We all love the Lomo look, with its distinctive distortions and charmingly off-kilter colours. Sure, you can shoot with a cheap plastic lens or try one of the arty effects in your camera, but Photoshop is also a great way to get the Lomo effect without having to pay for the film processing. The key to getting this Photoshop effect is to introduce many of the ‘faults’ associated with cheap lenses, plus quirky extras like film grain and deliberately wrong colours. Here’s how to do it…
How to recreate the Lomo effect in Photoshop
Step 1: Add a vignette
Open the image you wish to start with and duplicate the Background layer (Ctrl+J). To mimic the vignetting you get with cheap lenses, go to Filter>Correct Camera Distortion. Set Remove Distortion to -7, and in the Vignette box set Amount to -100 and Midpoint to +10. Click OK (learn How to correct lens distortion in 4 steps).
Step 2: Soften the details
To recreate the softness you get from cheap Lomo lenses, duplicate the layer that you have just adjusted, then go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. In the Radius field type a value of around 2.5 pixels, then click OK. For our shot we set the opacity to 70%. Then add some noise by adding a new layer, and use the same technique as in Step 2 on the Convert to black and white tutorial, but this time set Amount to 10% rather than 20%.
Step 3: Fade the colours
To get the faded film look, create a new Levels Adjustment Layer. Select each colour channel from the drop-down menu in turn and adjust the middle slider to the following values: Red 0.85, Green 1.15 and Blue 0.90. Click OK.
Top Tip: Simple is best
The tell-tale Lomo softness means it works best with simple compositions. So when choosing your own shots, look for subjects that are easily recognisable, such as people, or simple shapes such as trees or buildings.