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Quick Tip: Using Adjustment Layers for a Fast Hipster Look

Quick Tip: Using Adjustment Layers for a Fast Hipster Look

We’ve all seen it on Instagram. The look is a blend of retro and vintage with a touch of cross processing. We tend refer to it as a “hipster” photo effect. Whatever you like to call it, the look is undeniably appealing, and very quick and easy to create in Photoshop with just a few adjustment layers. In this quick tip, I’ll show you how.

Note: Be sure to check out our recent actions set for Photoshop called Hipster Tones!

First up, I chose this great image from Unsplash. You can download it here, or use your own photo.

Hipster Photo

Open your image in Photoshop, and add a new Black & White adjustment layer. To do this click the little half filled circle icon in the bottom of the layers panel and choose Black & White.

Hipster Photo

Now use the settings below, which for me were the defaults. Set this adjustment layers opacity to 60%. We still have some color but the overall tones are much more muted now.

Hipster Photo

Next we’re going to add a slight cross processing effect. If you’re not familiar with what cross processing is in traditional film development, check out this explanation.

Add a new Curves adjustment layer. Below I’ll show you each setting I used for all RGB channels.

Hipster Photo
Hipster Photo
Hipster Photo
Hipster Photo

Now add a Brightness & Contrast adjustment layer to boost the contrast a bit. Use setting similar to mine below.

Hipster Photo

For the final edit, add a Levels adjustment layer and use the following settings. Pull the left most handles in a bit as I have below.

Hipster Photo

That’s it! Instant hipster. Through your lettering work over the image and your ready to build a following on Instagram :-)

Don’t forget to check out our new Hipster Tones Photoshop Action Set for more!

Hipster Photo

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Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is a graphic designer who loves working with various media. He combines traditional art styles with a little experimentation and digital flare. Nathan's works have contained everything from ink and paint to leaves and a box of dirt. Everything is fare game when it comes to his approach to art. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas where he has been working as a designer for 10 years.

4 Comments

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  1. Thank you for this amazing post Nathan! really useful!

  2. thank you!

  3. Thanks Nathan Brown!

  4. Hey Nathan, thanks!
    it’s very useful for me :)

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