Berlin Cathedral: Creating a Retro Postcard from a Digital Photo

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Tutorial: AKVIS ArtSuite

Berlin Cathedral: Retro Postcard


The author of this tutorial is Valentina Aynagos.

Berlin is one of the most exciting Europe metropolises. I'm never bored of walking on the streets of this city, where modern and high-tech architectural buildings are neighbors with impressive XIX century cathedrals and palaces representing the glory of the imperial Prussia.

I took this photo of the Berlin Cathedral on a gloomy November day. I found the composition good enough to make a postcard out of it to share with my friends back at home. This cathedral was built in 1894, so I wondered how it could look on postcards at the end of the XIX century. So I also created a "retro" version of my postcard.

I used AliveColors and the plugin versions of AKVIS Sketch and AKVIS ArtSuite (by the way, they make part of the Artistic Bundle).

    Original Image Result
    Original Image Result

  • Step 1. Open the photo in your photo editor.

    Source Photo
    Photo of the Berlin Cathedral
  • Step 2. My digital camera is rather simple and the photos do not always come out well. So I adjusted it with the command Image -> Adjustment -> Curves. If you have a good photo you do not need to do this step.
  • Step 3. Then I called the AKVIS Sketch plugin: Effects -> AKVIS -> Sketch.
  • Step 4. I adjusted the parameters as follows:

    Photo-to-Sketch  Settings
    Photo-to-Sketch Settings

    and clicked on the button to process the whole image, then clicked on the button to apply the result and close the plugin.

    Pencil Sketch
    Pencil Sketch from the Photo
  • Step 5. I increased the size of the canvas on 0,6 cm with the command Image -> Canvas Size to add a simple frame to the image, so that it looks like a postcard.

    Canvas Size
    Canvas Size dialog box

    Here is the result:

    Increase Canvas
    Put the Sketch Image into a Frame
  • Step 6. I wanted to create a retro version of my postcard, say, Berlin in 1908, for example. For this purpose I used AKVIS ArtSuite: Effects -> AKVIS -> ArtSuite.

    I selected Effects in the drop-down menu and the effect Black and White. Then I moved the point on the circle to the right to add a red cast to the photo to imitate the sepia technique. I also slightly moved the red control on Color to Gray Mixer to lighten the tones.

      Hint: Use the Autorun-mode in the program Preferences (this mode is active by default) to observe the changes at once. It will save you time when picking out the tone. Otherwise you will have to press each time.

    Sepia Effect
    Sepia Effect
  • Step 7. Press the button to apply the result and close the plugin.

    I also added an inscription "Berlin 1908". Well, the photo was taken some 100 years later, but I hope, the Berliners will forgive me this little liberty.

    Old Postcard
    Old Postcard
How It Works How It Works
   — Workspace — Workspace
   — Using the Program — Using the Program
   — Preferences — Preferences
Effects Effects
   — Black & White — Black & White
   — Shift Colors — Shift Colors
   — Channel Mixer — Channel Mixer
   — Texture — Texture
   — Glamour — Glamour
   — Two Keys — Two Keys
   — Halftone Effect — Halftone Effect
Frames Frames
   — Classic — Classic
   — Pattern — Pattern
   — Strokes — Strokes
   — Scratches — Scratches
   — Page Curl — Page Curl
   — Squares — Squares
   — Ragged — Ragged
   — Spray — Spray
   — Artistic Frame — Artistic Frame
   — Frost — Frost
   — Artistic Crop — Artistic Crop
   — Passe-Partout — Passe-Partout
   — Hand Painted Frame — Hand Painted Frame
Examples Examples
   — Berlin Cathedral Postcard — Berlin Cathedral Postcard
   — Change Seasons — Change Seasons
   — Create Your Own Art Gallery — Create Your Own Art Gallery
   — Make a Calendar  — Make a Calendar
   — Prowling Tiger — Prowling Tiger
   — Frog Prince House — Frog Prince House
   — Summer Dreams (Advanced Tutorial) — Summer Dreams (Advanced Tutorial)
   — Relaxing at the River — Relaxing at the River
   — Happy New Year! Year of the Tiger! — Happy New Year! Year of the Tiger!
   — Handmade Wedding Invitation — Handmade Wedding Invitation
   — Making Your Own Frames — Making Your Own Frames
   — Retro Style Portrait: Black & White Effect — Retro Style Portrait: Black & White Effect
   — Changeable Fruit - Shift Colors — Changeable Fruit - Shift Colors
   — Valentine's Day: Capturing a Memory — Valentine's Day: Capturing a Memory
   — Thumbing Through Photos: Curled Edges — Thumbing Through Photos: Curled Edges
   — Old Paper Effect — Old Paper Effect


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