If you’re looking for a way to produce all kinds of old film photography looks in Gimp, then FIL (Film Imitation Lab) is the set of scripts for you.
There are a lot of things I love about these scripts (and one thing I don’t like, but I’ll get to that later), and the first is that you can actually download the documentation, too! So that makes my job here easily, because I feel I don’t need to walk through each setting and what they do, because it’s all described in the documentation!
After installing the script, it’s found under Filters –> RSS –> FIL (I haven’t yet figured out why RSS…), and when you bring it up, your options are as follows:
All of the options are clearly explained in the documentation, but I’ll go through them quickly:
- Colorcorrection stage/Color process: if you check the checkbox, it will use whatever you select in the dropdown to determine the look of your photo – options include monochrome, lomo, duotone, vintage, photochrom and more. Note that if you select one of the “user colors” options, it’s going to use the colors that you have set as your foreground and background colors.
- Grain state/grain process: if you check the checkbox, it will add whatever grain type you select from the dropdown to the photo. Most give off typical grain, however, there’s also the “Sulfide: scratches” option that gives you what appears to be scratches down the photo.
- Enable Vignette/vignette sliders: If you check the checkbox it will add a vignette to your photo with the options as selected by the sliders below
- Border blur: This blurs the image just a little bit, I believe the idea is to similate older lenses that we’re quite as sharp as the ones we have on our cameras today.
- Exposure correction: Makes your image lighter or darker. If you’re shooting in RAW, I suggest you ignore this option and do any exposure correction in your RAW editing program before importing into Gimp.
- Write options in layer’s name: does exactly what it says – it changes the layers name to whatever options you selected when running the script. It’s helpful for me, because I can run the script multiple times on one photo without having to label the layers myself and still be able to document which one I liked the best!
My Overall Opinion
I love all the color correction options, and it’s a great script for quickly converting an image into something completely different and beautiful. However, I really like having more control over the results of my photos, and the fact that it just merges all the changes into ONE layer means I don’t have control after the fact to change the intensity of any particular option. For instance, I like a little bit of grain added to my photos sometimes, but my preference is for just a little bit, and I don’t have the option to choose the opacity of the grain layer. So if I run the script with the grain option selected, it’s either all or none.
That being said, there is a work-around. If you want some grain, but want to lessen the effect of it, run the same script twice – once with grain, and once without. Put the layer with the grain on top of the layer without and then decrease the opacity.
I have to admit, though, it still just annoys me that I don’t have the option to play with the layers once it’s all done running.
That being said, overall, I think it’s a great script because there’s so much you can do with one script ANd because it’s simple and quick if you want an old-film look without having to know how to do all the steps yourself.
A few more things to note. First of all, it actually uses some of the scripts we’ve already talked about – for instance, when selecting photochrom, it’s using this photochrom script. You don’t have to have it installed, though, it just borrows the code from them. However, i fyou want to use the G’MIC grain options, you must install the G’MIC plug-in, which I’ve never talked about here before, because I find most of the options to be less photograph-related and more graphic-design related. To intsall it, download it from here then double-click to go through the installation process, it’s not just an .scm file like the scripts we download. If you don’t install it and yout ry to use one of hte G’MIC grain options, the FIL script will just pop up a warning with the link to download and install it.
Some More Examples
I’ve scattered some examples throughout this entry, but here’s another few:
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