I like film presets and use them frequently. After all, lab technicians spent hundreds of thousands of man hours figuring out how to make an image look good with different film. So it seems a terrible waste to discard all that expertise away with our move to digital cameras. Besides, most of my favourite pictures were shot by photographers using film, so they definitely have a valuable aesthetic to them.
In previous articles, I shared that I used Alien Skin Exposure in my post-processing for tuning colours and aesthetic. However in the past six months I have been using something else – the All Films V.3.0 pack by Really Nice Images.
The RNI presets only work with Adobe Lightroom and ACR. So we are back into the Adobe ecosystem, which may be a turn-off to some people. Unfortunately, most of the best preset systems on the market cater almost exclusively to Adobe’s software, so this is an inconvenience we have to bear for now. Bear in mind that you may have to bid farewell to RNI should you make the decision to move away from Adobe’s ecosystem.
As for the product itself, the RNI All Films preset pack works very well. You get a ton of film presets – much more than what Alien Skin Exposure offers. RNI is able to colour and tone images without causing small loss in details – as ASE tends to do. ASE on the other hand produces more authentic film grain and offers more control over traits of analogue film such as light leaks/streaks, flare simulation, vignette control, blurring, etc. From my experience among photography forums, ASE is praised for producing the most authentic film look with some of their presets. However my sole purpose of using presets is colour tuning instead of analogue aesthetics, so RNI’s quantity and ability to preserve details won me over. I have since switched my post-processing colour-tuning tool from ASE to RNI.
90% of the images posted here from 2016 onwards are processed with RNI. Here are a couple of examples.
RNI and Adobe Lightroom are keepers to me for now. Until Adobe pushes me over the edge with their CC agenda! By that time I hope budding competition such as On1 and Affinity finally catches up sufficiently with Adobe’s photography offerings and the preset companies start making products for them. (PhaseOne CaptureOne is out of my budget range.) As of now, it looks like I will be sticking with Adobe and standalone Lightroom for at least another three years.
Back to Seoul 2016 in my next post – WY