A Viewfinder Darkly

Photography tips and tutorials

DxO FilmPack 3.1 Upgraded Digital Photo Software

December 1 2011

by Philip Northeast

The new DxO FilmPack 3.1 features refinements of the user interface, and in the expert edition there are 25 new creative presets, making it simpler for photographers to achieve their own interpretation of classic film styles.

The new version is free upgrade for current users of DxO FilmPack 3, and DxO are extending their introductory pricing to this new version if you have not already bought DxO FilmPack 3.

The upgrade process was simple and my existing DxO FilmPack activation details and custom presets were seamlessly transferred to the upgraded version.


The changes are not obvious as the previous version was easy to use. I had to read the press release from DxO to find any changes.

The larger preview images in the film strip can be made larger by moving the top of their window up into the main image preview area. This gives a better preview of the effect of the various presets when selecting for a new treatment of a digital photo.

channel mixer

The channel mixer sliders have the corresponding colour backgrounds

For black and white renderings the channel mixer adjustment sliders now have a matching colour background, making it easier to select the right colour. Yes, you do use colours in black and white processing.

Creative Presets

I found these really interesting. They offer a range of custom presets based on existing filters, tones and film types. The big advantage is by putting them on the film strip makes it easier to see the effect.

In the Expert edition photographers can already save custom presets, but the new creative preset range does some of this work for the photographer. Of course it is possible to adjust the settings of a creative preset to create your own, and for photographers with the expert edition, save it.

larger film strip

The size of film strip preview of the FilmPack 3 presets is now adjustable

With increasingly complex software and digital cameras anything that helps speed up the learning process is valuable. This is the real value of the creative presets, they provide a simple basic starting point for individualising and applying the power of FilmPack 3.1 from DxO.

FilmPack Not For Nostalgia

The creative presets in DxO FilmPack 3.1 reinforce the argument that this software for photographers allows the creation of an individual look to digital photos. The creative presets do not have names rooted in the past, rather they suggest a mood or style.  Of course some of the styles and moods are nostalgic, but this is suggested by subjects and settings rather than a refusal to accept change and embrace the realities of digital photography.

creative preset in sepia

A custom sepia rendering based on a FilmPack 3.1 creative preset

The bride in this wedding photo chose classic theme. The wedding cake was flanked by a display of black and white prints of other family weddings and the reception was held in one of the cities’ oldest hotels, originally built in 1834. The view out of the window is a nineteenth century sandstone cathedral.

This suggests a sepia tone treatment to fit in with the theme and surroundings, rather than a crisp modern colourful rendition. The sepia creative preset was the starting point, but as with all the DxO FilmPack 3 treatments there are a wide range of adjustments. Reducing the intensity of the sepia tone softens the harshness of black and white.

Lightroom Plugin

DxO Film Pack 3 was used as a plugin for Adobe Lightroom 3 for cake cutting photo processing. The initial adjustments were done in Lightroom and the FilmPack 3 plugin works as an extra step in Lightroom’s export process.

The exposure settings for full colour in Lightroom were adjusted, but the photo was too dark in FilmPack 3 after the application of creative preset. FilmPack 3 has its own exposure adjustment to lighten the exported version. The settings of reduced sepia intensity and lighter exposure became a new custom preset.


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