Recreate the redscale photo effect in Affinity Photo

Sometimes traditional film effects can make a photo much more interesting and remove its inherent digital aspect. In a previous tutorial we saw how to apply the Bleach Bypass effect to a photo using Affinity Photo, and now we’ll learn how to apply the redscale effect to a photo.


This effect is said to have been discovered accidentally when shooting old frames and loading them on the wrong side. It’s not hard to do with film canisters: you just need an empty one and attach the contents of another in this one with its side backwards.

The strong red hue is due to the blue layer not being exposed. Usually the order of the layers is blue, a yellow filter, green, and red. Since the film is facing in the opposite direction, the order in this is red, green, yellow filter, and blue. So the blue layer has very little exposure, if any.


Load your image in Affinity Photo and start by adding a Channel Mixer adjustment layer. Based on what we know about how the traditional redscale effect is produced, we will decrease the blue channel up to a minimum, and increase the red channel. We will decrease the green as well, but just a little:

The redscale effect is already showing! Now we will control the contrast with a Curves adjustment layer.


It will also be good if you want to tweak the red or green channels based on shadows, midtones or highlights. Note how the shadows at the bottom of the fence are darkened by adjusting the red curve:


And there it is, a fully flexible redscale effect in Affinity Photo. While an alternative is to use a Gradient Map, this method more closely resembles what really happens when the effect is produced in film. Here are some other examples of images created with this technique.

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