Photo Effects

Dramatic Wrinkles

Everyone’s trying to mimic this popular Photography trend of grungy photos of old or homeless people. Find out the secret Photoshop technique that makes wrinkles look dramatic and sculptured.

Preview of Final Results


Dramatic Wrinkles Photoshop Tutorial


Dramatic Wrinkles Photoshop Tutorial

Step 1: Open a photo

Begin by opening a portrait of someone with wrinkles. This effect will also work on photos of younger people with smoother skin as well but this photo effect works best on wrinkles. To open an image, choose File > Open, browse for the image and click Ok.


Making the colors look grungy


Step 2: Add a Black and White or Hue/Saturation adjustment layer

First, we’ll alter the color so that it matches the moody effect of wrinkled skin. To do this, we’ll be adding a Black and White adjustment layer. Click on the New Adjustment Layer button in the layers palette

Choose Black & White. If you don’t have Black & White or if you’re using Photoshop CS2 or older, select Hue/Saturation instead.

The Black and White tool will appear. Simply click OK with the default settings. If you are using Photoshop CS2 or older and added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer instead, simply reduce the saturation to -100 and click OK.


Step 3: Blend the layer

Now that we have the adjustment layer, we’ll need to make it blend into the image to restore the color. For this, we can simply change the blending mode to Overlay. In the Layers palette, click on the drop down menu and select Overlay.

Now your image should have a nice harsh lighting effect.


The secret technique for ultra-dramatic wrinkles

Now that we’re done working on the color, here’s the secret to making wrinkles look ultra-dramatic. The filter to use for this technique is the Plastic Wrap filter. How does that work? Follow the rest of the tutorial to find out.


Step 4: Duplicate the Background layer

In the Layers palette, select back the Background layer.

Press Ctrl+J to create a duplicate of the layer. You should now have two layer with the new layer called Background copy.


Step 5: Apply a Plastic Wrap filter

Now we’ll apply the Plastic Wrap filter. Choose Filter > Artistic > Plastic Wrap.

In the Plastic Wrap window, use the settings from the screenshot below:


Step 6: Change the blending mode

To make this layer blend, we’ll use the Multiply blending mode. This will darken the skin to make it look dark and grungy. From the drop down menu in the Layers palette, select Multiply and you should get an effect like the image below.


Step 7: Add a layer mask

We’re almost done. The dramatic skin effect was added to the entire image and now we need to mask out the areas that are not the skin.

To start, click on the Add Layer Mask button in the Layers palette.

You should now have a layer mask for the layer.


Step 8: Mask the layer

Select the Eraser tool from the Tools palette.

Right mouse click on the image and the brush settings should appear. Use a large brush and set the Hardness to 0%.

Now begin to erase the areas around the skin.


Final Results

Here’s the final outcome of this photo effect. The skin now looks very dramatic like many sad photos of old or homeless people.Now that you know how to create this photo effect, try to use it sparingly. Many photographers become addicted to this effect and it becomes overused in their portfolios.

Before and after

Because we only applied the effect to the skin, you’ll need to editing the surrounding as well to match the skin. In the image below, I darkened the surrounding, reduced the saturation of the blue hat, and added a strong vignette.

Dramatic Wrinkles Photoshop Tutorial

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