Creating an infrared effect on photos in Photoshop

The infrared effect on the photo is one of the trends of 2018. And in this tutorial, you will learn how to create such an effect in Adobe Photoshop using adjustment layers and blending modes.

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Download the archive with materials for the lesson

1. Preparation of the document

Step 1

Move on File – New (File – New) and create a new document for work. To do this, use the following settings:

  • Width (Width): 3000 px
  • Height (Height): 2000 px
  • Resolution (Resolution): 300 dpi

Step 2

Then using the menu File – Place (File – Post) insert the stock photo into the working document.

Step 3

Moving the corner points (to keep the proportions hold down the Shift key), adjust the scale of the image. When finished, apply the changes by pressing the Enter key.

2. Create an infrared effect

Step 1

After that apply the adjustment layer Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Invert (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Invert) or at the bottom of the layers panel, press the button Create new fill or adjustment layer (Create a new fill or adjustment layer) and select Invert (Inversion).

Step 2

In the upper part of the layers panel, switch the adjustment layer overlay mode to Color (Chromaticity).

Step 3

Then apply the next adjustment layer. Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Channel Mixer (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Channel Mixing).

Step 4

As in the second step, we switch the blend mode of the adjustment layer to Color (Chromaticity).

Step 5

Select a layer Channel Mixer (Mixing channels) and set it up:

  • Output Channel (Target channel): Red (Red); Red (Red): + 125%
  • Output Channel (Target channel): Blue (Blue); Blue (Blue): + 135%

Step 6

Create a second layer Channel Mixer (Mixing channels) and reduce its opacity to 95%.

Step 7

Customize it:

  • Output Channel (Target channel): Green (Green); Red (Red): + 15%; Green (Green): + 105%
  • Output Channel (Target channel): Red (Red); Red (Red): + 115%; Green (Green): + 15%.

Step 8

Next, apply Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Exposure (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Exposure) and set Offset (Shift) by +0.0300.

Step 9

Now go to adjust the color balance. Create a layer Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance) and customize Midtones (Mid Tones).

Step 10

Adjust the adjustment layer:

  • Toone (Tone): Midtones (Mid Tones)
  • Cyan (Blue): -15
  • Magenta (Magenta): -25
  • Yellow (Yellow): -10
  • Preserve luminosity (Save glow): enabled

Step 11

Now apply the adjustment layer. Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Black and White (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Black and White) to increase the contrast of the image.

Step 12

Switch the blending mode of this layer to Overlay (Overlap) and reduce the opacity to 15%.

Great, we are done!

Now you know how to create an infrared effect on a photo, using adjustment layers and blending modes. Here is the final result:

If you want to create a similar effect, but do not want to spend time on the lesson, the author of the lesson suggests to try his template on the website GraphicRiver, which includes many different blending effects, including infrared. (paid)

Posted by: Ivan Gromov

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