DxO FilmPack

Go back in time with your color photos using DxO FilmPack 4

In collaboration with Christophe Gressin

In this tutorial, we will show you how you can implement your creative photo ideas by working on the colors in your images. You will learn how to prepare the shot, and how to define a color preset for a single image that you can then apply to an entire batch of photos.

To follow this tutorial, you will need:

  • DxO FilmPack 4.5 Expert Edition.
  • Some color photos in JPEG or TIFF format.

1- Color photos

Color in photos comes into play at two different moments: first during shooting and then during development or processing. Several factors influence the colors in your photos right when you shoot.

The first element to take into consideration is the light available to you, whether natural or artificial. With natural lighting, a photo taken at dawn or at sunset will have tones that are much warmer than photos taken at mid-day; with artificial light, you will have to manage the colorimetry of your photos based on the warmth of the light sources.

Another consideration is the impact that exposure has on colors: by slightly overexposing your shots, you will obtain colors that are clearer and softer (heading toward pastel); on the other hand, under-exposing your shots will result in colors that are much more dense.

The white balance can also affect the color rendering: although the automatic correction results in natural colors, you can decide to “warm up” or “cool off” the color by making adjustments to specific settings.

Finally, if you choose to work in JPEG, most cameras have more or less advanced color settings that you can adjust; by contrast, RAW processing software does not take these kinds of settings into account (except for certain specific software provided by the camera manufacturer).

White balance and color settings can be dealt with when you process your photo. This tutorial will show you how to go even further and give your creativity free rein to choose whatever kind of rendering you wish using DxO FilmPack 4.

Finally, note that the plugin version of DxO FilmPack 4 integrates completely with DxO Optics Pro 9 via a dedicated palette of tools, and includes specific options for working with RAW files.

2- Applying creative effects to your photos

You should generally have an idea in mind of the look you’d like to achieve for the batch of images you’ll be working on.

For this tutorial, we are going to apply a “60’s look” to our photos.

Step 1: Choose a rendering

Choose the rendering that will serve as the base for your work; in our example, we will choose Fuji Astia™ 100F film for its warm and bright color rendering; this will create a pastel effect that is well-suited to the overall rendering that we want to obtain.

Step 2: Adjust the exposure and the micro-contrast

For a softer and more ethereal rendering, boost the exposure (+0.6) and reduce the micro-contrast(–35).

Step 3: Adjust the colors

On top of the basic rendering, various settings will let you fine-tune the color in your image.


It is important to start with settings that act on the image globally before applying settings that have a more localized impact.

To start with, we’ll adjust the Tone curve. To achieve the look we’ve decided on, we will deliberately block the blacks, which will give us a softened rendering even in the darkest areas. So set the black point to 35.

Next adjust the vibrancy, which will boost the saturation of the cooler tones while preserving the skin tones in particular. This setting will especially bring out the blue sky in a part of the image that has very little color, all while preserving the rest of the photo.

Adjust this setting to 25 so as not to affect the teal color of the majorettes’ uniforms.

We will finish up our color processing by using the HSL (Hue – Saturation – Luminance) tool, with which we can adjust the colors in each available channel. The operating principle for this tool is to choose a color channel according to the areas that you want to correct or adjust the hue, saturation, and/or luminance. The tool modifies only the parameters of the chosen color channel, and leaves the other colors in the photo untouched.

The modifications are based on the colors in the original image and the rendering that we want to achieve.

In our example, we will set the saturation of the color channels as follows:

  • Reds : -30
  • Yellows : +20
  • Cyans : -35

Step 4: Finalize the processing

Once you’re done working on the colors, you can add some effects to enhance the rendering you’re aiming for.

Add a light Creative vignetting (intensity: –20); next, add a texture — here Paper grain 2, which you can reinforce by setting the intensity to 65. Finally, you can add a Frame such as B&W Slide 1 that you can position outside of the image.

3- Applying your rendering to a set of images

After you have achieved the desired rendering, DxO FilmPack 4 offers you the tools you need to apply it to other images.

Step 1: Create a custom preset

You will need to save the settings that let you obtain this rendering. To do so, right-click on the image and choose the option Create preset from current settings in the context menu that appears.

Enter a name for your preset that will let you find it again easily, and save it in the following dialog box.

Step 2: Batch processing

This custom preset will let you apply exactly the same settings to the photos that you then open in DxO FilmPack 4. But instead of having to apply this preset to several images one by one, you can do so all at once by choosing Batch processing in the Filemenu (keyboard shortcut: CTRL/Cmd + B).

Your preset is accessible in the corresponding drop-down menu under Custom presets.

The Add button opens a window that lets you choose the photos to which you want to apply the preset.

After you have selected the output parameters, validate your choices by clicking on the Process button. A window will confirm that the processing is proceeding properly.

4- Going further: Integrating DxO FilmPack into your workflow

For those who want to go further, or for advanced users who already own other photo processing software, DxO FilmPack integrates as a plugin for DxO Optics Pro, Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe® Photoshop® Elements®, and Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom®.

If you use DxO Optics Pro, the DxO FilmPack plugin will appear as an additional palette containing all of the settings of the standalone application. Using DxO Optics Pro with the DxO FilmPack plugin will allow you to work on RAW files without interrupting your workflow, as well as to benefit from all of the advantages that RAW files bring in terms of image data retrieval, for example.

Photo credit: Laurent Roch