LOMO EFFECT – TUTORIAL
I use Photoshop CS4 and if you use CS2 or lower then you would need to translate these instructions for your own use. Sorry I can’t help further with this matter as it is a few years since I used CS2 and I can’t remember what the equivalents are between the two.
There are lots of tutorials on the web for this effect and I have looked at a few over the past couple of days with a view to writing this tutorial but in all honesty I think the method I use is the best so I am sticking with it. All credit for this method goes to Stuart Little whose website is The Little Photoshop.
Hint:- You may already know this but just in case here is a reminder – always use adjustment layers that way your original image does not deteriorate while working on it AND you can always modify the layers if necessary.
Hint:- You could turn this method into an action and then you could quickly and easily add it to any image you want. Sometimes it doesn’t suit an image but these occasions are far and few between.
Before we go any further I shall show you some before and after images so that you can get an idea of what the effect can do.
LOMO EFFECT ADDED. See how it lightens the eyes. No dodge and burn needed.
LOMO EFFECT ADDED. Sky was added by me.
First open your image into PS and add a Curves adjustment layer.
Click on the RGB drop down menu and select the RED channel.
Adjust the curve so it looks like this…..
Now click on the drop down menu again and select the GREEN channel.
Adjust the curve so it looks like this…. (More or less the same as the red curve)
Again click on the drop down menu and select the BLUE channel but this time adjust the curve so that it is the opposite of the red and green channel curves. Like this…
Now to prepare for the next step press D on your keyboard to make sure that your foreground colour is black and your background white.
Now add a Gradient Map adjustment layer. Like this….
Your image may look like a negative. Something like this…
If so then you will see two tick boxes in the Gradient Map. Click on ‘Reverse’ and the image should go back to normal.
Here is the ‘Reverse’ box ticked and your image should now look monotone…
In the layers palette click on the arrow by where it says ‘Normal’ and from the drop down menu click on ‘Overlay’. (Doing this changes the blending mode of the Gradient Map Layer, allowing the layers below to show through).
Your image should now look something like this..
Just a quick note before we go on. Remember that the Curves adjustment layer can be modified by you. You may decide you what to have shallower curves but you decide what suits your image best.
Next add a Vibrance adjustment layer (only in CS4 but in all other PS editions you can use a Hue/Sat adjustment layer) and increase the vibrance (or in Hue/Sat –the saturation) by about +10 or to suit.
You can always add a slight vignette or the alternative is to use the burn tool to darken the corners and edges which I think gives a softer look and more control – I used the burn tool around the edges of the finished image at the top of this tutorial.
You may notice that some of the images in this tutorial look a bit over sharpened. Blame me for that – it is not through any fault of the LOMO EFFECT.
A Bit Of History On How the ‘Lomo Effect’ Came Into Use.
(Taken from Wikipedia)
Lomography is the commercial trademark of Lomographische AG, Austria for products and services related to photography. The name is inspired by the former state-run optics manufacturer LOMO PLC of Saint Petersburg, Russia. LOMO PLC created and produced the 35 mm LOMO LC-A Compact Automat camera — which became the centerpiece of Lomography’s marketing and sales activities. This camera was loosely based upon the Cosina CX-1 and introduced in the early 1980s.
In 1991, the Austrian founders of Lomography discovered the Lomo LC-A.1 As the company states, they were “charmed by the unique, colorful, and sometimes blurry” images that the camera produced. After a series of international art exhibitions and aggressive marketing work, Lomography signed an exclusive distribution agreement with LOMO PLC — thereby becoming the sole distributor of all Lomo LC-A cameras outside of the Soviet Union.
Lomography emphasizes casual, snapshot photography. Characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, “happy accidents,” and alternative film processing are often considered part of the “Lomographic Technique.” Users are encouraged to take a lighthearted approach to their photography, and use these techniques to document everyday life, as the Lomo LC-A’s small size, simple controls, and ability to shoot in low light encourages candid photography, photo reportage, and photo vérité through the much-touted “10 Golden Rules.”2
Since the introduction of the original Lomo LC-A, Lomography has produced and marketed an entire line of their own branded analog cameras. Most Lomographic cameras are designed to produce a single photographic effect. For example, the Lomography Fisheye camera features a built-in wideangle lens, and shoots fisheye-distorted photos. In 2005, production of the original Lomo LC-A was discontinued. Its replacement, the LC-A+, was introduced in Fall 2006. The new camera, made in China rather than Russia, featured the original Russian lens manufactured by LOMO PLC. This changed as of mid-2007 with the lens now made in China as well.3
Similar to Eastman Kodak’s concept of the “Kodak moment,” the Lomography motto of “don’t think, just shoot” presumes spontaneity, close-ups, and ubiquity, while deemphasizing formal technique. Typical lomography cameras are deliberately low-fidelity and inexpensively constructed. Some cameras make use of multiple lenses and rainbow-colored flashes, or exhibit extreme optical distortions and even light leaks.
Current models marketed by Lomographische AG include Lomo LC-A, Diana, Holga, Holga 35mm, Actionsampler, Frogeye, Pop-9, Oktomat, Fisheye, Fisheye2, Colorsplash, Colorsplash Flash, F-stop Bang, SuperSampler, Horizon 202, Seagull TLR, and Smena 8M. The company also resells dead stock Polaroid cameras and Russian dead stock – the sort normally acquired at “quirky, old-school camera shops,” as the company’s web site puts it.
The Lomo LC-A lens effect can be digitally emulated with photo-editing software such as GIMP or Photoshop.4 In addition, the company’s promotional web site for Lomography showcases many high-contrast photographs – with unusual saturation and color – that were created using the technique called cross processing in which film intended for developing in slide chemistry (E-6) is processed in photographic negative chemistry (C-41), and vice versa. This technique can be employed with any film camera and can be somewhat mimicked with digital software as well.5