Weekly Gimp Plug-in Review: FX-Foundry Part Two

August 26, 2009

If you remember from last week we left off with the Diffusion Filter. As a reminder, here’s the original image we’re working with:

The original photo

Also, I took a suggestion from commenter Laura and I’m going to show both the original and the changed in side-by-side so you don’t have to scroll… now the way I did it was sectioning off the one image into “used filter” and “didn’t use filter”… I thought this would save space and bandwidth, and well, let’s face it, less images for me to upload because I’m often lazy after a full day of work.

Anyway, the point is: let me know if you don’t like this whole “cut the image into pieces” thing and if you’d rather see the FULL side-by-side comparisons.

Eg Black and White

Well, goodness, there’s a another Black & White Filter. If you ever think that there’s not enough ways to transform something into black and white using Gimp, you must be mistaken.

If you recall from the “Black & White Photo” option last week, it allowed us to adjust the darkness and the contrast of the conversion, but not much else. This Eg (sorry, don’t know what that stands for, I can’t help) Black & White is pretty much the opposite – I have a lot more options for the system used to convert the image, but really nothing past that. Here’s the dialog that pops up when I select that filter:

Eg Black and White options

That drop down contains:

  • B&W (Gimp) – I’m assuming this uses the default “Desaturate” in Gimp
  • B&W (Channel Mixer) – I’m assuming this uses the Channel Mixer with the default values
  • B&W (+RED Filter) – obviously they’re doing something with the Red filter (I’m so smart, no?), my theory is that they’re increasing the amount of Red in the Channel Mixer – remember my tutorial on the channel mixer?)
  • B&W (+ORANGE Filter) – Ok, I know what you’re thinking now – there’s no orange in the channel mixer. Well, there goes my theory. Though, you can break your image into more than just the Red, Blue and Green channels, but I’ll get to that in another post… eventually
  • B&W (+YELLOW Filter) – Yeah, I still got nothin’. Here’s the thing – just try them and see how they work for you!
  • B&W (+Green Filter)
  • B&W (Lithographic Film) – Think really high contrast black and white. As in almost pure black and pure white
  • B&W (Orthochromatic Film) – it makes your blues a lot lighter and your reds darker

Here’s one photo that shows all the black & white filters – including the one from last week – except the Lithographic and Orthochromatic (you might want to click to make it bigger – might help with reading the labels):

lots of different black & white options

As you can see, there’s some subtle differences between them all, but it would be hard to know which one is going to look best on your particular photo unless you either get a lot of practice with them all, or just test them all for each photo.

Here’s the photo with Lithographic (on the left) and Orthochromatic (on the right):

Lithographic and Orthochromatic

Believe it or not, using these filters are still not all the ways to convert an image from color to black and white in Gimp. But I’ll save some other options for a different post!

Overall Impression

I apologize for cutting this entry short, but I want to stick to my guns and actually post this on Wednesday, and since I got caught up in other things today, this was all I had time for.

That being said, I’ve certainly just shown quite a bit in just ONE filter, no? Which is once again why I both like the FX Foundry scripts and dislike them. I love that I can subtly change my image in so many ways with just a few clicks and tweaks, but oh my goodness, all these options … I’m really one of those people who can never decide whether I like an image this way or that way, and all the options are just going to make me agonize over my photos even longer!

Let’s face it, though – it should be pretty obvious if we ever want the Lithographic or Orthochromatic effects… and the rest? Well, I’d like to think that after using them a lot and getting a feel for what they really do, we’ll start to know which ones to use when.

Until then? Keep playing around – and let me know if you have an opinion about me splitting the images up like this (don’t judge me on that first image, though, I swear 8-in-1 will never happen again… what was I thinking???)

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  • Lynn

    skydvr is right - quite like the effects - thanks so much for showing them side by side.... and also for explaining how to install these things in an earlier post.

    Have a happy snappy weekend.

  • skydvr

    iffles: I haven't tried them, but I think the b&w methods that mention colors are attempting to simulate black and white photography taken with colored filters, as described on this page:

    I could be wrong.

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