How To Create a Sin City Style Film Noir Effect in Photoshop

The Sin City movies are modern masterpieces that reimagine the film noir genre from the 40s and 50s. They use black and white imagery with low key lighting to creating striking pictures with high contrast between light and shadow. In today’s tutorial I’ll show you some techniques to transform your static photographs into a Sin City inspired scene with a dark atmosphere and harsh tones.

Along with the classic characteristics of film noir, neo-noir movies like Sin City also make use of modern effects like partial colour and post processing tricks to mimic comic book illustrations. We’ll use techniques in Photoshop to replicate these styles and create a dark atmosphere within a static image. What starts as a cheesy stock photograph becomes an intriguing scene straight from a movie with the help of high contrast to achieve the stylised look, the use of colour and focus to draw in the eye, and faux low key lighting to add suspense and drama.