In the days when the use of photographic film was the norm it wasn't uncommon for the last frame on the reel to show distortions. This would include unnatural colouring, some parts being over exposed whilst other parts underexposed. Now that photographic film is not used so much, in a sort of nostalgic way, the look of such images is reproduced digitally, and is called lomographic (or lomo) photography.
Creating a lomo effect using Gimp is quite easy and can be done in a number of steps. As with all image manipulation processes it does however need a certain amount of judgement to get colour distortions etc how you want them, and this will no doubt differ from image to image. Here however are the steps of how to create a lomo effect using Gimp.
1/ Open your selected image in Gimp and then choose Colors > Curves.
You will see a window like the one above. With Value as the Channel select two points on the diagonal line and drag to form an 'S' shape (see below). The extent of the curve you create will depend on the image you are working on.
2/ Now select the Red Channel and drag the line to create another S curve (see below).
3/ Do the same with the Green Channel.
4/ With the Blue Channel create an inverted S shape.
Adding Noise To The Image
5/ Under the layers Panel create a copy of the image so you have two layers of the same image. With the top layer active select Colors > Map > Gradient Map. Before you do this make sure the default colours of black and white are the foreground and background colours.
6/ The top layer should now be monochrome. If this layer needs adjusting select Colors > Brightness - Contrast and use your eye to create an acceptable balance.
7/ Now we're going to add some graininess to the monochrome layer. Since this layer is going to be overlayed with the bottom layer the graininess needs to be very distinct. Select Filters > Noise > HSV Noise.
Start with the Value slider then move the others to get a good grainy effect.
8/ At the top of the Layers Panel click on the small arrow to the right of Mode and select Overlay from the drop down menu. Now decrease the opacity of the monochrome layer to roughly 50% or to whatever suits your image.
9/ Add a new layer then select the Blend Tool from the Toolbox Panel. Black should be the foreground colour. Select FG to Transparent as the gradient, and from the Shape drop down menu select Radial. Finally click the double headed arrow just to the right of the gradient selection area to invert the gradient. Your Tool Options for the gradient should look similar to the image below.
10/ Starting at the centre of your image drag your cursor to the edge of image window so that you create a darkened area on the outer area of the layer. Change the opacity of this layer to around 50%.
11/ Create another layer. This time make white the foreground colour and click the double headed arrow again so it is no longer inverted. With the new layer active, drag the cursor from the centre to the edge of the image again to create a blurred white area.
Reduce the opacity of this layer to something that suits your image.
You have now completed your first lomo effect using Gimp. Below are the before and after images (they compare better when viewed full size). You can possibly tell that I have been a little conservative in applying the lomo effects to this image, so I am sure with a little practise and the ingenuity Second Life creators are known for you will be able to improve on my effort.
Needless to say you can use this technique on real world photographs as well as Second Life images. Below are two more before and after shots.
I also added a hint of motion blur to this image to give it more of a snapshot feel. Enjoy experimenting with your lomo effects and do let me know how you get on with them.