Plugins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, PSP & others



by Kay Michael Kuhnlein


Review Date: April 2012  

Web site:


When the Plugin was presented for the first time on the developer´s homepage, the visitor was able to also find an answer in the area of FAQ to the question: What can I do with the plugin? The answer then was short and striking: "Give your photos a retro-look". You could not have explained it better! (In the meantime this answer has been sacrificed to the political correctness that is present everywhere today, now it is defined more obligatory and detailed. I preferred the original statement, because I have imagined the people who really ask such stupid questions.)

So it is clear, it is not about enhancement of your photo, instead you make it look “old”. To inform you in advance, for this task you will hardly find a better plugin.

You should decide yourself what kind of photo you use for testing Mr. Retro for the first time. With my first example I used a photo of a ghost town near to Las Vegas just according to the motto: make “old” to “retro”.

Nelson Ghost-Town near Las Vegas – Photographer: Kay Michael Kuhnlein


If you open the plugin for the first time, take a closer look. On the left-hand side 14 folders are waiting, within there are between 16 and 30 presets each. Not enough with that, above there are further 6 tab sheets with estimated 1000 setting options. In Germany there is a saying: “He who has a choice has torture.” You will probably also enjoy the button “Auto” (is displayed, when scrolling the mouse over it). Here you can test all presets one after another and of course immediately direct them.

I will just try something and share this experiment with you. I decide on the folder Ephemeral Cameras and open it by double click. Here I simply select the first entry 1950 Postcard. To the right in the preview window is instantly displayed what I chose. With regard to my example I like that quite much.

Let us see, how we can further change the photo with the help of the individual modulation options. For this purpose I firstly click on the tab sheet Lens and throw a glance at the offer there.


The dialog, you do not yet guess, what setting options there are.


The Preset turns my photo into a nice colored postcard in the 50`s – style, exactly as promised


Colored accents with „Color Lens Gel“


After some attempts I added one of the color combinations with the help of the button „Color Lens Gel“. Alternatively there is as well a selection of presets available in the lower left part. In order to write a review here and not a book , I did not use „Lens Distortion“ and „Adjust Focus“.

The following tab sheet „Flash“ enables completely individual „Flash Settings“. Buttons, presets and controls for detailed adjustments are on hand for that.

My friend Harald (who runs this website) always likes me to not only write rave reviews about the corresponding plugins, but by way of variation find a mistake now and then and of course comment them. As far as Mr. Retro is concerned, I actually have to regret that own settings cannot be saved. The information is Save Preset Error – Cannot save File. For time reasons I did not go on searching for the cause. It may well be that this mistake only occurs in my system or that the staff of MR. RETRO already fixed the problem.

It is going on with the tab sheet “Lab”, I cannot resist the temptation and add a changed colors effect with the help of the buttons „Processing Effects“. It still looks beautifully old, but different.

There are still two tab sheets waiting for me, firstly I go to „Effects“. If you like, you can distribute “Vignette”, “Light Leek” and “Halftones” in different intensity and colors. Of course it is not recommendable in most cases to add all available effects to an image that is why I do without here once more.

With the last offer, this changes. On the tab sheet “Finish” I click on the button “Choose” and I get a selection of surfaces which are processed with the image and grant an additional aging effect.


Here I used none of the options


Now I am giving in to the temptation again and use one of the buttons for a new colors shade.


Here I „passed by“ again without using any effect.


At last one more effect is added.


The Surface selection „Parcel“ is meant to provide even more aging.


Some attempts and I decided on „Parcel“. Concerning my example image I do not like to use further effects that belong to the offer among this tab sheet.

A nice fact is that, if desired, the effect can be placed on an own layer, which provides more leeway for further processions later. For this purpose you only have to activate the control check box for „Generate Frame in New Layer” before distributing.

In Photoshop you use the „layer control panel“ to fade in or fade out the frame, which is a mere question of taste.

The result with frame in Retro-Look

The identical Retro-Look, this time without frame


Take a modern theme as original image, then you will, according to the settings, achieve a result which is not judged as „old“ at first sight. You simply produce interesting results as you can see in the following example.


You see,, it also works differently.


It works even more differently: I take three clipart Pinup Girls (alternatively you can use objects, which you can generate with the control “ threshold value“. The target is to turn it into an image with a grunge effect.


Origin for the next attempt


I intuitively used different settings in RETROGRAPHER until I was satisfied with the result. You only need some joy in experimenting and about 5 minutes time.


That is the way I imagined it, it is absolutely presentable.


THE LESSON IS CLEAR: Whoever wants to give his photos/images a retro touch or, as shown in the last step, produce a grunge effect, is highly recommended using RETROGRAPHER of Mr. Retro.

Please do also visit the developer´s web site: Here you will find further detailed information on this plugin.

Kay Michael Kuhnlein


Return to the Main Reviews page


Still got questions ?