DxO FilmPack

Give an artistic rendering to your photos with DxO FilmPack 5

In collaboration with Christophe Gressin

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the tools DxO FilmPack 5 to obtain a custom rendering that is strictly artistic, whether in color or in black & white. You will also learn how to use certain specific “classic” tools, and you will discover how the software’s creative tools will let you achieve surprising results with a quality that is perfect for printing.

To follow this tutorial, you will need:

  • DxO FilmPack 5 Essential or Elite Edition (depending on the renderings and effects you choose).
  • Some photos in either RAW or JPEG format

1- Creating an artistic rendering: an exercise in style

Obtaining an artistic rendering is an exercise in style that photographers use to produce a work that is purely creative.

People often talk about Fine Art prints, but to achieve such a thing requires a process that is both artistic and creative. DxO FilmPack provides a complete tool palette that allows every photographer develop their photos according to their own tastes so as to obtain the rendering they desire.

Naturally enough, the entire process starts with shooting, during which you as the photographer will take your shots either spontaneously according to the inspiration of the moment, or after having searched for a specific subject and conditions for producing a particular project or idea. Afterwards, you will use development software to help you achieve your artistic objective, whether it tends toward a very personal custom rendering, or toward a rather more subtle creative style.

In addition to classic development tools, DxO FilmPack 5 provides all of the tools required for this type of creativity. Depending on the rendering that you want to obtain, you can push the sliders of the software’s classic tools to use them in ways for which they were not particularly intended, or with the help of software tools that are specifically designed for creativity.

The finalization of your project will also depend on your choice of laboratories for printing your photos, of course.

2- Giving an artistic rendering to your color photos

Step 1: Choose your base preset

When you open your photo in DxO FilmPack 5, you have direct access to all of the available renderings that correspond to your software edition (Essential or Elite).

Select a rendering that interests you by using the filters or the search feature.

For the photo selected here, we will choose the Cool TV preset for its very contrasty look.

Step 2: Customize your rendering

Go to the Settings tab by clicking on  .

The frame of this designer preset is obtained by using Creative vignetting (in the Optical Effects section): eliminate these by double-clicking on the Intensity slider.

This action allows us to have greater visibility of the overall image, before cropping it using the dedicated crop tool available in the upper toolbar . We will choose the Unconstrained ratio. This cropping will contribute greatly to the artistic tenor of the final rendering, since this photo lends itself particularly well to being printed as a large art print.

We will add the following Toning settings to reinforce the cold atmosphere and bring out even more the calmness of the scene, by emphasizing the distinctions among the different planes, as well as by reinforcing the presence of the trees and their reflection on the water:

  • High tones: Gold toning
  • Low tones: Sepia Terra toning
  • Intensity: 130
  • Separation: +30

To keep the poetic effect created by the foggy ambiance, we will choose here to adjust the contrast and the micro-contrastinitally applied by the Cool TV preset, and we will place the corresponding sliders in the Contrast palette on 0 and +30, respectively.

We reduced the intensity of the Cross-processed grain – Kodak Elite 100 used in the Cool TV preset by placing the slider on 50, so as not to deform the sweetness of the scene, and also to keep the spirit of this photo that is intended to be a large-format print.

At this stage of development, the settings applied to the photo give it a pictoral appearance, and for the sake of the tutorial, we are choosing not to go any further in editing this color photo, whose rendering is very subtle but nevertheless still artistic for all that.

Color image before and after editing with DxO FilmPack 5 tools

Note

You have the possibility of going further, depending your original intention with respect to editing your images, by adding creative effects from among the different available frames and textures, or even a light leak which, well-placed, can also give a photo an interesting aged look.

3- Giving an artistic rendering to your black & white photos

At this stage, you can either use the initial image to start a new workflow specific to black & white images, or you can convert the rendering you have achieved above directly into black & white by shifting the  button, or even, finally, to return to the list of presets and make a selection from among the many black & white presets available (which is what we are going to choose to do).

Note

Converting your image directly into black & white using the  button in the settings section, without return to the list of presets, will let you preserve the settings you applied to you color image. Attention, however: settings applied to a color photo are not necessarily adapted to your photo in black & white.

Step 1: Choose your base preset

We will apply a black & white preset to our image by clicking on  and then filtering for only Black & White presets.

Here again, we are choosing a relatively subtle yet contrasty base, using the black & white Fuji Neopan Acros 100, a film that displays very high sharpness and thus works well for enlargements.

Attention

In case you would like to convert to black & white an image to which you have previously applied settings, understand that these settings (apart from cropping and rotation, which are preserved) will be replaced by the settings of the new preset. You can always cancel the last action by clicking on [Ctrl+Z/Cmd+Z].

Step 2: Customize your black & white rendering

Go now to the settings section .

To obtain the desired rendering, we are going to reinforce the blacks and the whites by using the Tone curve.

Note

For more detailed information about using the tone curve, we invite you to follow the dedicated tutorial .

In fact, for this photo, it is interesting to work in black & white by using the Tone curve in order to bring out both the midtones and dark tones from the foggy highlights. To do this, we will place two points on the curve as follows:

Note

Working in black & white with the channel mixer is also very helpful when the photo lends itself to it. All you need to know is what the color dominants are in the original color photo.

Step 3: Finalize your artistic rendering

At this stage of development, your photo has been converted into black & white with a fairly contrasty rendering, but we would like to give it more depth by playing with the sliders in the Contrast palette. We will therefore increase the Intensity for the Micro-contrast and Fine contrast sliders to +30, and we will set the Midtones (affecting the overall contrast) to +50.

Note

The creative possibilities offered by DxO FilmPack 5 are infinite. For even more artistic renderings, you have the possibility of using the tools in less subtle ways, depending on the rendering you want to achieve, by moving the sliders to their extreme positions. Making the choice to be creative lets you take all kinds of liberties and allows you to explore all of the potential of the tools available in DxO FilmPack 5.

Photo credit: Ian Coristine