I’ve spent hours in Photoshop tweaking colour settings and black and white conversions options on a shot, often abandoning the process as a different idea for the final ‘look’ suggests itself. What I wanted was software which would present a gallery of post processing ideas which would get me to the best result quickly – but couldn’t find any.
I tried a trial copy of DXO Filmpack last year and realised that it gave me something close to what I’d wanted – though its not it’s main purpose! This is a mini test of some of the DXO Filmpack options.
A screenshot is shown above – the film types along the bottom and some editing tools on the right with the current simulation displayed in the centre. The tabs above the filmstrip allow the different film simulations to be selected.
So with a straight shot from a Canon 60D with ‘neutral’ colour profile chosen on the RAW conversion, lets have a look at some of the B/W and cross processing options. All are untweaked and the default result of the film simulator. The subject is the mill used in the Adox CMS20 mini test on a clear winter’s morning.
This next shot is the cross processed Kodak Elite 100 simulation – a dramatic difference but the saturation needs taking down a bit.
This is cross processed Fuji Superia 200 – as with the other cross processed shots, a little less blue is needed but otherwise not bad.
Now things get interesting – B/W simulations. This is Rollei Retro 80s, a film I didn’t get on with as it was much too contrasty. This is reflected in the simulation but it’s more useable as an image than my attempts with the film.
This one is Rollei Ortho 25 – a good simulation of high contrast treatment.
Finally Rollei IR 400. Not a real IR effect but quite close, and for this one the added grain was removed. A general criticism of DXO Filmpack is that it adds too much grain for higher speed films by default. Rollei IR film isn’t that grainy at all!
Shooting film is still my preferred option, but if film isn’t for you, the question is – is DXO Filmpack a good film simulator? Well if you put in quite a bit of effort the results can be excellent, but the defaults are a bit strong, and the added grain can be excessive – especially for higher speed films. All of these things can be altered in the editor panel.
As a quick evaluation tool for different processing options though, it’s brilliant! Even if I can’t get exactly the result in DXO I can go into Photoshop and know what look I want to create immediately.
I’ll do a post on the colour film and creative presets soon.
I’m not associated with DXO in any way by the way – I just use this software!
If anyone would like to see what their favourite film looks like ‘simulated’ let me know and I’ll add it to the post.
Thanks for looking.
p.s. it works just as well on film scans!