Monday, July 27

CoffeeShop Polaroid Emulsion Transfer PS/PSE Enhancement Kit!

I am really excited about my newest action/tutorial, CoffeeShop Polaroid Emulsion Transfer PS/PSE Enhancement Kit! I have always loved the look of Polaroid Transfer, but lacked the actual ambition and time to do the real thing. So I decided to figure out how to replicate the look on my own.

I have included everything you would need to make a fake Polaroid emulsion transfer effect . With this download you get quite a few polaroid emulsion clipping masks I created (if you don't know how to use clipping masks, please read my tutorial HERE) , some paper textures (I found some free ones on Flickr and Deviantart and tweaked them a bit and have included the links on each so you can see where I found them), a Photoshop and Photoshop Elements action AND a step-by-step tutorial (see below). I think you are going to have so much fun with this kit.

A few notes on the actions. If you use the PSE action you have to have one of the clipping masks open BEFORE starting the action and then follow the prompts. If you have Photoshop then just start the action and follow the prompts. The tutorial below will tell you how to tweak the final image, so be sure to read it even if you are using the action. And believe me, this is one time you will want to use the action!

This tutorial takes quite a few steps and can be a bit time-consuming the first time. However, if you use the action you will be able to have your new Polaroid transfer effect in just a minute or two.

CoffeeShop Polaroid Emulsion Transfer Tutorial (see image below of screenshot of layers):

1. Open the CoffeeShop Polaroid clipping mask of choice.

2. Open any paper texture (I have included a few free ones I found on the net, these are not my own and I included the links of where I downloaded them on the texture itself), drag it on top of your polaroid clipping mask, and adjust the size to taste by free transforming it to fit (Ctrl-T). If you can't see where to drag, then Ctrl-0 (that is a zero, not an Oh). Put that layer in Multiply mode. You can adjust the layer opacity later.

3. Click on the bottom layer (the clipping mask) and then open your image and drag it on top of the clipping mask and under the paper texture. Group it with the clipping mask (if you don't know how to use clipping masks, please read my tutorial HERE) and free transform to fit in the cutout.

4. Make a new layer, fill it with white and drag it to the bottom of the layers. This will be your white background. You can adjust the opacity of the paper texture layer so that you see less texture and more white background.

5. Click on the image to select that layer, and then add these adjustment layers: Hue/Saturation (raise or lower the saturation), Levels (I usually make the shadows and midtones darker, but you can adjust to taste), Brightness/Contrast (I add both brightness and contrast to make it a "pop" a bit more). Adjust all layers to taste. These layers should all be grouped with the image, and if they aren't please do it now. If you are using the action, you can change my preset settings by clicking on each layer and adjusting them, or you can lower the opacity of the layers to taste. Or use the layer masks and paint out what you don't want!

6. Now you want to make the image look more like an emulsion transfer and less like a super-sharp-taken-with-a -digital-camera print, so you need to go against everything you know about photo-editing and add blur and noise. :-) Click on the image layer and go to Filter, Blur, Motion blur and keep the angle at 0, but add a bit of distance (2-10) to make the image look like it was slightly diffused during transfer. If the image is too sharp it looks really fake. Then go to Filter, Noise, Add Noise and add a tiny bit of noise (Uniform, Monochromatic).

7. Click on the top-most grouped adjustment layer (the Paper texture should be on above your selection)and then add a new layer, fill it with black and Ctrl-J to copy it. Now you should have two black layers grouped with your image. Put the top one in Overlay blending mode (call it Color Burn) and the bottom one in Hard Light (call it Blacken Edges) and add a layer mask (if you have PSE, please download my layer mask action HERE)and fill that layer mask with black (to remove all effects). If you don't know how to use layer masks, please read this tutorial.

If your image is dark then I would suggest burning in the edges (or any part of the image) by using a soft white low opacity brush on the Color Burn layer mask layer. If your image is light, or you want black edges, then use a hard white brush on the layer mask of the Blacken Edges layer. Play around, and if you mess up just fill the layer mask back up with black or use a black brush with the layer mask selected to remove the darkened areas.

8. Flatten the image when finished and enjoy your hard work. And then ask yourself why you didn't just use the CoffeeShop action. ;-)

Here are a few more notes to help you get great results.

