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Digital Diffusion with Photoshop

Following on from last month’s tutorial on Recreating Lith Grain, I’m going to show you how to recreate another darkroom effect in Photoshop. The effect were’re recreating, diffusing the image, was created by placing something between the enlarger lens and the photographic paper, normally this was a black stocking. Quite how someone came up with this effect I don’t know and what the stocking was doing in the darkroom too has never been explained.


Firstly duplicate the background layer Cmd J (Mac) Ctrl J (PC) or drag the background layer over the new layer icon.


With the new layer selected select Image-Adjustments_Invert or Cmd I (Mac) Ctrl I (PC)


Now we need to add some diffusion to the inverted layer so go to Filter-Distort- Diffuse Glow and put the following settings in: Graininess 9, Glow Amount 5, Clear Amount 14. Then press OK


Invert the top layer again so it is back to a positive image


You can adjust the opacity of the top image if you wish at the stage or leave it as it is/ You can always go back to the opacity after the next stage if you wish.

Add a Hue Saturation adjustment layer. Tick the Colorize box and set a tone and saturation to suit the mood of your image and you are done.



About Richard Hales (35 Articles)
Richard’s first foray into was photography was as an apprentice photographer for Oxford University over 20 years ago. From there Richard went on to study photography at University somehow gaining a BA & MA, he still is rather confused how he managed to do this. After University and an unfinished (and un-started) PhD Richard “retired” from photography for a few years to pursue a career in wine and, oddly, scrap metal before returning to photography and setting up a wedding and portrait photography business in Worcestershire. As well as running his photography business Richard is currently working on a bread & jam making book. He is the average height for a Nut.

2 Comments on Digital Diffusion with Photoshop

  1. Rae Marvin // 02/12/2010 at 11:34 pm //

    As usual Richard a quick and concise tutorial …

  2. You have done really awesome job, excellent tutorial it is. Thanks a lot for sharing with us !!

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