I'm pretty good with Photoshop, so I thought I'd share a method I use to make realistic-looking CCTV screenshots. Before we begin, I'd like to let you know that this is pretty easy, so if you get stuck somewhere, post it here & I'll be glad to explain it to you. I hope you enjoy.
• Take a good angle
Usually, CCTV cameras are pretty high up on a building or on a lamp post. This isn't necessary as the screen would look good anyway, but it helps make it look more realistic.
• Try to have it a little zoomed in
This tip only applies if you use a camera to take the image. Try to zoom the camera in just a little bit to give the picture a fuller angle.
• Practice, practice, practice
If you're a beginner in Photoshop, please don't get frustrated. Keep trying. We all started somewhere, so don't be discouraged.
Step 1: Starting
The first step in making this effect is obviously taking the screen. Crop it & make sure you remove any unwanted stuff.
I'll be using this example in the tutorial:
Step 2: Black & White Effect
To the bottom right you'll notice a circle that's "half white, half black". Click it, it should bring up a menu. Look for "Gradient Map", it should be the second one up. Once you click on it, a menu will pop up. Select the black to white gradient. Click on the white marker & go to where it says "Location" & type in 80.
Your image should now look like this:
Step 3: LQ Effect (Noise)
The average CCTV camera doesn't record in HD, so it often has something called "Noise". Basically, it's like static on the screen.
• Now go up to "Filter > Noise > Add Noise".
• A menu should pop up, copy the settings I have on the image in the spoiler, then click OK.
• Now go you're going to have to change the blending mode to "Screen" & change the opacity to 20%. Check the image in the spoiler.
Your image should now look a little something like this:
Step 4: Blurring
Like I said in the previous step, almost every CCTV camera records in LQ, because of that, we'll have to blur the image a little bit to make it look like it has less quality.
First, select the image you started with by clicking on it. It should turn blue.
Then, go up to "Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur". A menu should pop up. When it does, where it says Radius, type in 0.5, the click OK.
It doesn't change much, but it's the little details that make this effect look great.
Your image should now look like this:
Step 5: Scan Lines
Scan lines are the lines you used to see on old TVs. They're those lines that go across the screen, made up of rows of pixels to project an image onto the screen.
First, start by making a new document. "CTRL + N" or "New > File".
A menu should pop up. Make sure the document is 4 x 4 pixels, 72 resolution & transparent. If you're confused, click on the spoiler below:
Once you have made your new document, zoom in all the way by pressing "CTRL + '+'" until it can't zoom in anymore. You can also use the magnifying glass tool to zoom in, but I never use it.
Now, click on the pencil tool, if you can't see it, right click on the brush tool & a small menu should appear on the side. Look for the one that says "pencil tool" & click it. Make sure the size is at 1 & color in the top half of the square.
It should look like this (without the outline):
Now go into "Edit > Define Pattern" & name it Scanlines.
Next, press G & you should have the paintbucket tool. If not, click on the paint bucket to the left of the screen.
Then go to the top left & click on where it says "Foreground" & a small menu should drop down, click on "Pattern".
There should be a small square beside the menu.
Click on the arrow looking down to bring the menu out. The pattern should be all the way at the end.
Now that it's done, make a new layer ("CTRL + Shift + N" or the small square at the bottom) & name it Scanlines.
Click inside the image & it should look like this:
Ugly, right? Let's add some effects to the lines to make them look beautiful.
Just lower the opacity to 20%.
Now it should look like this:
Step 6: Date, Time & Finishing Touches
If you notice, every CCTV camera has the date & time. Think of it as a /servertime.
The way we make this is very simple.
• Drag out a black square that's wide & short.
• Drag it to one of the corners of the screen & lower the opacity to 40%.
• Now press T & type in the date & time you want, make sure the font color is white. (A good font for this is: Visitor)
• Resize it to fit the box & place it in the middle. Lower the text opacity to 40%.
This is how it should look:
Now with a little bit of creativity & effort, this is how the end product should look like:
Outro & Examples
Thanks for reading this guide. I spent a lot of time & effort to make this look as clean & understandable as I could. If you have questions, post them here & I'll help you out so others can see, too.
Here are a few more examples of this effect: