Film Emulation Presets in G'MIC (GIMP)

Color toning/grading can be a heck of a rabbit-hole sometimes. You start innocently enough, but hours later you’ll find yourself still fiddling with one particular point in one particular channel. Just a little bit more to get it just right! Just a slight bump to saturation in this color! Push the hue a little more this way!

Mairi. Kodak Portra 400 NC Emulation (Strongest setting)
(mouseover for original)

It may seem trivial, but these tiny differences can mean the world to obsessive-compulsive types. I’m speaking from experience because I just finished clawing my way out of the rabbit hole...

I brought some things back with me, though.

An update and addendum on new film emulations can be found here.

A method for saving the presets for use while offline can be found here:
Using G'MIC Film Emulation Filters Offline.

What Came Back

You might recall that I talked about color curves a couple of times in the past. In my previous post on color curves & skin, I looked at Petteri Sulonen’s curves, and walked through a process for matching color tones from other images. There was a lot of back and forth between Sample Points and the Curves editor.

It’s a pretty good description of the process, and with enough time and patience you can come up with some pretty good curves. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can also start fiddling with Hue, Saturation, and Value as well (something curves alone can’t really do for you).

Mairi. Fuji Superia 100 Emulation (Strongest setting)
(mouseover for original)

In an effort to practice and learn even more about color and tone manipulations, I figured it would be fun to replicate the effects found in a very popular set of film emulation presets that are available commercially…

The problem is, I tend to only use F/OSS in my workflow, so I don’t have Photoshop, Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw, or Aperture. Which also means I don’t have a means to access those presets directly.

What I do have is (some) patience and examples online. I also know enough about color manipulation to be dangerous (and annoying as hell to people smarter than me).

Mairi. Fuji Neopan 1600 Emulation (Strongest setting)
(mouseover for original)

So I basically walked through re-creating many of the popular film emulations that people seem to like so much these days. (This is where I spent a LOT of time fiddling, see the first paragraph of this post again).

To make things easier on myself I generated a full set of 16-bit Hald CLUT images, thus allowing me to apply these color emulations to my images with Imagemagick. (I may come back and post more about this later).

The problem I had is that it’s more fun to share this with others, and I wasn’t sure of an easy way to do this (seriously, each Hald CLUT image to re-create the effect weighs in at 50MB each).

I wanted an easy way to share these presets and let others play with them...

Enter G’MIC (David Tschumperlé)

Lucky for me, I’m friends with David Tschumperlé.

If you need yet another reason to go download and support G’MIC, here it is. Within 24 hours of asking if there was a way to do this, he had something ready to go. (See, it’s good to know smart people).

If you haven't already,
click the image above and go download G'MIC.

A few hours after that, and all of the emulations I worked on can now be accessed in G’MIC.

So, that’s my announcement. My film emulation presets are now available in GIMP, thanks to David and G’MIC.

Here's a sample of the “old” film stocks there are now presets for:

All of the current old stock films I have emulations for.
(Highest strength setting)

The best part is, if you are reading this post, and have a recent G'MIC installed, you already have them at your disposal right now.

All you have to do is update the filters in your G’MIC to the latest ones, then:

Filters → G’MIC
Film Emulation → (type)

The Preset list will show all of the color presets I worked on. Under Film Emulation there are sub-categories depending on the type of film stocks you want to use. At the moment they are only broken down by old film stocks vs. new(ish) film stocks. I’m probably going to include some old expired Polaroid stuff I did a while back, and any other instant films I can find as well.

The current list of emulations are:

  • Fuji 160C, 400H, 800Z
  • Fuji Ilford HP5
  • Kodak Portra 160, 400, 800
  • Kodak TMAX 3200
  • Kodak Tri-X 400


  • Fuji Neopan 1600
  • Fuji Superia 100, 400, 800, 1600
  • Fuji Ilford Delta 3200
  • Kodak Portra 160 NC, 160 VC, 400 NC, 400 UC, 400 VC

[Updated with more]:
  • Polaroid PX-70
  • Polaroid PX100UV
  • Polaroid PX-680
  • Polaroid Time Zero (Expired)

  • Fuji FP-100c
  • Fuji FP-3000b
  • Polaroid 665
  • Polaroid 669
  • Polaroid 690

All in various intensities of the effect.

The same old stock film emulation, at their lowest setting.

Now, these are my approximations, so they aren’t exact. There’s a lot of ‘creative’ interpretations going on, and I had to fill in some things with artistic liberties. They also don’t do any fancy stuff like vignettes and grain, but those are things you can easily do in GIMP.

In fact, I highly recommend the grain map prepared by Petteri Sulonen on his page as an overlay to your images to add the grain. G'MIC also has a synthetic grain generator as well.

New stock film emulation sample, at lowest setting.

Also, as with most automated things, use these as a starting point to experiment and learn more as well. I learned a huge amount about color and HSL manipulations (my eyes bled at one point), while fiddling with these. It’s been an invaluable experience for me, and I hope it will spur more creative experimentation in you.

And hopefully, the next time someone asks “How do I get these colors/tones?”, you can just point them here for a starting point. :)

Help support the site! Or don’t!
I’m not supporting my (growing) family or anything from this website.
There is only one reason I am writing these tutorials and posts:
I love doing it.
Technically there is a second reason: to give back to the community. Others before me were instrumental in helping me learn things when I first got started, and I’m hoping to pay it forward here.

If you want to visit an ad, or make a donation, or even link/share my content, I would be absolutely grateful (and tickled pink). If you don’t it’s not going to affect me writing and posting here one bit.

I’ll keep writing, and I’ll keep it free.
If you get any use out of this site, I only ask that you do one thing:
pay it forward.


  1. Thanks Patrick for the tutorial, but as the "step child using windows and with the name van Doom" :-), in GMIC I get a preview error when changing the "preset" from normal, and "apply" gives me the following error:

    *** Error in ./gimp_emulate_film_negative_old/_gimp_emulate_film/*if/*if/ *** cimg::load_network_external(): Failed to load file '' with external tools 'wget' or 'curl'.

    My system win8.1 64b using Partha's 2.8 Build


    1. I am checking into it right now. There may be an issue with the wget/curl packaged with Partha's build.

      There appears to be a similar problem over on gimpchat:

    2. I have the same problem! I thank you help me find a solution!


  2. Gracias, mil gracias, amigo, por este gran trabajo, esto es por lo que amo el opensource, por gente que ama lo que hace. Abrazo y Gracias.

    1. Totalmente de acuerdo, este ha sido uno de los mejores y más motivadores descubrimientos que he hecho desde que empecé en la Fotografía digital. Infinitas gracias Patrick.

  3. hi
    I use gimp under ubuntu gmic ver and I can't see new filters Where I can download them ?

    1. You need to hit the refresh button on the bottom of the G'MIC window to update your filters. Then they should be there.

    2. I cannot see anything new in the GMIC menu too here in Gimp 2.8.6. I've updated the filters few times. :/

  4. thank you I was blind :)

  5. It's nice that someone works with film emulation profiles. The digital is just plain ugly.

    But I wonder why there's no black in these emulated pictures? Real film picture (printed from negative or watched as slide) has always good blacks. Color slide have very deep blacks. The negative's black is only limited by printing paper.

    1. Because the examples I am showing here are the most extreme cases, for visibility. Each Gil type has a strength you can apply, and this is the strongest setting.

      The lower settings are much more subtle and nuanced. Try it, you'll see!

  6. Hi Pat, I'm a photography hobbyst. Long ago I was looking for an alternative to VSCO film effects for GIMP. Thank you very much for this great contribution. Thank you in the name of every photography lover. I will promote this excellent piece of open source software on my GNU/Linux blog.

    1. Hi! I'm really glad you might be able to use these. :) By all means spread the word and let everyone know about the options we now have!

      Remember, if you fiddle with it and come up with something cool, consider sharing it with everyone as well.

    2. Thank you again Pat, I wrote an article in my blog, sort of tutorial to install G'MIC, and some examples of your filters. It's in spanish though:


  7. Very nice work! Any chance of Fuji Velvia making it in at some point?



    1. Benedict:
      Thanks! I had actually already covered a similar set of color curves for emulation from Petteri Sulonen in a previous post:

      There is a velvia-esque color curve for GIMP there that might do until I get some Velvia done... :)

  8. I finally found it and enjoyed it. the one thing I missed most was the old Kodak Ektachrome 160 I realize this was a positive film but I shot it for thirty and loved the cold color of the film (blue).Could this be added?

    1. Excellent, I'm glad you did! I actually have 3 different Ektachromes sitting on my hard drive that I'm still hacking away at right now. They should be available in the next few days!

  9. hi question why I can not use filters when I'm offline? regards Dan

    1. Because G'MIC needs to download the color profile to apply it to your image. The files are cached, so if you are online, and scroll through all the previews, you'll have the files on your local disk.

    2. Thank you but if I turn off and on my laptop files are gone? Can I download them somehow ?

    3. I believe they are store in your temp directory as .cimgz files. You can always copy them somewhere else and put them back as needed.

      I'll talk to the G'MIC team to see if it can be handled differently.

    4. one more time thank you Let us know when they answer.

  10. Wow, never would have thought I'd find a good alternative that doesn't charge ridiculously like Lightroom+VSCO. Thanks for all your amazing hard work! I can't wait to try them out - but GIMP doesn't seem to sense G'MIC (i.e. not showing up under the filter drop-down list). Any ideas?

    1. Sure, but I'd need to know what OS you're running it on, and where you got your GIMP from? I personally use GIMP builds from Partha, because he includes many plugins (including G'MIC) pre-compiled and ready to go:

      Otherwise, if you download G'MIC for GIMP from their page: there are installers. Failing that, the gmic_gimp file should be in your plug-ins folder for GIMP (in GIMP, Edit -> Preferences: Folders -> Plug-Ins will tell you where your GIMP is searching for plug-ins - put G'MIC there).

  11. Thanks for the great script!. Is there a way to use this script as a CLI command so that it can be run as a batch job on multiple images?

    1. You should be able to run G'MIC from the command line I believe. You'll have to download the plain version of G'MIC, (not the GIMP plugin), and unzip it somewhere.

      To find the command you need, run G'MIC in GIMP like normal, and apply a film preset you like. The trick is to have G'MIC output the results on a new layer (the options are on the left of the G'MIC window.

      Once you run it, you'll have a new layer. Look at the layer name. In my example I see this:
      [G'MIC] B&W : -gimp_emulate_film_bw 1,1,1,0,0,1,0,0

      So the command to run this against one image is:

      gmic.exe -input INFILE -gimp_emulate_film_bw 1,1,1,0,0,1,0,0 -output OUTFILE

      The command to run it against multiple images is (using all .jpg as examples):

      gmic.exe -input *.jpg -gimp_emulate_film_bw 1,1,1,0,0,1,0,0 -output out.jpg

      This will save out000000.jpg, out000001.jpg, out000002.jpg, etc...

  12. I tried the commands you suggested but it produces corrupt image files. Any suggestions please?

  13. This is amazing! And by amazing, i mean really, truly, spectacularly amazing. I downloaded this a week ago, and i've been so busy toying around with it that i didn't have the time to come and thank you. Thank you!

    This is something which should be uses to promote the gimp...

