Photo Effects

Retro Colors

Make photos look dated with this easy color effect. In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Match Color tool to alter the color of a photo.

Preview of Final Results


Retro Colors Photoshop Tutorial


Retro Colors Photoshop Tutorial


Step 1: Open an image into Photoshop

Open the File menu and select Open. Browse for the photo you would like to add a retro color effect to then click OK.


Step 2: Create a new layer

In the Layers pallet, click on the New Layer icon. This will create a new layer named Layer 1. Ensure that Layer 1 is highlighted before continuing.


Step 3: Create a selection

First, activate the Rectangular Marquee tool. Then, drag a rectangle from the top left of the canvas to the bottom middle. This should create a rectangular marquee of half the canvas.

Step 4: Fill the selection

In the Swatches pallet, select the color red. Then, press Alt+Backspace and it should fill the selection with a solid red color.


Step 5: Inverse and fill the selection

Open the Select menu and select Inverse. This will inverse the selection so that the other half of the canvas is selected. Select the color green from the Swatches pallet and press Alt+Backspace to fill the other half with green.


Step 6: Hide the Layer

In the Layers pallet, click on the eye icon for Layer 1 to hide the layer. Click on the Background layer to activate it.


Step 7: Use the Match Color tool

Open the Image> Adjustments menu and select Match Color. This will bring up the Match Color tool which will alter the color of the image based on the layer with the red and green color we created.

First, select the document name of your photo in the source and then select Layer 1 as the layer.

A live preview of the effect should be shown. Adjust the Image Options to alter the effect.

  1. Start off with the Fade option. Increase this amount until the posterized effect disappears.
  2. Adjust the Color Intensity to get the results desired. To get a neutral, washed-out effect, drag the input slider towards the left. To increase the vibrancy, drag the input slider towards the right.
  3. The Luminance doesn’t need to be adjusted. It will only darken or lighten your photo.


Final Results

Retro Colors Photoshop Tutorial

Alternative Effect

To create this effect, simply invert Layer 1 before using the Match Color tool.

Related posts
Photo EffectsPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

How do You Achieve This Effect (Part 2)

Photo EffectsPhotoshop TutorialsSpecial EffectsUpdated

How to Create an Amazing 3D Retro Effect (Plus an Awesome Tone Curve Trick)

Photo EffectsPhotoshop Tutorials

How to Create an Urban Desaturated Effect in Photoshop

Photo EffectsPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

Photoshop's Hidden Photographic Toning Presets

6 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get 57 Photoshop Actions Free from Our Awesome Newsletter!

Subscribe and get the latest Photoshop tutorials, tips, and more via email. As a way of saying thanks, you'll also receive a free copy of Lomocam Photoshop Actions by SparkleStock ($7 retail value).