Cinematic MOODY Film Effect for ANY Photo (Photoshop Tutorial)

CREATE THIS CINEMATIC EFFECT IN MINUTES! | Learn the principles that come into play for using Curves, Selective Color, High Pass, and some well placed flares to make any photo look a little more cinematic.

In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll break down the process needed to create a cool, cinematic image in Photoshop. We’ll use Camera RAW and its powerful HSL options, Curves and break it down by color channel, we’ll add a midtone punchiness with High Pass adjustments, an 8-bit style contrast and blur effect and some lesser-known Blend If and Layer Shaping options in the Layer Style dialog box. If you’re into photography and you want to add an element of cinema to your imagery, this is the tutorial for you! Of course, the beauty of this effect is that you’re more than welcome to stop at any point throughout the process and have a great image that you love at that point.

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Tutorial Recording Notes:

Disclaimer: these are the actual notes I used to record this video and are written in a language you may or may not understand. Hopefully, you find them useful or cool.

  1. Convert image to Smart Object or open a RAW image directly into Camera RAW.
  2. Play with camera RAW editor to boost highlights, and use Curves to build out the color effect as well as HSL sliders and Color Calibration.
  3. In Photoshop, Add a Selective Color layer and boost blacks and add magenta and blue to the blacks. Boost the red/magenta/yellow in the whites.
  4. Create a new layer and set it to Color Dodge and open Blending options and check off “Transparency Shapes Layer” and sample light and saturated colors from the image to add some sweet flares
  5. Select these layers and merge them to a new layer and apply a Mosaic filter to this layer of about 150px size blocks (whatever looks big, chunky, and 8-bit for the size of the image you end up using)
  6. Apply a 400px Motion blur to this layer
  7. Set layer to the Soft Light blend mode and use the Blend If sliders to split the “This Layer” black stop and fade away the overmuch blurry fade effect to the shadow tones in this image.
  8. Merge all layers to a new layer and apply a 15px high pass midtone punch.
  9. Create a new 2×2 Guide Layout and make sure snapping is turned on.
  10. Grab the Rectangle Tool and choose to draw a shape and constrain the shape to the 2.39:1 ratio using the cog wheel menu and a ratio option.
  11. Then draw out a rectangle the width of the image and use the “Subtract Front Shape” icon in the Properties panel to create the perfect set of cine bars for the image now matter the size.
  12. BOOM.