DxO FilmPack 4 features 02: Color effects
At the top of the tools panel in the right sidebar is a Color/Black & White switch. The tools are slightly different depending on your choice. Let’s start with the Color options.
Below are two tabs, one for Effects, one for Settings. The Settings are for routine tonal adjustments which can help fine-tune the picture, but it’s the Effects panel that provides the retro ‘film’ tools, and these are stacked as a series of expanding panels.
You use the Film Rendering panel to choose the film you want to simulate from a drop-down menu, and the choices are the same as those in the presets panel at the bottom of the screen. There’s an Intensity slider and a Color protection slider to reduce the risk of clipping.
Below this is a Film grain panel where you can have no grain, the grain associated with the film you’ve chosen or the grain from a different film completely. That seems like a little more choice than you’d actually need, but there is a clever option where you can choose the film format, i.e. 35mm, medium format, large format or a custom format. That’s an important option if you’re trying to replicate grain realistically.
The Filter panel applies a warm tone to your picture, a cool tone or a range of other colour filter effects. Below this is a Toning panel which works slightly differently, simulating the effect of a chemical toner on the printing paper.
FilmPack 4 has not one vignetting panel but two. The Creative vignetting panel applies an edge darkening effect, while the Creative blur vignetting panel applies an edge blur. The point of separating them like this is that you can then set the centre point separately for each effect.
The Texture panel can recreate paper grain, stains and scratches, with a Randomize button to vary the effect so that each picture doesn’t end up looking the same. Below this is a Light Leak panel that simulates the look of badly fitted camera backs by leaking white or yellow-red flares of light across the picture. Again, you get a choice of effects and you can Randomize the results. These two options are really effective at creating a retro look because they apply a ‘distressed’ appearance that’s time-consuming to create manually in a program like Photoshop.
Finally, the Frame panel lets you apply a range of border effects to your picture, from glass plate effects to torn paper edges. These ‘distressed’ analog looks are FilmPack 4’s strong point, more so than it’s film simulations (more on this later).