In this Photoshop tutorial, you will learn how to create the glitchy VHS VCR tape Camcorder effect.
Just like with old low-quality photos, something nostalgic and charming about the imperfections of the worn-out VHS tapes.
There are many different techniques you can use to replicate that old-school video quality in your photograph.
But we will focus on non-destructive techniques, which means you can always come back and make changes later!
You can even use the final PSD as a template file to easily apply the effect to any other photo!
Step 01 – Convert Your Image Into a Smart Object
Convert your photo into a Smart Object (Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object) and name it “Original.”
Smart Objects allow you to apply non-destructive filters, and it will also allow you to change its contents later. Meaning that the final document could be used as a template to apply the VHS effect to any photo!
Step 02 – Duplicate The Smart Object Four Times
Make four duplicates of this Smart Object by pressing Ctrl J (Mac: Command J) four times.
Name the Layers “Red,” “Green,” “Blue,” and “Distortion.”
Disable the Distortion layer by clicking on the Eye icon.
This is what your layer stack should look like:
Step 03 – Apply Advance Blending Options
From the Layers Panel, right-click on the Red layer and Select Blending Options.
In the Layer Style Dialog, un-check Green and Blue from the Advanced Blending Options (Labeled “R” and “G”).
Repeat this step for the Green and Blue Layers. But only leave the Corresponding checkbox enabled for each layer.
In the Green layer, uncheck “R” and “B.” In the Blue layer, uncheck “R” and “G.”
If you did this correctly, you should see the original image without any color distortions.
Note: These checkboxes allow you to disable each of the RGB channels from the selected layer.
Step 04 – Apply The Shear Filter to The Green Layer
To create the glitch effect, we will apply a distortion filter to several layers.
Start by selecting the Green layer and go to Filter > Distort > Shear.
This filter allows you to distort the layer by moving points along a curve.
You can add additional points by clicking directly on the curve. Keep the distortions subtle.
Step 05 – Apply The Shear Filter to The Blue Layer
Apply a subtle Shear distortion to the Blue layer. But make sure that the distortion is different than the one that you applied to the Green layer.
The distortions on the Green and Blue layers will apply a color bleed to the image.
Step 06 – Apply The Shear Filter to The Distortion Layer
To apply the distortion part of the glitch effect, enable the Distortion Layer and apply a Shear distortion that is different from the Blue and Green layers.
Step 07 – Make a Mask With Random Rectangles
Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and randomly make rectangular selections of different heights across the canvas.
Then, with the selection active, create a new Layer Mask on the Distortion layer (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection).
This is what my Layer Mask looks like. The white rectangles represent the selected areas.
After applying the mask, Right-Click on the Distortion layer and Select Blending Options.
In the Layer Style dialog, un-check Red and Blue from the Advanced Blending Options (Labeled “R” and “B”).
Step 08 – Apply The Scanl Lines With a Pattern Fill Layer
To create the scan lines, use a Pattern Fill Layer (Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern).
From the Default Pattern list, select the second pattern in the first row and set the Scale to 150%.
Note: To reset your Patterns to the default list click on the Gear icon and select Reset Patterns.
Then change the Patter Fill’s Blending Mode to Multiply, which will hide the bright pixels, and set the Opacity to 25%.
Step 09 – Color Tone The Image with a Selective Color Adjustment Layer
To apply the color tone of old VHS tapes, use a Selective Color Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color).
From the Colors drop-down, select “Blacks.” Then add 20% to Cyan and reduce Yellow to -20%, which will add blue.
This adjustment will introduce a blue tint on the shadows.
Step 10 – Add Noise
Finalize the effect by adding colored noise to the image.
Create a new blank layer, name it “Noise,” and fill it with black.
Then go to Filter > Noise. In the Add Noise dialog enter an Amount of 400%, Check Uniform, and uncheck Monochromatic.
This combination of blends, distortions, and textures does a good job of recreating the old VHS tape look. What do you think?
Also, since we are working with Smart Objects, you can go back and replace the original image with any other photo.
From the Layers Panel, simply click on any of the Smart Object’s thumbnail.
Doing so will open a new tab where you can replace the original photo. Once you save the Smart Object, the working document will update and apply the VHS effect to your new photo!
VHS Photoshop Template Download165 – VHS Effect PSD Template (38551 downloads)
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