the Digital Bleach Bypass

01 May 2010
the Digital Bleach Bypass

In addition to the previous post, we will examine how to "bleach bypass" in Photoshop.

Bleach bypass, also known as skip bleach or silver retention, is an optical effect which entails either the partial or complete skipping of the bleaching function during the processing of a color film. By doing this, the silver  is retained in the emulsion along with the color dyes. The result is a black and white image over a color image. The images usually would have reduced saturation and exposure latitude, along with increased contrast and graininess. It usually is used to maximal effect in conjunction with a one-stop underexposure.

sample photo

add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and desaturate approximately -60%

add a Levels Adjustment Layer, add a lot of blacks and lighten the midtones

add linear contrast in a new Curves layer above Levels

back to our background  (photo) layer. Ctrl + j (duplicate layer). Mark the new layer and Filters > Noise > Add Noise. Amount: 2%, Uniform, Monochromatic.

Duplicate (Ctrl + j) the new layer again. Now we have two layers with added noise.

Set the first noisy layer to 50% opacity

Set the second noisy layer to 25% opacity and Blend mode to Overlay

If you want to add vignette else skip that part. Select the top Curves layer and add New Layer. Got to tools panel and select black and white for foreground and background color. Select the Gradient Tool. Gradient Tool settings: Foreground to Transparent | Radial Gradient | Mode Normal | Opacity 100% | Check Reverse, Dither and Transparency.

Draw a gradient start from the photo subject to the corner opposite to it. This is our vignette layer.  Set it's Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Pickup out Eraser Tool. Use a big brush. Take a look at the settings

add erase with gently moves gradient near the subject (in our case the kid), the center and other areas you think is good to be out of the vignette.

maybe you want to tweak opacity

You can tweak again Saturation, Levels and Curves to your desire

final photo