July 31st, 2010 by

GIMP 102

In Gimp 101 I went through the basic color corrections and edits you can do with a photograph in GIMP. But what if you want to do things like a cool vintage color, or black and white, or a sepia tone- or exposure correction….without lightroom, then this is for you.

I’ll be honest, I would LOVE to go out and buy today Lightroom, Photoshop and Illustrator- I’ll also take one of those pad things you draw on in real life and it draws in illustrator. I’ll also take Dreamweaver, and two lenses. Oh heck- let’s throw in winning the lottery.

Until I win the lottery and can drop an easy four grand on equipment- I’m going to go back to GIMP and show you how to use the poor man’s version.

Before we start:

This is the image I am using.

You’ll notice that I cropped the edges just a bit for the tutorials. This is basically what my layout looks like when I’m working with a photo. The window’s most important is the layers box and the histogram. I keep the histogram open at all time- to help reign myself in and keep everything balanced. You don’t have to keep it open, but I suggest checking it!

Black and White:

There are so many different ways to convert an image to black and white. There is also a ton you can do after it’s converted to correct the tonal relationships- but the easiest, most reliable way to do it is this:

Go to Colors–Desaturate. I usually select “Average” but you can see which one you like better. We’re going to play with it anyways. This is the image that resulted:

There isn’t anything wrong with this- per se. But it’s boring and the light is flat- digital processing in the camera tends towards a pretty flat image. So let’s fix it.
Most of the the time, a simple “S” curve in Curves will fix that annoying flatness:

This is the result:

I actually have two ways that I do vintage- one is more labor intensive so I’ll show you the pretty easy one.
First, create a duplicate background layer.

Open up “Curves” (under the color tab). At the top drop down, change it from “Value” to “Green.” Drag the line to reflect the image (the light grey is where it will be when you open it, the dark grey is what you want to change it to)

Then change it to “Blue” and change the line to look like this:

Then, change the blending mode (on your layers docket) to “Overlay”

The image turns out looking like this:

My Favorite- But it Doesn’t have a name:
This next one is my most used, favorite-ess one ever. It’s also pretty simple.
Start with duplicating the original image. On your top layer, go to “Color” and then select “Colorize”
I like to change to a value of around 37. But seriously, this is a great process to play around with so don’t be afraid.

Then select the blending mode as “Overlay” (or you can play around with screen, multiply, etc. – try them all!)
Now for this photograph, I ended up with this:

great color, but a little dark (actually all of these have been a little dark). So let’s correct the exposure some.
Exposure Correction:
This is the dirty, fast and cheap way to correct an under exposed photo. I try to take photo’s that lean towards darker because the information is so easily brought back.
First- other than our eyes telling us it’s dark- let’s check the histogram:

See how a lot of the graph is centered over towards the left? And that the graph pushes all the way over to the left? That means it’s a little dark.
So cheap, easy fix. Duplicate the original layer (underneath the colorized one) and change the blending mode to “Screen”. Decrease the opacity until it looks right.


Sepia Toned:
This is very simple, turn your photo to a black and white. Then follow the steps to “colorize” and decrease the saturation as well as the color:

You can adjust this to your taste as well.
Again, I use combinations of all these things to obtain the effect I want- I used vintage, exposure correction and colorize to get this finished one- but again, I played with opacity’s of the layers to get the effect I thought looked good. Most of the this experimentation- so have fun!


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