    1. Well thanks! :) I'm glad you've gotten some use out of them, and hope I can do other things that you'll find as neat. ;)

  14. hello, it's me (the anonymous from october 18) again. i just would like to say that it would be great if you and the g'mic guys could come up with a solution that would enable the use of these presets offline. as i'm using linux, the presets data is stored in /tmp, but the contents of this folder are deleted every time i shutdown the computer...

    i know that providing the complete data in the g'mic dowload would increase its size... but maybe it would be possible to provide the complete information in a separate file, or maybe offer an option to store the information in a local folder (and not on a system folder). in this case, it would also be useful to be able to (when online) check if there's a newer version.

    anyway, in view of the greatness of these presets, this is just a tiny, weeny, ridiculous complaint... but it's one that has been keeping my computer from resting. it just hibernates :)

    1. I understand what you're asking, and I'll poke the G'MIC team to see if there is something that can be done.

      In the meantime, have you tried moving all of the *.cimgz files from your /tmp folder to somewhere safe, and just creating a symlink to them? Not sure if it will work, but it might be worth a try!

    2. thanks! that would be really great.

      in the meantime, i'll follow your suggestion... i'm having fun downloading all the presets :)

    3. I've got a method for using the presets while offline (by using symlinks):

  15. Hi! I'm trying to use the filters by command line.

    Your previews example works fine but when I try to use the slides filter I get a very strange image.

    I'm using gmic -input _A018859.tiff -gimp_emulate_film_colorslide 12,0,1,0,0,1,1,0

    I grab "-gimp_emulate_film_colorslide 12,0,1,0,0,1,1,0" from gimp console.

    PD: great work!

  16. I am using OS X and it doesn't seem that there are any more G'MIC updates for my operating system. I suppose there's no way for me to get these presets, then, right? :/

    1. There are absolutely updated for OSX (I know because it's my OS at home...).

      Did you check the site?

  17. HEY SIRRR!!! omg i just want to thank youuuu :D i wish i had my own so i would sir saved my life ... ilove them they are so pro ... Good job sir

  18. Hello,

    I would like to create a sort of emulation based on Canon Picture Style.
    How can I do that ?


  19. Thank you so much for this! I learnt about VSCO yesterday on Instagram. I was (and still am) in love with the atmosphere it gives to photos. Was saddened it's not compatible with my Android. So glad I found your post about it! Here's my attempt using Fuji Superia Reala 100

  20. Hey Pat,

    Great work on the presets! I was wondering if you can give a short list of the steps and values you used to get the presets. I would like to mimmic them in Darktable and save them as presets there.


  21. Hey David
    First of all, I would like to thank you for your great work and that you do it on an open source basis. I have gimp 2.8 installed and I also have the newest version of gmic installed. I have to say that may PC is not that fast and it barely runs Windows so I use gimp on a dual boot "Linux Mint". The Linux runs well but when i try to click "OK" in the G'MIC menu it loads for a while and then it gives my this error:
    *** Error in ./gimp_emulate_film_negative_old/_gimp_emulate_film/*if/*if/ *** cimg::load_network_external(): Failed to load file '' with external commands 'wget' or 'curl'.
    I would love to work with your filters but I dont understand this error.Is it th PC ( i think it has an "Intel Atom")is it just to slow?
    or maybe you could help me

    1. You may need a more recent version of G'MIC installed? The error seems to indicate that you don't have wget or curl (though I thought these were included with G'MIC just in case). Try getting a new G'MIC.

  22. Hello
    I have done a little research on why its not working ( I have already written one comment: I have all the modules installed and checked them! I tried on a different Pc and still not working!
    The problem is, that the link provided to download the preset just does not exist. ("")
    The same problem with all other presets!
    Maybe you could contact the "g'mic people" to solve this problem.
    By the way the presets are working (great) on the g'mic website.

    Felix Küper

    1. You should be able to get the files directly from G'MIC in GIMP if you use the plugin.

    2. thats interesting because it seemed like the files where not downloaded
      i will try to look it up
      thank you

  23. I may seem dumb, but I have windows 8 and I cannot download those film emultions...I need help please!