Software Ever wonder what goes into creating a film "filter" presets in software? Interesting article at Wired


Code Monkey 🐒
An interesting article over at Wired about how the team at VSCO go about creating their film filters for their apps.
It's a short article but something that I had not really thought about before and, after reading that, I'm not sure if I would've correctly guessed their process for creating the filters. In hindsight it makes sense as they'd need physical source references but I would've assumed that it was more of a digital process involving a color calibrated monitor and going backwards.
That was interesting and it explains at least why VSCO charges high prices for their film simulations. However, I hardly ever use film simulations and when I do, I often return to the original colors of the digital image processed as faithfully as reasonably possible because that's how images are made these days. Just my personal take on it of course. I don't object to messing about with colors but it's just not my way of working; I sometimes drag some sliders in Lightroom or Photoshop to adjust to taste but that's about it.

I remember from my B&W days that I had serious trouble to adapt to my proudly acquired Durst M605 Color enlarger: the B&W pictures just wouldn't come out as I wanted and had grown accustomed to from my father's home-built enlarger which had a single condenser. In despair I bought the B&W head to replace the color head and was instantly happy again. The interaction of the grains of silver-halide B&W negatives with diffused light of the color head vs. the more directed light from the B&W single condenser head made the difference between dull and sparkling prints. So I can imagine that it takes quite some research to simulate a film look in a digital image. These days I always pull up clarity to 17 % in Lightroom during a B&W conversion to add some sparkle. I appreciate that a good film simulation can be daunting to produce, and of course we're missing out on the classic enlarging part as well by scanning a slide or negative.
I wonder if they would like the Kodachrome in my fridge. ASA 16, type A Kodachrome, K-11 process. Went out of date in the 1950s.

Part of my first job was scanning film and converting the values to radiometrically calibrated spectral images. In 1979 scanners filled a room.


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As I have probably mentioned a couple of times already, VSCO filters were one of the reason I lusted after a Lightroom based post-processing setup back in the day. The filters look so good! Since then they dropped the LR plugins altogether and I never got myself to buy a Windows or Mac workstation just for some raw development so that's that.

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