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Add Vintage Effects To Your Photos With Gimp

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by | Filed Under: Photo Editing

Adding vintage effects to photos has become more and more popular these days since the appearance of Instagram and other similar photo editing apps. If you don’t want your photo to be cropped, as Instagram does, or resized as most other smartphone apps do, then using the free GIMP software to edit your photos is the best choice! Of course, Photoshop is the best photo editing tool there is, but GIMP also has some amazing features, plus it is completely free! If you want to edit your personal photos for free, this tutorial will help you a lot! 

To download GIMP go here.

In this GIMP tutorial, I will show you how easy it is to add vintage effects to your photos in just a few short steps. You’ll learn how to use the Gradient Map, Color Balance and Channel Mixer. Finally, you’ll achieve a nice retro filter with cyan and golden-orange shades, which can be applied to any photo you want! 

Here we go! This is the base photo I’ll use. 

base photo

Add a Gradient Map.

Open the photo in GIMP. Duplicate the background layer and rename it as Gradient by right clicking on the Layer > Edit Layer Atributes.

rename layer

Open the gradients dialog by clicking CTRL+G. Edit the background and foreground colors. In this case I modified the background color to #00e5cd and the foreground color to #ffa800. 

With the Gradient layer selected, click on Colors > Map > Gradient Map. 

Set the layer to Overlay mode and decrease Opacity until it looks perfect. 

after gradient filter

After gradient filter

Set the Color Balance. 

Duplicate the Background layer again and rename it as Color Balance. Drag to move it on top of both layers.

Set it to mode Overlay. 

Go to Colors > Color Balance. 

Set color balance

Select Shadows. Adjust the Red, Green and Blue colors. This may vary depending on your photo. Here are my settings below. 

color balance settings

color balance result

After color balance filter

Use the Channel Mixer. 

This is the last step. Duplicate the Background layer and rename it as Channel Mixer. Move it on top of all three layers. 

Set the layer mode to Multiply.

Go to Colors > Components > Channel Mixer.

click channel mixer

Check the Preserve Luminosity option.

Adjust the colors. First, select the Output Channel to Red and adjust the colors below by moving the sliders to left or right. Then select the other output channels, Green and Blue, and adjust them too. 

The result may vary depending on your photos. Adjust as you see fit and you’ll see the changes in the Live Preview mode. Here are my settings below. 

channel mixer results

After channel mixer filter

Here are the Before and After photos. You can use this vintage filter and apply it to any photo you want! Easy and free! 

final result

~ Ruxandra Micu

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2 Responses to “Add Vintage Effects To Your Photos With Gimp”

  1. Johng781 says:

    I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye ddgdkfggfaek

  2. Ron Bates says:

    Very nice. Thanks a lot for this guide. I usually add effects to my photos like this: but on my other laptop I only have GIMP, so I decided to start to learn some basic editing and effects on it, and this is a good start!

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