DxO made its name with DxO Optics Pro, its high-powered RAW converter/lens correction application, but it’s also branched out into film simulation software, with DxO FilmPack.

Version 4 brings some big improvements over the previous version, with the ability to add stains, scratches, distressed borders and light leaks. I’m not too sure about the accuracy of the film simulations themselves (I’m not convinced any software gets this quite right), but the rest of the tools work really well.

FilmPack 4 works as a standalone app and as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture and DxO Optics Pro, where it’s integrated into the Optics Pro editing panels.

DxO FilmPack 4

I’m going to see what I can do with this everyday harbourside image (above) in DxO FilmPack 4 and introduce the FilmPack workflow and some key features at the same time.

01 Choose your film

DxO FilmPack 4

FilmPack 4 does offer a whole series of preset effects in a tabbed panel at the bottom of the screen, but I’ve hidden this and I’m going to create my effect manually using the tools in the right sidebar.

These are arranged as stacked panels – you can expand a panel by clicking on its title bar, and I’m starting with the Film Rendering panel at the top. There’s a drop-down menu for selecting your film, and I’m going for my old favourite, Kodachrome 25.

I’m not so sure this is a particularly good simulation of K25 – I remember a film with more saturation and less contrast – but never mind, because I quite like the slight increase in contrast and depth.

02 Filter effects

DxO FilmPack 4

I think the image looks a little too cool, though, so I’ve opened up the Filter panel and chosen Warm tone from the Filter pop-up. There’s a Density slider just below (it’s hidden by the menu here) for adjusting the strength of the filter effect if you need to.

03 Creative vignetting

DxO FilmPack 4

Now I’m in the Creative vignetting panel to add some subtle darkening to the edges of the picture. I’m quietly amused by the fact that DxO Optics Pro automatically removes lens vignetting and DxO FilmPack 4 puts it back in (!), but at least you get to control the size and strength of the vignette. Personally, I rather like vignettes. I think they help frame the picture, strengthen the composition and draw attention to the picture’s focal point.