Thursday, December 16

CoffeeShop Grainy B&W Action Kit and UnWrapped Tutorial

Our heat is still not working (luckily it is warm) and we found out that the A/C & heater unit for the back part of the house (bedrooms) is almost 20 years old and a huge fire hazard. Some wires melted and fused and blew out a transformer.  No wonder I smelled something burning; just thankful it wasn't the house or our hair...

So we get to spend our Christmas money this year replacing our heater and A/C.  I remember my father telling us "not this month, we have a lot of bills" almost everytime we asked for something that cost money when we were kids.  As an adult with a tight budget I understand where he was coming from.  There are always a lot of bills! 

So to help everyone out this month I am posting another freebie.

Since I am nostalgic for grainy B&W film, I decided to put together a little kit to fake a similar effect. This kit includes an action for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, a Grainy texture that you can use if you don't want to use the action or you want a more "arty" grain, a vintage layered frame with a clipping mask (download my free action Group-It to quickly load images), and a step-by-step tutorial on editing without the action.

You can also a similar look by shooting at the highest ISO your camera allows, making sure the exposure is a bit dark, then opening it in Photoshop or PSE and bringing up the midtones so you increase the noise.

You will have 5 layers after running the action. Turn on the Soften layer and adjust the opacity if you want your image to have the soft focus of older photos. Adjust the Grain layer's opacity to taste, change the blending mode to overlay for even more noise. Lower the opacity of the B&W conversion layer if you want a hint of color. And adjust the levels layer for perfect contrast (this action allows you to adjust levels while it is running).

CoffeeShop Grainy B&W Action UnWrapped Tutorial!

1. Open your image.

2. If you are tired of super-sharp digital images and want some old-fashioned softness, make a copy of your background and Filter, Blur, Gaussian blur, set to 10, and then adjust the opacity of that layer to taste.

3. Two ways to add grain:

Photoshop: Add a new blank layer and fill it with 50% gray. Edit, Fill, 50% Gray. Then add grain. Filter, Texture, Grain, Intensity 100, Contrast 70, type of grain regular. Desaturate this layer (shift,ctrl,U) and put it in soft light or overlay blending mode and adjust the opacity.

Texture: Open the CoffeeShop Grainy B&W texture and drag it on top of the layers. Ctrl-T to fit, then put the texture layer in soft light or overlay blending mode and adjust the opacity. This gives a more "arty" texture than the first version.

4. Add a black to white gradient map adjustment layer on top to convert the image to B&W.

5. Add a levels adjustment layer and adjust the shadows, midtones, and highlight sliders to taste.

Download the free CoffeeShop Grainy B&W Action Kit for Photoshop/Photoshop Elements.  You can also download it here!

You might have noticed that I am trying to organize my menutabs and feebies so you can actually find things.  I now have a tab for textures/digital papers and scrapbooking/digital design elements which I will keep updated.

I have a huge free beautiful texture set (and tutorial) coming out this weekend, so stay tuned.  And thank you so much for reading my blog and making such generous donations.  You are the reason everything is free and I get to have so much fun blogging.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets 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.


  1. I don't say it enough - "Thank you".
    Love your actions.

  2. Thank you, again, love... Wish we lived closer, I'd send hubby over to check out the heater for you....

  3. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [17 Dec 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  4. I just installed following you directions, for some reason I keep getting te erroe mesaage" not compatable with this version of Photoshop..." I have PSE 9, any suggestions?

  5. This is the first tutorial that i tried from your blog. It came out really nice

    you can see the result :

    Thanks Rita for posting these tutorials

  6. Thanks for sharing your action sets.

  7. Thanks. I used this filter in one of manipulations for my college work and it came out well. :)

  8. Thank you for all of the freebies you have posted! They serve as great idea builders if not using the actual post too! Great work, thank you!


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