Creating a retro style photo effect in Pixelmator

Today i’ll cover a quick tutorial on how to create a retro style effect using Pixelmator. For those of you who don’t know what Pixelmator is, it’s a alternative to Photoshop and you can read a quick overview here: What is Pixelmator – Image Editing App?. There are many filters already built into Pixelmator but in this tutorial we will cover how to make some easy edits on your own to create a vintage feel.

First before we adjust the colors of our image to give it a retro feel we are going to create a curved border.

  • First using the rectangular marquee tool select the entire image.
  • Then click Edit –> Refine Selection.
  • In this box change the size of the selection to about -30 (for a larger border go to around -45)
  • retro pixelmator effect

  • Now go back to Edit –> Refine Selection again. This time move the size up to about +20 (as always play around and adjust these numbers as it fits your style). You will see that the corners are slightly rounded. To make them more rounded move the smooth slider here up to 50% and the feather to 15%.
  • retro pixelmator effect2

  • Next right click on this layer and choose Add Mask.
  • Add a new layer underneath this image layer and fill it with black
  • This will now have a simple rounded black border around your image
  • Next go to the Levels in the effects browser and move the black and white points inwards to increase the contrast of the image.
  • Now we will want to start to give the image a vintage tone. In the effects browser go to the curves effect. Click into the blue channel and move the far left point up to 20%.
  • retro pixelmator effect3

    This gives it a pretty cool blueish tone and is starting to look like a vintage style. We can also go into the hue effect and take down the saturation a little bit and also raise up the lightness of the image. Also I like the tint of the image but want to go a little further so will go into the color balance effect and in the highlights up the green and also yellow to give it more of an aged tint.

    retro pixelmator effect4

    There are lots of other things we can do to take this vintage effect further like adding a textured backdrop or some blur to the photo, but i’ll leave those up to another tutorial on a different day. Stay tuned for lots more with Pixelmator.

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    Author: Mark

    Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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