REVIEW // RNI Films 4 PRO

For a long while, I've been an avid user of film emulation presets. So far I've only ever used VSCO's range of film packs, and as amazing as they are, it's always good to see what else is out there, so I jumped at the chance to try out Really Nice Images' Films 4 PRO pack. It's been recently updated from version 3 and provides a whopping 64 base film emulations along with a vast array of variations to taylor the look of your images.

They add a tonality and texture to photographs that would be difficult to achieve manually, as there is more than just slider pushing going on. I wouldn't be at home without my Kodak Portra emulation from VSCO, for example. Just like RNI Films' version, it adds a soft portrait friendly tone and grain structure to images that is night and day compared to a standard SOOC JPEG (or Straight Out Of Lightroom in my case).

Film Pack & SOOC Comparisons

While I've only provided the comparisons for two popular film emulations, Kodak Portra 400 and Tri-X 400, I thought it would be good to see these two popular films compared to VSCO and also the difference against a standard JPEG with no settings changed.

Below this set of slideshows, you'll find a single image processed with a variety of different RNI Films 4 PRO emulations in particular to show just how varied the gamut of options is.

Running through the gamut...

I don't want to post all 64 different film emulation presets as that would take down the internet, but suffice it to say that there's plenty where this came from.

I chose this particular image because it was bright and included a range of textures and all three primary colours, blue, green and red as well as grayscale tones and high contrast lighting. This will give you an idea of what is available to choose from.

While I would never use it in a regular fashion, RNI's attempt at Technicolor is fantastic and I love it!

Fujifilm X100T + RNI Kodak Portra 160 Samples

Photographer and fellow member of the club, Morgan Roberts, also supplied these two images for before and after comparison using the Kodak Portra 160 preset in RNI Films 4 PRO.

Leica Q + RNI 

Images by Simon Johnsion before and after comparison using the Fuji Natura 1600 HC preset in RNI Films 4 PRO.

Ricoh GR (1) + RNI

Before and after comparison using various presets from RNI Films 4 PRO. Images by Simon Johnson

Conclusion

While I tend to err on the side of subtlety, typically going with a professional modern film emulation like Kodak Portra, I love the way RNI Films (and VSCO in their own way) make my images look more full of life and memory. The price can be a limiting factor, but RNI also has a Lite version of their Films pack for those just looking for a subset of films to choose from.

You can find more about Really Nice Images and their Films packs at their website.

COMPARISON // Film Emulation Is A Good Thing

There's something that strikes me every time I view a photograph I take without having applied any sort of preset, and that is just how bland the colour and tonal range is in those photos in comparison to my usual processing.

You get used to seeing through a VSCO coloured lens and forget how different it makes your photographs feel. So I thought I'd show a few photos before and after applying my favourite colour preset based on Fujicolor 800Z film.

It does something absolutely magical to the colours and tonal range in my opinion. It brings skin tones to life, smooths out highlights and shadows while still adding punch to the contrast. It can make a "snapshot" feel like a wonderful moment in time.

There was always something about film and I feel like digital cameras, while very accurate at reproducing what they're seeing, have no life in their default JPEG conversions (or the default settings in raw photo development).

That's why I love using these kinds of film emulation presets.

SHARPENING X-TRANS FILES IN ADOBE LIGHTROOM BY PETE BRIDGWOOD

We posted Mark Soon's great article a couple of weeks back regarding Adobe Lightroom's limitations when dealing with Fujifilms X-trans sensor files. Here Peter Bridgewood runs you through his X-trans imaging process when using Lightroom, enjoy.
image Simon Johnson iPhone 5

image Simon Johnson iPhone 5

Sharpening is one of the most taxing aspects of the digital process and consequently many photographers prefer to stick to safe and secure ways, either using presets, plug-ins, exporting to Photoshop or ultimately using JPEGs straight from camera. The X-Trans sensor produces wonderful JPEGs, and all the usual advice about always shooting in Raw doesn’t necessarily hold true anymore. There are now many professional photographers who happily shoot JPEG using X-Series cameras all the time and have no complaints.

