbuster:

This is a very popular look used in almost all movies and many advertising and editorial spreads. We have discussed this look in the first half of Case Study: The Polaroid and Film Effect, mainly in the images of Norman Jean Roy. The specialty of this look is that the shadows are rendered with a cyan tint. 

You can see above that the midtones of the black jacket/jeans of the model is tinted in cyan, while all other colors are intact. This action when used on a right and perfectly lit image, makes it look like a painting. Also, next time you go to a movie, try to notice the midtones. They are never gray. They always have a cyan tone in them. Take a look at another example below.


Simply put, Technicolor is the look of the early color television and movies. This action replicates the off colors of the past. This look lacks yellow and works very well with images shot in tungsten light, without white balance correction.


The 'Polarizer' action is mainly designed for brightly exposed landscapes. It can also be used with people shots with low opacity. The polarizer action replicates a real circular polarizer as it darkens the skies, has a slight neutral tint on the images, and adds contrast in the midtones with the help of a luminosity mask. Unfortunately, it can't cut reflections like the real one, but it does a decent job minimizing it a bit.

Polaroid SX-70:

The Polaroid look is a the most fun look to have. They were slightly faded and colors are were a bit dull, and yet they remained ever popular for the instant gratification. It adds great interest in images of teenagers and fun lifestyle.

Lomo LC-A:

 This action replicates the look of the Russian Lomo camera, of which the most popular model was the LC-A. The characteristic look is the heavy vignette and strong greenish shadows and pale yellow highlights. The vignette and yellow highlights are editable for fine tuning in this action.

Summer 60's:

This action looks good on beach shots and other outdoor sunny fashion shoot. It has a slightly blue shadow to it.

Summer 70's:

Just like the Summer 60's, this action looks good on beach shots and other outdoor sunny fashion shoot. It has a slight magenta cast in shadows and off white highlights.

Retro High Contrast:

Add a retro feel to your images with this action. It works well on low contrast images and is fully editable to taste. It works well on both high and low key images. Take a look at another example below.

Retro Low Contrast:

Just like the Retro HC, it works well on high contrast images and is fully editable to taste. This action works well on both high and low key images too.


For a more vintage feel, this action works better than retro actions. Take a look at another example below.


Antique is a stronger and heavier version of the vintage action.


The 'Faded' action gives the look of an old and faded photograph print.

Washed Out:

This action gives a washed out look to the image.


This action works very well with all high key images and some low key images. Use it for a bleached out look.


Rust is a cool action to get images to look like old vintage sepia print. It works very well with all kinds of pictures, especially fashion images. Take a look at another example below.

Stone Wash:

This action gives the image the feel of stone washed clothes.


A popular look in fashion photography. It works very well with outdoor shots in natural light, and images lit with one light.

Pin Up:

The Pin Up action gives the look of an old pin up style poster. The key look of the colors are creamy off-white highlights and slightly cross processed and desaturated colors.


This action is a blend of 'cross red' and 'retro' actions. The whites are slightly yellowish, shadows are bluish, and the extreme black has a red tint.

Velvia Landscape:

The 'Velvia' action boosts the greens and blues in the image. It works great with most landscapes. Besides this, it also opens the shadow areas and slightly darkens the highlights for a more balanced look.

Infra Red:

The most realistic representation of infra red color film has been designed for this action. The greens turns to red, blue to green and red to blue.

You can purchase the complete set of 'Pro Photoshop Actions' right here.

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