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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lomographic Effect

Lomography emphasizes casual, snapshot photography. Characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, and alternative film processing are often considered part of the Lomographic Technique. Users are encouraged to take a lighthearted approach to their photography, and use these techniques to document everyday life, as the Lomo LC-A's small size, simple controls, and ability to shoot in low light encourages candid photography, photo reportage, and photo vérité. The 35 mm LOMO LC-A Compact Automat camera was originally created and produced by LOMO PLC of St. Petersburg, Russia. (Wikipedia)

There are numerous methods for achieving a lomographic effect through post processing. After exploring several of these, I developed the following relatively simple process using GIMP to create the desired effect.

This lesson includes the following:
  • Creating a rectangular selection with rounded corners
  • Feathering a selection
  • Duplicating and creating layers
  • Setting layer modes and opacity
  • Using the Curves Tool
  • Using the Unsharp Mask filter
  • And more

Choose an appropriate image or download this one.
Begin by duplicating the background. I always like to duplicate the background image. In case anything goes horribly wrong, I can easily recover my original layer.

PART 1 Create the lomo trademark dark vignette

1) Create a new layer named vignette

2) Use the Rectangle Select Tool to create a selection several pixels inside the edges of your original photo.

3) Next round the corners of the selection by 10%.

From the image menu, Select > Rounded Rectangle ...

4) Now feather the selection by about 100 pixels.

Again, from the image menu, Select > Feather...

5) The next step is to invert the selection.

Using the image menu, Select > Invert.
6) Now use the Bucket Fill Tool to fill the whole selection with black (FG color).

7) In the Layers palette, set the Opacity of the vignette layer to 60%

8) From the image menu, turn off the selection, Select > None.

This is what you should have at this point ...
PART 2 Create the hard, brassy color effect.
1) Flatten the image to a single layer, Image > Flatten Image.
2) Duplicate that layer and rename it as curves.
3) Using the Curves Tool , Colors > Curves...,

... adjust the color curves to an s-shape as shown here ...

4) Create a New Layer called grain using the Foreground color (black) as the Layer Fill Type.

5) For the grain layer set the Mode to Grain merge and the Opacity to 20%.

This is about where you should be now ...
Part 3 Sharpen the image a bit and finish.

Again, flatten image to a single layer, duplicate the layer and rename it sharpen.

1) From the image menu, Filters > Enhance > Unsharp mask...

2) Use the settings shown below, Radius: 20, Amount: 0.7, and Threshold: 0.

3) Flatten the image once more and Save.

Your finished product should look something like this ...

I hope you acquired at least one new skill or idea from working through this lesson. If you liked it, please share it.

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