Preset picks: The ON1 MacArthur preset stacks two instances of the ON1 Textures filter and adds the Dynamic Contrast filter to give the look of a textured, sun-faded vintage colour print.
Textures are a great way to add an 'analog' feel to a digital image. They can be relatively subtle, such as adding a 'paper' texture that simulates the fine pattern or fibres of art paper, or more dramatic, simulating the look of an old photographic 'wet plate' or unusual printing materials like tin or wood. Textures can also replicate the appearance of a scratched, stained or faded print.
To add them manually you need an image editor that supports layers and a selection of texture files – you can photograph textures yourself and build a collection.
Alternatively, you can use software with filters for blending in texture files (Skylum Luminar) or programs with a library of textures built in, such as Alien Skin Exposure X, ON1 Photo RAW or Analog Efex Pro (DxO Nik Collection).
DxO PhotoLab can create superb black and white imagery, both in terms of image quality and in creative control, but you need to get the DxO FilmPack 5 Elite add-on to do it. This does make things more expensive, and it does feel a bit like you’re paying for some things that other programs offer […]
Digital images don’t have much texture. Your subjects might, of course, but the way cameras render tones is glassy-smooth (at low ISO settings anyway) and sometimes a little sterile. Adding a texture digitally can make a picture look more interesting, more tactile and more ‘hand made’. Textures can be very subtle, like the fine texture […]
ON1 Photo RAW has a huge library of preset effects and you can try them all out just by browsing through the categories and clicking on the ones you like the look of. But that doesn’t really get you any closer to figuring out how its effects filters work and how you can use them […]
Modern cameras can reproduce the world with utter, clinical accuracy. The trouble is, it turns out that’s not what we wanted after all. A lot of the time, what we actually want is the faded, distressed, imperfect look of analog photography. So here are six top tips for getting that analog film effect ‘look’ with […]
I am a huge fan of Google Snapseed. I’m not a huge fan of what Google has done with it, dropping the desktop Snapseed app and then the online Snapseed editing tools built into Google+ Photos. This has been replaced by a separate Google Photos option with much simpler editing tools. Thankfully, Snapseed still exists […]
Analog Efex Pro is a brand new addition to the Google Nik Collection, the set of plug-ins for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom and Aperture that Google took over when it bought out Nik Software. It’s now been taken over by DxO. I rate this as the best set of plug-ins ever made, and practically a must-have […]
OnOne Software’s Perfect Effects plug-in offers a huge selection of special effects which you can also combine and stack as layers. What’s more, each layer comes with its own layer mask which you can use to control the areas of the image affected. You can ‘paint in’ a mask using regular brush tools, but Perfect […]
Photographers are never happy. We couldn’t stop complaining about our dirty, faded colour transparencies when they were all we had, and we couldn’t wait to swap to nice, clean, everlasting digital images… only now they’re the norm, we miss our grubby old transparencies. So I’m going to use Perfect Effects to try to recreate that […]
I really like the idea of OnOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite. Thanks to its extensive layers, effects and focus tools, it seems to offer a lot of the features of Photoshop without having to get Photoshop itself. You can use it as a standalone app, or as a plug-in for Aperture or Lightroom (or Photoshop […]