Analog Efex Pro is part of the DxO Nik Collection. It doesn’t just simulate old films and darkroom techniques, though. It also offers unusual and forgotten film camera effects, including double exposures.
Double exposures happen when the film is not wound on before the next picture is taken. Sometimes they are an accident caused by and old and defective camera, but sometimes they can be done on purpose to create a multiple exposure.
The Analog Efex Pro double exposure presets are made to look like accidents. This is the whole spirit of Analog Efex Pro – to recreate the random nature of old film cameras and their unique and charming ‘accidents’.
How the Analog Efex Pro presets work
You can launch Analog Efex Pro as a standalone program, as an external editor for Capture One and other programs, or as a plug-in for Lightroom or Photoshop.
In the left sidebar you’ll see a choice of different ‘Cameras’, and one of these is ‘Double Exposure’. If you select this you’ll see a list of preset double exposure effects in the sidebar. The one I’ve chosen for this walkthrough is ‘Double Exposure 2’.
It’s applied to the image with a single click, but this preset actually uses several Analog Efex Pro tools in combination. These tools and their settings are in the right sidebar. I’ll explain each one individually, how it works and the effect it has on the photo.
1. Basic Adjustments
This panel is standard in just about all Analog Efex Pro presets. You use it to tune the basics: Brightness, Contrast and Saturation. The Detail Extraction slider at the top is interesting, though. This combines a kind of HDR and structure effect to bring out details in the shadows and make objects stand out clearly. At the bottom you’ll see and expandable Control Points section. You can use Control Points to mask the effect in parts of the image you want left unaltered.
It’s not strictly the same thing, but Analog Efex Pro uses ‘bokeh’ to describe its controlled blur/defocus effects. You can create a circular blur towards the edges of the picture, which is what’s used here, or a horizontal blur to create a tilt-shift ‘miniature’ effect.
You’ll see from the panel, though, that the Blur Strength is set to zero. That’s because the filter is enabled for this preset but not used. All the Double Exposure presets use this set of filters, but that’s not to say they use all of them.
If you look at the bottom of the sidebar you’ll see a Vary button. This rolls the dice randomly on this set of filters, so it’s a great way to see countless variations and without getting exactly the same one twice.
3. Double Exposure
The Double Exposure panel is the key to this set of effects. It effectively copies the main image, distorts it and blends it back in with the original. You can use the on-screen gadget to position the second exposure, adjust its Exposure and its Exposure Balance with the original, and its Zoom Strength and Rotate Strength.
This image gets its ethereal effect from the second exposure, its position and its blurring/blending effect. It looks a little like a light leak but different at the same time. This preset does also use a light leak effect…
4. Light Leaks
Light leak effects are very popular for creating an atmospheric analog image with an evocative haziness or a deliberate ‘leaky camera’ look, where light has got in at the back and fogged the film.
You can see from the Light Leaks panel that there are a lot to choose from. You can change the Strength setting and also move the light leak effect around the image using an on-screen gadget.
This one is pretty subtle and barely noticeable on its own, but it does add to the atmosphere and effect of the preset as a whole.
5. Lens Vignette
Lens vignettes are a powerful tool for recreating the look of old lenses and for concentrating attention on the center of the frame. This one is a bit too strong on its own, but works well as part of the overall preset.
You use a negative or positive Amount setting to darken or lighten the corners of the image, and the effect can either be round (like a lens vignette) or square (more of a framing effect). This tool has a control gadget too, so the vignette’s origin can be moved around the picture – it doesn’t have to be in the center.
6. Film Type
Analog Efex Pro does not attempt to mimic classic analog films in the way that Silver Efex Pro or DxO Filmpack do, for example. Instead, it offers a series of subtly different film ‘styles’ which offer variations on colour shifts, contrast and black and white toning effects.
The thumbnails in the panel give an indication of the color/tone gradient from black to white. You can think of these Film Types as somewhere between a LUT and a split toning effect.
How to do this in other software
Here’s the finished picture with the preset applied and all the filters re-enabled so that you can see them working together. It’s an indication of he power of Analog Efex Pro that this preset only uses a subset of its full range of filters. It also showcases one of Analog Efex Pros’s unique ‘looks’, of a type you don’t find in other software.
The only way to get this double-exposure effect normally would be to switch to a regular photo editor with layers support, though there are a couple of other programs which offer similarly varied retro/analog looks (but without the double exposures).
Everything else – the bokeh blur, light leaks, vignettes, film styles – can be done in other analog effects tools, and there are some examples below.
Best software for analog film effects
- Analog Efex Pro: The obvious candidate since that’s the subject of this tutorial
- Exposure X: Excellent analog effects, with bokeh, borders, light leaks and more
- ON1 Effects: All the ON1 effects, but as a standalone program or a Lightroom/Photoshop plug-in for those who don’t to swap to the full ON1 Photo RAW workflow
- CameraBag Pro: A simple standalone effects tool with some excellent presets – and which turns out to be rather deep when you spend more time with it
- Silver Efex Pro: Still the king of black and white effects tools and part of the DxO Nik Collection (like Analog Efex Pro)
- DxO FilmPack: Great for film historians and the technically minded, but quite expensive and lacks local adjustment tools
- How to customise Analog Efex Pro presets
- Nik Collection presets: Even on a Cloudy Day (Color Efex Pro)
- Preset picks: Exposure X Border – Negative (Kodalith)
- Preset picks: Capture One ‘Seasonal’ SN-04
- How to install Lightroom presets and profiles
- Get free Lightroom presets, profiles and LUTs from ON1 Software
DxO software downloads and pricing*
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DxO ViewPoint 4: regular price $99/£89
DxO FilmPack 6 Elite: regular price $139/£129
DxO PureRAW 3: regular price $129/£115
DxO Nik Collection 5: regular price $149/£135
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