Tsc Tempest 5:20am, 21 January 2009
With all the work going on and such I thought this might be an interesting topic for discussion, debate, [and/or dissent.]

After my own small forays into trying to develop presets for particular looks or regular processes, e.g. wb+exposure+crop, which is useful for processing virtual copies to the same point or resetting a preset+tweaks back to the same starting point; great for those comparing presets before and after type activities ;-) I've got to thinking, "well? how does everybodey else do it?"

Some of you are developing presets to emulate film types, some are trying to emulate the look of a particular photographic style, ande others are trying to develop creative workflow processes. Each one is essentially different and require different approaches.

So with this in mind I invite you to describe how you do or would go about developing a preset. e.g. the look of velvia, the dramatic quality of an Adams landscape, the subtle tones of an Abbott protrait, rhyme and rationale behind a particular workflow process...

Anyone care to share?
abbyladybug PRO 9 years ago
When I spend a really long time on a photo and have created a really unique look, I always save it as a preset. A bunch of mine are in the 180+ collection, and they all began because I spent a long time going for a certain look with one specific picture.

I often am going for a look that I've seen in a photo I found on Flickr. My most unusual is probably the "Amelie" one I made when I was watching that movie with my parents.

I've loved editing for years, and this is the natural way to save some steps when I come to something new. I have a set of options available to me instantly as a starting point. Lightroom makes it super-easy.
GrayImaging 9 years ago
For my film emulations, the process is rather time-consuming, but realtively easy. I have some tools and tricks I utilize, but they are not needed to get a good result, only when pushing it to a real as plausible.

So to duplicate Velvia, the first think I would do is finds some neutral lighting and take a series of frames with my film SLR and my DSLR. II start with a macbeth color checker card filling the entire frame, shoot it 3 times each with the film and the digital [redundancy to ensure quality], then I choose other subjects in varying light and shoot them with both cameras. Both are shot with 50mm lenses, and framed as similarly as possible, using identical manual settings at the rated ISO for the film. If the ISO is not native to my DSLR, I use exposure compensation to approximate the correct ISO.

Once the film is processed I scan in the slides. I get this done by a friend a a print shop with a color controlled drum scanner. Once files are ready I bring the tiffs into Lightroom, and bring in the RAW files from my DSLR.

Then it gets boring, as I attempt to duplicate the hue, saturation, and luminance to make the color checker shot match from the Velvia scan to the RAW file. Then I print out a 4x6 of each as a proof, and repeat the process until it looks almost identical. I then save the working preset.

Next I work through the other images of simalar subjects, making sure tonality, shadows and the like are similar. I make small tweaks to the preset at this stage to get closer to the final preset. Finally I apply the preset to a folder of test images to make sure that I get consistant results, making minor adjustments to fix nagging problems. If they cannot be fixed easily, I make notes of the issue for my next revision down the road and document where I had issue in my readme.txt files.

After the final base preset is made, I duplicate it to make my Auto-adjust and Curve-only presets for the release. Then a hop into Photoshop to convert my Lightroom presets to ACR.

If the film is ot available for me to shoot, I see if any of my Photoshop plug-ins offer the film stock conversion, apply it to a raw color checker image and then repeat the process above, omitting the film. If I cannot find any source of the film, then I work from samples off the web and any hard copies I can get ahold of and attempt to duplicate the effect, with a much lesser degree of accuracy than the above method.

I have other tools I will use along the way, but anyone can replicate the basic process and complicate it the way they choose.

If I am doing a "Style" preset [anything not film simulation] I do like everyone else and try to duplicate a look from a sample photo, and save the adjusted image settings from my image once I get a certain degree of simulation.

I really should do a blog post about my development methods. I think I shall do it some day, but after I finish my inital set of film presets.

xequals 9 years ago
Good stuff ... !

For a peek into how Mike migrates to an ACR:


|Brandon Oelling
Sean McCormack 9 years ago
My story begins with the Beta.
I discovered that the preset files (agtemplates at the time) were simply text files and I would play with them directly by manually entering values. Thanks to a tip off from Martin Evening, I started creating Cross Process presets and simply shared them as text files on the Beta forums.
Not long after that Richard Earney offered to start hosting presets, and became the first site offering free presets at inside-lightroom.com

I've a whole bunch of free presets that don't seem to see much coverage, so I've started putting the free ones on Adobe Exchange.

The best way to go about creating a preset is to have a goal in mind. For me it was to get that XP look, then a grungy look. I also wanted nice B&W's etc. Once you've a goal, the work becomes easier.
Tsc Tempest 9 years ago
Hey Michael that's very dedicated AND intense, especially with the colour checker, all kudos, mate!

When I was trying to do an HIE preset, I cast around looking for sample images, as I've never shot the stuff, to see what range of images were produced by it.

My starting point for the digital images [from this to that...] were digital IR images - as jpg's. I would then look at what I had and what I was trying to achieve and then intuitively tweak the sliders to see how close I could get it. Invariably, what worked on one image didn't always work on similar images. So I had to rethink the process.

This involved trying to understand what was actually happening when the film was shot: Capture - Film Development Process - Print Development Process; which forced me to consider what was happening when I did a digital capture: Lighting conditions - IR filter characteristics - sensor response - jpg compression/noise - B&W conversion.

I realised after all this that for my presets to be a useful tool to me I needed to have a clear understanding, as Sean says, of what I want to achieve with them, e.g. a preset for high contrast, one for low contrast, one for urban cityscape, one for rural landscape, one for indoor portraits, and one for outdoor portraits.
xequals Posted 9 years ago. Edited by xequals (member) 9 years ago
We took a look at a different approach to thinking about presets in 2008, and in turn documented the birth of what became one of our most popular presets of 2008:



Let me know your thoughts ...

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