DxO FilmPack

Create vintage photos with DxO FilmPack 4

In collaboration with Christophe Gressin

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use DxO FilmPack 4 to give a vintage look to your photos. You will learn how to use predefined creative renderings as well as numerous settings and effects to achieve high-quality custom renderings.

To follow this tutorial, you will need:

• DxO FilmPack 4 (the Expert Edition is required for certain effects).
• Photos in either JPEG or TIFF format.
• You can download our demo image HERE.

1- Vintage photos

The word “vintage” is derived from enology (the science of wine-making), and refers to the vintage of a wine. Its meaning has been extended to refer to something that is old or antique, or to the time when it was created or produced. More specific to photography, vintage prints (black & white especially) hark back to the time when photographers carefully set up their shots under as controlled conditions as possible.

In the digital era, a vintage photo is one that evokes the time of silver halide and other analog print renderings. DxO FilmPack 4 lets you apply these renderings to your digital photos by precisely reproducing the effects of the various kinds of films and development processes available at different times during photo history, as well as providing you with a palette of tools that let you accentuate or diminish these effects according to your own tastes.

You can also start out by using a predefined rendering (a “preset”) based on DxO Labs’ painstaking reproduction of a film, or with a designer rendering, to create your own custom rendering. We will show you how DxO FilmPack’s tools let you fade colors, and add texture, light leaks, and frames to evoke the look and feel of a bygone era.

2- Designer presets

DxO FilmPack offers Designer presets in the Presets pane that can serve as excellent bases for vintage renderings. These presets combine different film renderings with predefined settings and effects that can help you achieve excellent results in just a few clicks.

You can also use these settings to understand how to achieve these particular renderings and to use them to create your own customized looks.

2.1 – Choose your designer preset

Select the Designer presets tab in the Presets pane:

You can find a number of designer renderings that can lend your photos a vintage aspect; here are a few examples:

  • Lo-Fi: Low Fidelity produces faded colors, as with a film developed long after its expiration date.
  • Nostalgia adds a sepia color dominant and augments the contrast.
  • Found in the attic reproduces the look of an old slide forgotten in the attic.

Tip

If you know the name of a preset, enter its name in the Search field to directly access it.

2.2 – Customize your rendering

You can adjust the predefined parameters of any designer preset in the Effects and Settings tabs in the right-hand pane.

Thus in our example preset, Nostalgia, the following effects are predefined:

You can adjust these parameters depending on the rendering that you want to achieve. Here, for example, you can change the toning by selecting Sepia terre in the drop-down menu.

You can also adjust effects that are not part of the predefined parameters in the designer preset; here, for example, you can choose to apply the Cool tone filter and then add the Creased paper texture (setting the latter’s Intensity to 70).

Here is the corrected image that you have produced:

3- Black & white vintage photos

In this section, we will define our own vintage rendering based on a black & white photo preset.

3.1 – Select a black & white film rendering

In the Black and white film tab in the Presets pane, choose the film rendering that corresponds to the effect that you want to achieve. Because of its weak contrast resulting in a washed-out look and its visible but fine grain, we will choose Kodak BW™ 400 CN film to apply to our sample photo.

Tip

When processing an image in black & white, it can be more interesting and relevant to do a before/after comparison of the uncorrected black & white rendering with the corrected black & white image, rather than comparing the corrected black & white image with the color original. To do so, take a Snapshot of the uncorrected black & white rendering by clicking on the  icon in the toolbar (or use the keyboard shortcut T).

3.2 – Adjust the grain

To accurately see the grain, set the display to 100% by clicking on the  icon. Use the Hand tool  to move around in the image while zoomed in until you can see the model’s face. Use the split preview  to easily see the effect of your corrections.

We see in our example that the grain is still very visible, so we will set the Intensity slider to 60 to tone it down a bit.

Tip

Move the separation between the before and after views (left- and right-hand sides, respectively) to display various points of comparison so you can better judge the quality of the results.

3.3 – Adjust the contrast and the micro-contrast

Go to the Settings tab in the right-hand pane. Reduce the Contrast to –50 in the photo so as to give it an older look, and adjust the Micro-contrast to –30 so as to imitate the level of sharpness typical of old photos.

Go back to the Fit zoom display  to inspect the results.

3.4 – Add vignetting

After you’ve finished with fine-tuning the settings, go back to Single image preview by clicking on the icon.

In the Creative vignetting palette, set the Intensity to +35 to obtain a light vignetting; to make sure that the vignetting is uniformly centered around the subject, click on the Set center  icon and move the anchor that appears on the photo so that it is at the level of the belt that the model is wearing.

Validate the adjustment by clicking on the  button.

3.5 – Adjust the creative blur vignetting

To more closely imitate a vintage photo style, use Creative blur vignetting to reduce the sharpness even further. To do so, set the Intensity to a very low value (such as 5) and set all the other sliders to 0, so that the blur will be applied uniformly over the entire image.

3.6 – Add a light leak

A light leak can contribute to the aged look of your photo. Choose, for example, White leak 6 in the Leak drop-down menu in the Light leak sub-palette.

Here is the photo you have produced after following these corrections:

4- Vintage color photos

4.1 – Choose a color film rendering

After switching to Color mode in the right-hand control pane, go to the Film rendering sub-palette and choose Fuji Provia™ 400Ffor its somewhat old-fashioned colors and a colorimetry that lends itself well to vintage photography. We will choose not to add any film grain.

4.2 – Add a filter

Adjust the colorimetry by adding a color Filter; for this example, choose the Mauve filter in the drop-down menu and set the Density to 150.

4.3 – Add creative vignetting and creative blur vignetting

Continue by following steps 3 and 4 in the preceding section to add some Creative vignetting and some Creative blur vignetting.

4.4 – Add texture

Choose a Texture to add an aged look to your photo. Here, we will select the Scratches texture and set its Intensity to 30 to diminish the effect somewhat.

4.5 – Add a frame

For the final touch, let’s add a Frame to reinforce the vintage look we’re after. Choose the Film frame to give the impression that your image is a snapshot from an old movie.

Photo credit : Thomas Babeau