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Age a photo, Gimp tutorial

In this tutorial you will learn how to give an old look to your photos.

Italian Web master: Bad English, but good tutorials.

Let's discover how to Age a photo with Gimp. The result will be a realistic old photo. The effect is really easy, I choosed this pic, that has been taken during an italian parade of historic vehicles of firefighters, i think is perfect for this tutorial. Generally could be a good idea to don't include in the photo anachronistic elements, such as modern cars. You can also be interested in my Gimp tutorial for Split Toning, that is another artistic effect similar to black and white.

Aged photo with the Gimp

The first step for age a photo is a complete desaturation of colors. The old images were taken in black and white. Open Colors - Desaturate and set average.

Desaturate image with gimp

Now insert a new sepia layer, as the old photographs are yellow instead of white. It depends on oxidation of print products.
On the layer window press Right Click - New Layer (press Ctrl+L if you can't find it).

create a new sepia layer

Select the Bucket Fill Tool, then change Foreground Color as the following one. Click any part of the image to fill with the sepia color.

sepia color fill

Select the New Layer, choose Color as blend mode and set the opacity to 40%. Then Right click - Merge Down. Don't worry if the colors are dull, you'll fix in the next steps of this tutorial for age a photo with gimp.

merge down

Reduce the contrast of the image, open Colors - Brightness-Contrast and set Contrast to -25.

reduce contrast for better aged photo

Duplicate the background layer (Right Click - Duplicate Layer)

duplicate gimp layer
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Blur the background copy layer, open Filters - Blur - Gaussian Blur and set a radius of 20 pixels. If your photo has low resolution use smaller value, this sample was 3000x2000 pixel.

blur new aged layer

Select Overlay as blend mode, opacity 100% and merge down (Right click - Merge Down). Now the image begin to look like an aged photo.

merge down blurred layer

Old cameras had a low dynamic range, so the next step is setup a curve like the following one. This is necessary to simulate the bad exposure of aged photos.

gimp curve setup

Now create a new layer, on the layer window press Right Click - New Layer.

create a layer

Select the Bucket Fill Tool, then change Foreground Color as the following one. Click any part of the image to fill with the sepia color.

fill new gimp layer with sepia color

Set blend mode as Darken only and opacity to 40%, then merge down (Right click - Merge down)

quite the last step of age a photo

The last step is the most important for a realistic old photo. You must apply an aged texture, Click here to download the texture I used. This aged texture has 24 megapixels, that should be enough for any photo you want to use.
Open the image, scale it into the size you need (Image - Scale Image), then copy it (Ctrl+C or Edit - Copy).

Come back to your age photo and paste the old paper texture (Edit - Past as - New Layer), then choose Overlay as blend mode, opacity 100%, then Right click on Pasted Layer - Merge Down.

last step for age a photo with gimp, apply a texture to the picture

This should be the right result:

finished aged photo, firefighters motorcycle

The tutorial for age a photo with gimp is finished, I hope it will be useful.
If you like old photos you can also read my ehnanced black and white tutorial for Gimp.

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