JPEGs are very convenient, but for a landscape photographer like me, interested in the creative process and using post-processing as part of the digital alchemy, Raw files are so much more versatile. Sharpening Raw files from the X-Trans processor can be challenging for those of us who have grown familiar with more traditional Bayer array sensors; they demand a different approach and even experienced photographers will find there is a learning curve.

The sharpening controls in Adobe Lightroom have evolved to a degree of simplicity and perfection that eclipses much of the competition, including Photoshop. There were some initial teething troubles when sharpening X-trans files using earlier iterations of Lightroom; ‘waxing’ is one of the terms used to describe what can happen in images with high detail frequency (for example scenes with lots of fine detailed foliage). However, Adobe and Fujifilm have been working closely together to perfect the algorithms working behind the scenes. At the time of writing, I’m using Lightroom 5.6 to sharpen all my Fuji RAF files and creating exhibition prints up to A1 size without any significant problems.

This guide offers an introduction to perfect sharpening for Fujifilm X-Trans Raw files (.RAF files) in Lightroom 5

The processing of any digital image requires two essential and distinct types of sharpening: output sharpening and capture sharpening. Output sharpening is the final step in preparing an image for printing or display on screen. Because output sharpening always depends on known variables like printer model, paper type, and degree of enlargement, it is best performed automatically. In Lightroom, output sharpening is applied in the print module or for images intended for display on-screen it is applied on export. This guide relates only to sharpening that requires our human judgment, capture sharpening.

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Source (http://petebridgwood.com/)

Software Preview // VSCOFilm 5

Ok... not so sure about this pack. The idea is lovely... the archetypes, the classics. Your mums Pentax Automatic with the shitty little flash, my dads Olympus XE1 (that I still have) with underexposed Kodak 200.

The romance is there. I don't know how viable it is, or how close it already sits to many other presets in the series so far, so here's the plan -  use this pack for a week on personal work and then present a review. Until then, here are some photos of Harry that I've done recently. Enjoy!

Kodak BW400CN

Kodak BW400CN

Kodak Gold 100

Kodak Gold 100

Agfa Vista 800-

Agfa Vista 800-

Kodak Gold 100+ Alt

Kodak Gold 100+ Alt

Fuji Neopan 400

Fuji Neopan 400

Kodak Royal Gold 400+++

Kodak Royal Gold 400+++

Kodak UltraMax 400 --

Kodak UltraMax 400 --

Kodak UltraMax 800 +++

Kodak UltraMax 800 +++

Software Review // Alien Skin Exposure 5 by Zach Sutton

https://app.alienskin.com

https://app.alienskin.com

FStoppers just published a review on one of the better  software packages on the market. Exposure 5 is Alien Skin's latest incarnation of their popular Film Emulation Software. Zach Sutton leads us down the garden path of discovery in this rather enlightening post.

I have been playing around with it myself for the last couple of hours, great interface

About a year ago, Lee Morris stated that Alien Skin Exposure 4 was his favorite photo enhancement plugin for Photoshop. Claiming that all of its film presets makes it stand out above the rest, and the clear winner in the plugin world. Just a few weeks or so ago, Alien Skin released the latest installment, Exposure 5. But is it still the champion and must have plugin that Exposure 4 was?

Let me start by saying I won this software in a recent photo submission contest held by Peter Nguyen, a long time Exposure fan and a bit of an unofficial spokesperson for the software. If I had known that the software was available, I wouldn’t have needed to enter into the contest, as I probably would have purchased it outright, since I have always loved Exposure 4.

I know plugins get a lot of hate. I’m largely with you, the hard way is always the best way when it comes to editing photos. I’ve always been a longtime outspoken curves fan, claiming that 95% of my editing is done through curves and layer masks. However, Plugins give me something that curves simply cannot do with ease. It gives me creative ideas.

I’m a warm tone person, through and through. Going through my portfolio seems like a trip to summer, and even when I’m shooting in blizzards, I still manage to find a way to use warm tones over cold ones. Its not because I’m completely obsessed with warm tones, its just all I’ve ever done. Exposure 4 / 5 opened me up to the other half of the color pallette, something I wouldn’t have done on my own. Plugins are a great way to experiment, and push your creative inspiration to new heights.

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Alien Skin Exposure 5 

Source (http://fstoppers.com)