Written by T. Michael Testi
With the latest release of DxO FilmPack version 2 from DxO Labs you now can not only add the style and beauty of classic films to your images, but you can now add additional traditional film effects giving you more capabilities to replicate the look and feel to real film. DxO FilmPack is a plug-in that gives digital images both the look and the grain of conventional films.
OK, I know what you're asking! I gave up film (or never used it) because of all the graininess and the color differences, why would I want to start making my images look as though they were taken on film? Well, one reason is for artistic license. You may want to give an image that fresh-from-the-fixer look. Another reason is that you may want to integrate film images and digital images and you need some method to get a more consistent look for all.
DxO FilmPack recreates the color and grain of over 50 classic film types. These include Kodachrome, Tri-X, Velvia, and Illford. These films were analyzed and reproduced so that they could be applied with just one stroke of the keyboard. The package also offers access to several toning filters to transform any digital image into a toned print. These include Sepia, Terra Sepia, Ferric Sulfate, Gold Sepia, Gold, and Selenium.
DxO labs has a complete list of the available film looks, and they break down into nine categories. color positive films, generic positive films (without grain profile), instant color positive, black and white films, color negative films, instant black and white films, color filters, black and white filters, and tonings.
DxO FilmPack can be used as a standalone product or from the filter menu within Adobe Photoshop. The user interface is self-explanatory. You have drop-down lists and sliders. You choose an emulsion and the filter applies the color and the grain of the film to your image. You are presented with a preview on the screen so you can see what it looks like.
You can mix the color of one film with the grain of another. You can also adjust the grain of the film manually or you can match it with a 35mm, medium format, or large format look. There is also a special profile called "Cross-Processed" renderings. This is a specific development mode which consists of processing slide film with the treatment chain adapted to negative film and vice versa. This gives you a lot of room for experimentation.
What is new in version DxO FilmPack 2? First off there are 27 new film types. These include 10 slide films, 5 color negative films and 12 black and white films. These 27 also contain 7 new instant films (Polaroid and Fuji) and 3 Infrared films (Kodak, and Rollei). There are also 8 new color filters (Green, Yellow, Orange, Dark Orange, Blue, Red, Cool tone and Warm tone) providing you with even more post-processing possibilities and additional creativity.
While DxO FilmPack 2 is not going to be used for every situation, it does provide for a lot of creative artistic expression. It is very easy to use and very functional. My only complaint is that you still cannot create your own formulas and save them. If you get a specific look and feel, you have to reset it for each image you want to process. On the other hand if you need to match film-based images for a presentation, or if you want some unique creative license to experiment for a different look and feel for that film look, then DxO FilmPack 2 is the product for you.