Of course I started shooting a lot of photo’s (and made a dedicated instagram account) in black and white, but I also saw some color photo’s online and started to look into that. In essence the process is really simple: take 3 photo’s through a red, green and blue filter and combine them in Photoshop or in Gimp to reproduce the colors.
You can manually hold the filters in front of the lens, but I found that a bit fiddly and it was hard to keep the non-filtered light out so I decided to design a filter holder that would fit on the camera. I made it available on Thingiverse for your printing pleasure.
The result of my efforts can be seen on my dedicated Game Boy Photo instagram account @GameBoyCameraManiac
So here is the how to:
Step 1. Take the photos.
First take a photo using the red filter, then the green and then the blue. I always stick to this order because it’s hard to identify the photos later if you don’t. Just wait for the camera to adjust exposure and take the photo. The challenge is to not move the camera between shots. It’s hard since the head can turn and might have some play.
If you don’t have the right equipment yet, you can download my sample set of photos here.
Step 2. Import your photo’s to your PC or Mac
Step 3. Open the files in Gimp
Gimp is a free, open source photo editing program which works very well for this. Photoshop will also work of course, but since Gimp is free I’ll use that in this how to. Again, if step 1 or 2 are not possible for you at the moment, you can download my sample set of photos here.
Step 4. Make sure the images are in grayscale
In my case the images look grayscale, but internally use an RGB palette. For the next step the image mode needs to be grayscale. Check, and if necessary convert your photo’s in Gimp using Image -> Mode -> Grayscale.
Step 5. Magic!
Now, while one of your photo’s open, click Color – > Components -> Compose. This is where the order of the photo’s becomes important. Make sure it says RGB in Color Model, and select the right photo for each channel from the dropdowns and hit OK. This is where the three photo’s are combined into one, and a beautiful Color GameBoy photo appears.
The process isn’t flawless and results vary a lot. I think for outside photo’s you might need to add an IR and/or UV filter. I have had very little success with outside photo’s until now. In LED lighting I got the best results.
Keep the camera still. If you don’t you get all kinds of colored edges. The filter holders I designed don’t need to be pressed on the lens. Just ‘hang’ them on.
Let the camera adjust it’s brightness by itself. For the filters I used the red let a lot more light through than the blue one. When I tried with fixed brightness (you can do that by using panorama mode which fixes the brightness to the brightness of the first shot) I got very poor results.