Tutorial for Wavelet Decompose Plug-in for Gimp
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What is Wavelet Decompose Plug-in for Gimp?
Gimp's Wavelet Decompose Plug-in (find links for it at the bottom of this page) is a plug-in that allows you to alter a photo's detail by splitting it into layers of varying scales of detail plus a residual layer.This is ideal for skin retouching where you might want to remove or reduce the strength of certain details, for example freckles, wrinkles or pores, without causing that 'mannequin look' you see on many touched up photos.
This video tutorial teaches you how to use the Wavelet Decompose plug-in for Gimp with the use of screen shots, text explanations and video tutorials.
I have written a few other photography articles, you'll find the links to them at the bottom of this tutorial. Also, feel free to leave any comments at the bottom of the page in the comments section.
What is Gimp?
Gimp is the awesome and free, that's right free, photo editing software that is used by millions of people worldwide. It is as good as Photoshop and did I mention that it's free? You can download Gimp from Gimp.org. There are lots of books out there that teach you how to use Gimp, I have included an Amazon link and an Ebay link to such books for anyone who might be interested in learning learning more about Gimp.
The Book of Gimp from Amazon.com
This book has an average customer review of 4.8 stars out of 5
More scales Vs less scales
It is far better to work with more scales. I like to decompose photos into at least 10 scales. This usually ensures that the details I want to work on are going to be in at least one of the scales layers. If any of the detail I want to work on appears in the residual layer then I just keep adding scales until none of it appears in the residual layer. See photos below for an image of a residual layer.
The residual layer basically contains all the detail that hasn't been isolated because it would be in a higher scale than you allowed. eg. if you only decomposed your image into 5 scales and the detail you want to isolate would be in a higher scale then it will appear in the residual layer.
I never work on the residual layer simply because there are too many colours to work with and if you don't pick the right colour to use on the area you're working on, you could end up with a very unnatural look - the very thing you're trying to avoid. I don't have the time nor the patience to keep picking and switching colours on the residual layer, so I just make sure I decompose my image into enough layers of scales in the first place.
If you scroll down the page far enough you'll be able to see some before and after shots of photos that I've worked on with different numbers of scales just to show you what I mean.
Freckles: Before and After Wavelet Decompose
With the following photo I wanted to reduce the darkness of the freckles, so I split the image into 10 scales and worked on the scales where the freckles are the detail that stand-out the most. In this case it was scales 6 and 7. In scales 5 and 8 other details were too obvious and it would have been too hard to eliminate the freckles without affecting the detail I didn't want to remove.
I removed the freckles by simply painting over them with a fuzzy paint brush of a neutral grey colour. I chose a grey colour on each scale I worked on with the colour picker tool. On the higher scales, colour starts to appear, always pick a colour that is going to blend in with areas around the detail(s) you're removing for a more natural look.
Before and after Wavelet Decompose Plug-in for Gimp - freckles
Wrinkles and make-up
For the following photo I wanted to decrease the strength of the wrinkles and make-up, especially around the eyes and mouth for the wrinkles and cheeks for the make-up. I divided the picture into 10 scales and worked on scales 4, 5 and 6 and left the others untouched. It was just a matter of picking a colour close to the areas I was retouching, so that the result looked natural. If the colour doesn't seem to blend in, keep trying until you pick a colour that matches. Large areas required a large brush and on the smaller areas I reduced the size of my brush. I avoided the areas I didn't want to retouch.
I removed some of the shine on the nose and cheeks too.
Scroll down to see images of the scales before I touched them up.
Before and after Wavelet Decompose Plug-in for Gimp - wrinkles
Wavelet Decompose - Birthmarks and age spots - before and after
Wavelet Decompose plug-in for Gimp - Spots and marks
With the following photo I wanted to remove the birthmarks and age spots. Again I split the picture into 10 scales and with this one I worked on scales 5 to 9. I really like the end result for this one, I think it's the most natural-looking one.
I have included pictures of the scales before and after I worked on them.
Gimp Wavelet Decompose Before and After - Birthmarks and age spots
10 scales Vs 5 scales
Decomposed into 5 layers of scales (before and after) plus residual layer
Wavelet Decompose video tutorial
Read my other Gimp tutorials
- Gimp Tutorial - How To Remove Red Eyes In Photos.
A very easy to follow tutorial for removing red eyes in photos using the free Gimp photo editing software.
- Gimp Tutorial - Selective De-saturation - black and white photos with colored areas.
Learn how to perform selective desaturation of a photo with Gimp image editing software to create black and white photos with some colored areas.