Original image by Rubén Colorado
Old halftone print effect
In PhotoShop open up one of your own photograph of people – either a portrait or a couple of people together. Now we are going to increase the overall contrast of the picture by burning it a bit. Go to IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > LEVELS…With this image we are going to set the INPUT LEVELS to 60 / 1.00 / 220. But this is only for this example. Choose the best settings for each photo. Duplicate your background layer.
In this step we are going to give the photo an illustrated look with some graininess to give the illusion of an old and bad quality paper. It is not a realistic effect, it is just some distortion to the image to help us achieve the final look. Go to FILTERS > ARTISTIC > FILM GRAIN. In this case we are going to use: GRAIN: 4, HIGHLIGHT AREA: 0, INTENSITY: 10. Try different settings for different photos.
Duplicate the layer and name the new layer HALFTONE
In this step we are going apply a halftone pattern to the image to give the final old comic book printing effect. Go to FILTER > PIXELATE > COLOR HALFTONE. Set MAX RADIUS: 4 and leave the rest with the default values. Press OK and then go to the LAYERS PALETTE and set the BLENDING MODE to DARKEN.
Adding comic book elements to the picture
The effect looks nice so far. It is not a realistic old comic book effect, it simple resembles that look. To make it more real, now comes the fun part. We are going to add some unique elements that are very popular on comic books and strips
Select the HALFTONE layer. Select Layer > Layer Style > Stroke and set the stroke layer size width: 20px, POSITION: Inside and COLOR: #F5ECE1.
Add a new layer. With the marque tool draw a small rectangle at the top left (or right) of the frame of the image. Fill it with a gradient of yellow to red. The gradient tool is in the same place as the paint bucket. Then, create a black line around the yellow/orange box by going to Layer > Layer Style > Stroke and choose black for the color and 3 pixels for the width.
Draw another rectangle and the bottom edge of the opposite a bit larger this time, on the lower left corner of the frame. Give it aSTROKE of 3 pixels and paint it white. The final result should be like the one below:
Lets add a border to the image: Add a new empty layer above the layer containing the rectangles we created in the previous step. Select the RECTANGLE SELECTION TOOL from the TOOLS PALETTE. Draw a selection from the top left (right inside the frame) to the bottom right border of the image.
Go to EDIT > STROKE, set WIDTH: 4px, COLOR: BLACK, LOCATION CENTER and press OK.
DESELECT the current selection and go to FILTER > BLUR > BLUR MORE. Then apply a small distortion using FILTER > DISTORT > RIPPLE… (Amount 20%, Size Medium). Now, lets sharpen the stroke a bit with FILTER > SHARPEN MORE and there you have a nice simulated hand drawn border.
Adding captions using a comic book font
To add captions to the photo you can use any font you like, but only using fonts that look like comic books text. Go to cooltext.com and create the text for your comic. You will have to create an account. Save the text and add the text in a new layer to your image.
Type a date on the top orange rectangle. Play with the first letter of the text by adding a stroke, a shadow and a bright contrasting color.
Then write a caption for the photo at the bottom white rectangle. Highlighting some words in bold also looks good.
And that’s all.