During World War II there was a shortage of rubber, and an effort was put forth to create synthetic rubber. There were many ideas and experiments to create rubber in the lab, most of which failed. One of those failures was a silicone-based elastic substance that could bounce, float in water, and lift print off of newspaper. This substance was created by mistake while trying to invent something else. It was a twist of fate. It was a happy accident. It was Silly Putty.
Recently I was experimenting with the JPEG settings on a Fujifilm X-T20, trying to replicate the look of some different films. I’ve been working on four different film simulation settings for several months, only hitting dead ends. I haven’t been able to achieve the desired results, but I did stumble across an interesting look. Like the discovery of Silly Putty, I made a happy accident! Even though I used an X-T20 for this recipe, you could apply these settings to any X-Trans III camera and get the same exact results.
This look doesn’t quite resemble any specific film that I’m aware of. I think it produces an analog film aesthetic, even though I couldn’t tell you which one. There are a couple of films that I can see maybe some resemblance, but overall it’s not an exact match. Actually, what it reminded me of is a group of four Alien Skin Exposure presets under the “Color Films – Aged” tab called Color Photo. These presets are similar to each other but each one has a slightly varied look. My new film simulation, which I’ve named Aged Color, produces a look that resembles those Exposure presets, although I will admit that it’s more of general aesthetic than a carbon copy. It’s just what I think it most closely resembles, by coincidence.
Below are three pictures of mine that were edited with those Alien Skin Exposure Color Photo presets:
While Alien Skin Exposure gives you four preset options for this look, and each of those can be heavily customized, I only have one Aged Color recipe, but you are more than welcome to tweak it to your liking. I find that it produces muted yet lovely colors and slightly faded shadows. If the scene doesn’t have a lot of contrast the images can come out a little flat. The skin tones in the pictures below show a lot of red, but some of that can be attributed to cold temperatures, and I think that under normal conditions skin will look a little more natural. This film simulation recipe is an interesting option to achieve a look that is perhaps unexpected from a digital camera and looks a bit more film-like. I doubt that it’s everyone’s cup of tea, but I think some of you will really appreciate it.
PRO Neg. Std
Dynamic Range: DR400
Noise Reduction: -3
Grain Effect: Strong
White Balance: Auto, +5 Red & -3 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 (typically)
Example photos, all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured on a Fujifilm X-T20 using my Aged Color Film Simulation recipe: