Dragan Effect Tutorial for PS CS3

It’s gonna be my first tutorial ever so forgive me it’s imperfections.

What you have to do first is to open the image in Photoshop. What I always start with is levelling and cropping the photo. In order to do the former you must go to IMAGE/ROTATE CANVAS and select the ARBITRARY option. When the dialog window opens you choose the ANGLE for yourself (I chose 1degree to the right – 1CW)

After it’s been rotated you cropp it using the cropping tool on your left.

Now that the image has been prepared for actual processing, I head to explaining how to apply the so called Dragan Effect.

First you need to duplicate the layer. The quickest way to do it is to press Ctrl+J on your keyboard.

After doing so you go to IMAGE/ADJUSTMENTS and select the SHADOW/LIGHT option.

When the dialog window appears you simply enlight the shadows to your own liking. Mind the photo will look a lot exaggerated, but don’t worry, it’s only the first step 😀

Now you click OK and you add an ADJUSTMENT LAYER using the adjustment layer tool (bottom right). You choose CHANNEL MIXER and (very important!) you don’t apply any changes yet, you simply click OK.

Now you have to select the OVERLAY command from the menu.

Double clicking the mask icon you bring back the CHANNEL MIXER window, where you tick the MONOCHROMATIC option and adjust the channels again to your own liking.

Now, click OK and add another ADJUSTMENT LAYER (see here for details), but this time choose the HUE/SATURATION one.

When the dialog window opens, you tick COLORIZE, set the SATURATION slider at 50 (middle) and move the HUE slider in order to get sort of yellowish shade, something like sepia, again choose the shade you like best.

Click OK and repeat the action adding another HUE/SATURATION layer. This time you do not tick COLORIZE, you only limit the saturation.

Now, highlight/go to the first HUE/SATURATION LAYER and choose SOFT LIGHT option.

If your photo is not perfectly sharp you may try to add a SHARPENING MASK. You then go to LAYER 1, you choose FILTER/SHARPENING MASK…


…and you apply your adjustments 🙂

Then you click OK, and you FLATTEN YOUR IMAGE.

And VOILLA, your photo is ready.

After adding some more adjustments of my own, like converting the photo into B&W (see Holly’s instructions about how to do it) and adjusting the contrast my result is as follows:

The Dragan Effect Tutorial Result, photo and processing by podwiatr 🙂


Hope you liked my tutorial and that it’s of any use to you.

Thanx for stopping by.


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