Create a Glowing Retro LCD Effect in Photoshop

  • Tutorial details

    Photoshop CS

Smashing tutorial that teaches you how to create a very unique and retro-looking LCD effect. This effect can be applied to regular photos and leaves plenty of room for your own imagination.

In this tutorial we are going to use the photo This Will Really Hurt – 6, by mjranum-stock.

Step 1

Create a new document.

Step 2

Extract the character and import it to your document.

Step 3

Use the rulers (Ctrl + R) to drag out 2 guides where you want the focus to be.

Step 4

Fill the Background layer with black (press D, then Alt + Backspace).

Set white as Foreground color and Black as background color (press D, then X).

Use the Gradient Tool to create a Reflected Gradient in white to black from the center of your focus point out. Set the blending mode of the gradient to Lighten and the Opacity to about 26%.

Step 5

Create multiple gradients using different length from the center of your focus point to create a nifty warp mesh.

Tip: You can also change the FG color to black and set the blending mode of the gradient to Darken to add shadows.

Step 6

Go to Image > Adjustments > Posterize. Set the Levels to about 25.

Step 7

Go to Filter > Brush Strokes > Accented Edges.

Step 8

For the next steps to work, we first have to add some colors.

Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map). Click the Copper preset, then OK.

Step 9

Make sure the Gradient Map layer you just created is selected, then press Ctrl + E to Merge.

Now apply a Water Paper filter (Filter > Sketch > Water Paper).

Step 10

And finally add a Glowing Edges filter (Filter > Stylize > Glowing Edges).

Step 11

Duplicate the Character layer and apply the filters Water Paper and Glowing Edges. Use the Filter Gallery if available to tweak the settings until you see something you like.

Fiber Length 4 and Edge Width 1 worked well for me.

Step 12

Use a black hard brush to clean up any unwanted dots on the character.

Also, if you feel like moving the character – now is a good time for that!

Step 13

Add a Black & White Adjustment Layer.

Switch to the Channels window and click the “Load channel as selection”-icon.

Switch back to your layers, create a new layer named Glow and fill the selection with white.

Now select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to about 15.

Click OK, then lower the Opacity of the Glow layer to 70%.

Step 14

Create a new layer and set its Blending Mode to Color.

Use a light blue color and large soft brush to add some color variations.

Step 15

Now add a Color Balance Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance).

Step 16

And on top of that, add a Curves Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves). Make a smooth S-curve to increase contrast.

Step 17

Activate the Character layer (click on it). Then go to Image > Adjustments > Replace Color.

Set the Color to black and the Lightness to +7.

Step 18

Double-click the Character layer and add Stroke and Drop Shadow Layer Styles.

Step 19

With the Curves-layer active, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E to Stamp Visible. Name the layer Blur.

Apply a Gaussian Blur filter to the merged layer. Add a Layer Mask and drag a Radial Gradient to partially blur the image.

Step 20

To create the echo-effect (optional): Hide the Blur layer and Stamp Visible again (like in the previous step). Set the Blending Mode of the layer to Lighten, then go to Filter > Other > Offset and play around with the settings.

Repeat multiple times on several layers with different opacities.


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PixelTango Original © 2010-11-15 | Usage

About the Author

Mickel is a web creative that is constantly looking for new challenges and ventures.

He is the founder of PixelTango, as well as a interactive web design agency. He also likes to DJ and produce music under the name Allic.

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