There is a new trendy edit out there, and people are calling it the Matte effect. I have even seen this type of edit in many ad photos such as Dior with Natalie Portman. I just released a free action to create the Matte look this week, CoffeeShop Matte Color, and I also wanted to post a tutorial so that you can do the enhancement on your own. This tutorial works in both Photoshop and PSE.
CoffeeShop Matte Color Action UnWrapped Tutorial! Disclaimer: There are many ways to get this effect and I am just showing you one way I create it.
Open your image. I am using Blackberry's portrait since she is black (and completely adorable) and you can easily see the edit as I work through it. Like most of my tutorials, I overdo the enhancements so you can see how each editing step affects the image.
Matte Layer-Photoshop: I make a copy of my background (Ctrl-J) and then do a curves adjustment. I grab the lower left corner and drag the point out to the top right corner of the first large square (Output 64, Input 64) and then adjust it down or up for each image. This adjustment lowers contrast on the image and really flattens the blacks. I also usually add a layer mask so I can selectively remove the effect where needed (eyes).
Matte Layer-PSE and Photoshop: You can also get the same effect using Levels. Slide down your black Output Levels slider until your blacks are flat (1), and then slide the shadows slider to the right to bring back some contrast (2). Play with the settings for each image. I also usually add a layer mask so I can selectively remove the effect where needed (eyes).
Contrast Boost Layer: I personally like to add back a bit of contrast. I copy the layer where I did the Matte levels or curves adjustment (Ctrl-J), and then put that layer in soft light blending mode and dial down the opacity.
Desaturate Layer: Finally, I add a hue/saturation layer and lower the saturation. I think the colors look too bright otherwise.
Mouse over the image to see the before. I would probably mask some of the Matte layer off Blackberry and leave the background as it is. But on certain images (such as portraits taken in nature), this type of edit can be quite stunning.
I hope this tutorial proved useful. I have a few more Matte actions and tutorials coming out, as well as a new Sun-Kissed action. Thank you so much for reading my blog!
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