1. Don't add a paper texture and instead print your image on watercolor paper purchased from Walmart/Target or any art store. It doesn't have to be printer paper, any type of not-so-thick watercolor paper works great. You might want to saturate your image a bit more if you plan on printing it this way.

2. Don't be afraid to edit the clipping mask. If you find that you want to fill in some of the distressed bits (or add more), just click on the clipping mask layer and paint over those areas. For example, there might be too many little holes over the face in a portrait, so just fill those holes in on the clipping mask with any color paint.

3. Paper textures are great, but sometimes the texture is too strong over certain areas, like a coffeestain that falls right on your child's face. No problem! If you don't want to Ctrl-T the texture and move it around, just select the paper texture layer and use the cloning tool and find an area that is clean and clone it over the discolored area.

Download the CoffeeShop Polaroid Emulsion Transfer PS/PSE Enhancement kit HERE!

Do you want to download thousands of professional CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop actions (including exclusive ones not found anywhere for free), textures/overlays, scrapbooking papers, clip art/design elements, photo storyboards and frames, and Lightroom presets from this site in one convenient zipped file AND help support this one-woman blog?

Just click here for my CoffeeShop Mega Download Pack!


  1. I can't believe the work you go through to make these things Rita.
    You are one of a kind!!!

    This looks amazing, I can't wait to try it!

  2. rita--i'm sooooo excited to use this, i almost want to call in sick to work!!!

  3. Thank you so much! I can't wait to try this!!

  4. THank you, you are the BEST ! ! Your actions are a HUGE time saver for my photography work.

  5. Thank you so much for this Freebie. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in Creative Busy Hands Scrapbook Freebies Search List, under the Page 5 post on Jul. 28, 2009. Thanks again.

  6. Oh, this is lovely! I can't wait to have time to learn and then play! Thank you!

  7. Yay! This is so beautiful! I can't wait to get home & play! Thanks so much for sharing all these freebies!

  8. Rita, I am so thrilled you love a good challenge...this, is by of the best!!!

  9. Thank you so much for this! I can't wait to play.

  10. I was fascinated with these things 10 years back but never had the equipment to do it, now, thanks to you, I do. Thank you soooooo much. Can't wait to give it a go.

  11. Wow, this is so cool and so complicated! Thanks so much for taking the time to put this tutorial together for us!

  12. Thank you! Your blog post will be advertised on the DigiFree Digital Scrapbooking Freebie search engine today (look for timestamp: 28 Jul [LA 07:00pm, NY 09:00pm] - 29 Jul [UK 02:00am, OZ 12:00pm] ).

  13. Thank you so much - this is awesome!

  14. this is one of the coolest actions i've ever seen. thank you so much for sharing

  15. Fantastic! What an amazing action. Love the look of the polarod emulsions. Great tutorial.
    Thank you so much:)


  16. Thank you so much for sharing this. You're awesome!! :)

  17. Am I retarded? I have Photoshop and it doesn't work at all, it comes up with a million errors. . .what am I doing wrong?

  18. Thank you! I can't wait to try this out.

  19. I downloaded this, followed the direction here to have the mask open first and then ran the action (in PSE). I had about 4 errors all about a layer not being available or the move tool and then at the end just got an image that had been brightened. What am I doing wrong?

  20. Used the Polaroid Emulsion kit -- and absolutely love it!

  21. This looks incredible when printed onto aluminum sheets. Absolutely stunning and unique look for any studio.

    Thank you!

  22. Amazing action! Thank you so much!

  23. I tried your tutorial out this afternoon, and I'm pleased with the results. I posted the result. I look forward to playing with this one - only next time, using the action!

    I really love your "unwrapped" tutorials; I've learned so much using them. Thank you.

  24. thanks
    new world for me
    your directions are easy to follow

  25. Hi! I am looking forward to use all your actions! What a wonderful work you did! I'm so glad everything is free, because I never have the money to buy actions like that and I am really don't know how to work with photoshop, so with those actions, you are making my life easier!! :)

    I would love to download that action (polaroid emulsion transfer for PS but when we click on the link, it says that it has been erase??

    Is it possible to send it to me?? At my hotmail address??

    Thanks a lot!! :)

    1. The link is working on my end! Try again, it is a direct download to your computer


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