Cre­ate a retro slide

Re­live the golden era of the photo carousel pro­jec­tor by cre­at­ing your own slid­ers in Pho­to­shop.


Re­live the golden era of the photo carousel pro­jec­tor by mak­ing your own slid­ers.

• Soft­ware Pho­to­shop or El­e­ments • Im­age type A hol­i­day snap or fam­ily photo you’d like to frame for pos­ter­ity

Aback in the old days be­fore dig­i­tal photography, we used to gather our friends and fam­i­lies to­gether on the sofa, bar­ri­cade the door and sub­ject them to our hol­i­day shots on a carousel slide pro­jec­tor. Nowa­days we’re able to share our shots with the world at the touch of a but­ton, but for those of you who are nos­tal­gic for the days of film photography (and cap­tive

au­di­ences) it’ll no doubt be ex­cit­ing to dis­cover that there is a way to cre­ate a clas­sic photo slide in Pho­to­shop. It’s sim­ple to do and will make your shots look pretty strik­ing, es­pe­cially to those peo­ple who re­mem­ber the film days. Sadly, we can’t guar­an­tee your fam­ily will sit through your en­tire port­fo­lio, but it might just net you a few Face­book likes!

TIP Any Layer can be made to look like it’s be­low an­other if you add a drop shadow

1 Open your shots

Go to File’open in Pho­to­shop or El­e­ments, nav­i­gate to the Start Im­ages and dou­ble-click your cho­sen slide tem­plate. Go to File’place in Pho­to­shop and El­e­ments (File’place

Em­bed­ded in Pho­to­shop CC) and dou­ble-click on the im­age you want to place into the slide. Hit Ctrl+t to ac­ti­vate Free Trans­form and drag the cor­ner han­dles to re­size the shot so it’ll fit in the frame. Hit En­ter when you’re done. Click on the eye icon next to the top Layer thumb­nail in the Lay­ers Panel to hide the im­age. Click on the Back­ground Layer then ac­ti­vate the Quick Se­lec­tion tool (W) and click on the hole in the slide to make a se­lec­tion around it. Se­lect the top Layer again and click the Add layer mask icon to hide part of the im­age that falls out­side of the hole. Re­duce the Layer’s Opac­ity to 20%.

2 Du­pli­cate the Layer and cre­ate a shadow

With the the se­lec­tion still ac­tive, hit Ctrl+j to du­pli­cate the Layer. Change the Layer’s Blend­ing Mode to Over­lay and set the Opac­ity to 50%. This will make the slide looks more solid and vivid. Cre­ate a new Layer (Shift+ctrl+alt+n) and set the

Opac­ity to 40%. With a soft, black brush (B) paint around the edges of the im­age to cre­ate the shadow that would nat­u­rally be caused by the frame. Use [ and ] to re­size your brush to keep the shadow small. The shadow will cre­ate the il­lu­sion that the land­scape im­age (in our case) is slightly fur­ther from the lens that the card­board case that’s con­tain­ing it.

3 Cre­ate high­lights to make the slide vivid

With the se­lec­tion still ac­tive, cre­ate a new Layer (Shift+ctrl+alt+n) and with a soft, white brush (B). Paint four curved lines on the Layer to repli­cate the high­lights that ap­peared on the re­flec­tive, slightly un­even sur­face of a slide. Re­duce the Layer’s Opac­ity to 40%. Go to Fil­ter’blur’gauss­ian Blur and in­put a value of 20px, then click OK Hit Ctrl+d to re­move (or de­s­e­lect) the se­lec­tion. Click on the slide Layer to se­lect it, then hit Ctrl+j to du­pli­cate it. Drag it to the top of the stack, change the Blend­ing Mode to Hard Light and re­duce the Opac­ity to 40% to make the shot look more vivid, but still translu­cent.

4 Add a photo fil­ter and save your shot

Go to Se­lect Re­s­e­lect to se­lect the hole in the slide again. Click on the Cre­ate

new fill or ad­just­ment layer icon and se­lect Photo Fil­ter. It’ll ap­pear with a Layer Mask at­tached, which lim­its the ef­fect of the Photo Fil­ter on the slide and leaves the back­ground un­touched. Set the Fil­ter to Warm­ing Fil­ter (81) and leave the Den­sity on 25%. This will make the slide look a bit warmer, so it matches the back­ground. Now you’ve done it once, try it again with one of the other tem­plates in the Start Im­ages folder. Even bet­ter, make a retro slide out of one of your own shots to give a cool, vin­tage look. When you’ve got a re­sult you want to save, go to

File Save As and save it as a JPEG (.JPG) if you want to share it on­line, or as a Pho­to­shop Doc­u­ment (.PSD) if you want to keep the Lay­ers in­tact so you can tweak it to your heart’s con­tent at a later date.

Be­fore You can find a num­ber of the slide tem­plates in the Start Im­ages folder. These retro slides would’ve been slot­ted into a carousel pro­jec­tor and dis­played on a white screen or wall for en­thralled groups of friends and rel­a­tives.

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