Archive for the 'Lith' Category


Well, it’s about time…

And time is in finite supply.

The photo set is named “Dark Angel” and is an homage to Bettie Page. It is also a whimsical, naughty, and funny story, and we had a blast shooting it! You can see more photos from the set on our website

For the Dark Angel set, I used some new Photoshop techniques that I would like to share:

Tighten in color

What I am discussing is how I achieved the unique contrast between the highlights and shadows. I was emulating a “Lith” print. The main Characteristics of a Lith are high contrast, split toning, and grain.

High contrast is pretty straight forward and is accomplished in a multitude of ways in Photoshop. For this set there are two types of high contrast applied. the first is the High pass filter in soft light blend mode which is part of my beauty retouch. the second is the last step I use and it is a ‘levels’ adjustment layer to create a ‘black point’ at 7 and a ‘white point’ at 247. this is the old way to accomplish this and is done in a ‘curves’ adjustment layer as well, which I suggest and usually use. Since This was a 47 image set, with a 4 day turnaround, some shortcuts were made, and since the results were similar (the ‘curve adjustment was a little better) I went with the easier of the two.

Black and White

Split toning refers to using more than one tone in a black and white image. In this set I used a warming filter (#81) and applied it to the entire image. This is pretty easy step.

Split Toned

Adding noise to the set was rather straightforward as well, but there is a twist. Under ‘filter’, ‘artistic’ I added ‘Film grain’ noise to a merged copy of the image as I liked it. Then, with the layer selected I selected the “FX” button at the bottom of the layers palette, and ‘blending options’ I dragged the ‘underlying layer’ highlight slider back to 80, then, by holding ‘option’ and dragging the right side of the highlight slider back up to 100. this removed the film grain noise from the highlights while keeping it in the shadows. I then lowered the layer opacity to 55%.


Also, pay close attention to how you render the image black and white . Simply selecting ‘Convert to grayscale’ is an inefficient and clumsy way to accomplish this, as is ‘de-saturating’ the image. If you have CS3 or CS4 you can use the Black and White adjustment layer, and with earlier versions can use the ‘Channel mixer’ adjustment layer. there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to black and white, take the time to separate your tones to create the beautiful Black and white image you envision.

These all began as standard beauty retouches with the ‘Lith’ treatment applied at the end of the process. I actually have this technique set up as an action, but because of the fine tuning that must be considered for each individual image, I set each step as a separate adjustment layer, this way changes can readily be made to each step if necessary.

I hope I was able to teach something about this technique, please leave feedback so I can better blog my art to you.



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