One of the newer Photoshop edits out there is a "matte" photo effect. It basically darkens the shadows and flattens the blacks thus making the edit look more like a matte print. It is very popular right now and I have had many requests to "action-ize it". I think I just make up a new word. :-)
At first I wasn't sure I liked the effect, but it has really grown on me and it can be quite stunning on certain images (portraits in beautiful landscapes come to mind). I personally prefer a softer hand with this effect and don't like to add too much haze and my action reflects that. I should have picked a better image to show the before/after, but I had this one on my desktop and just went with it.
There are many ways to do this type of edit and I just picked my favorite when I wrote this action. If you want to see the Action-UnWrapped step-by-step tutorial you can find it here.
I also have a few more Matte actions coming out (vintage-my favorite, B&W, tinted B&W), so I hope you will come back and check them out. I am also working on a new sun haze action that is really pretty. I am an action-writing maniac right now...
This action and the vintage version (I LOVE this action!) are already in my Action Download pack. If you have PSE11 and up or Photoshop you might really want to check it out because I have added the actions in one group so you don't have to mess with downloading and loading all of the actions individually. And if you have older versions of PSE and don't want to bother downloading all of my free actions on posts here on my blog, you can get them all downloaded at once. The action packs are what keep this blog going, so thank you so much for checking them out!
When you run the action you will see three layers above your background. If you want less contrast, lower the opacity of Contrast Boost. If you find the Matte Effect too heavy, reduce the opacity of that layer. I added layer masks to each layer so you can paint out the effect selectively if you choose.
Mouse over the image below to see the before.
Download the free CoffeeShop Matte Color action. You can also download it here.
Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.
For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.