Reconnecting with film

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
DrBormental
DrBormental Regular Member • Posts: 283
Try this
7

Adrian,

Absolutely, Affinity Photo can be used for manual inversions. It's a bit slower process than using plug-ins but you've got everything you need.

You didn't describe your inversion process, so let me briefly share mine to see if it helps:

  • I start with digitizing with a camera, which produces a RAW image
  • Set the white balance to film rebate in the RAW converter and export as a linear 16-bit TIFF.
  • Open the TIFF in Affinity Photo and invert.
  • Create +50% saturation layer. Having extreme saturation helps seeing color casts clearly when doing adjustments. You'll kill it later.
  • Open the curves tool and clip the black point one channel at a time. All three channels will actually be around the same spot because you used the film rebate for white balance sampling in the RAW converter above.
  • Now clip the white point. It will be different for each of R/G/B channels but aim to have somewhat equal distance between them. Important: leave about 10% of space "on the right" for each.
  • Close the curves tool
  • Open the levels tool and adjust the gamma to -15 for red and +15 for blue. Do not touch the green. The exact adjustment numbers here depend on your taste, but ±15 is a good starting point. You need this because gamma for each layer on film is different.
  • Finally, adjust the overall gamma for more contrast
  • Open the levels tool again and now you can finally clip the white point all the way (remember, you had 10% on the right? that's to provide room for gamma adjustments without clipping). Do this via RGB, not using individual channels!
  • (optional) you can play with the color balance tool adjusting shadows/highlights to taste. another option is to flatten the image and hit "auto-color" or "auto-levels" and see what happens.
  • Finally, reduce saturation from 50% to something more likeable.

I do not shoot much Portra, but here's Kodak Ektar inverted manually this way. Also, this is much easier to do if you shoot a color target with some skin color for every emulsion, then you'll memorize all the adjustments. Here's Fuji 400H Pro manually inverted this way, for example. Having grey patches helps to see gamma misalignment.

Hope this helps!

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