Open AI’s ChatGPT can make Film Simulation Recipes for Fujifilm cameras. But are they any good? Should you use them? Should you ask ChatGPT to make you a custom Recipe for your camera? What can you expect from these Recipes?
Back on June 2nd, Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry and myself chatted about using ChatGPT to make Film Simulation Recipes for Fujifilm cameras. We even asked the AI to create one for us live during our SOOC Live broadcast. If you’ve ever been even remotely curious about this topic, it’s worth watching—I’ve included it below.
There’s so much that could and should be said, and we covered much of that in the broadcast. If you haven’t yet watched the video, be sure to do so!
One issue about using AI to create Film Simulation Recipes is that ChatGPT only examines descriptions. For example, how does it “know” what Kodachrome film looks like? It has been trained on people’s descriptions of the emulsion. Whether or not those descriptions are accurate (or if Open AI received permission to use those descriptions) is anyone’s guess. How does it “know” what the Astia film simulation looks like? It has been trained on someone’s description of the setting. When you ask it to make a Film Simulation Recipe, it simply searches its database for descriptions that seem to match, and then spits out some settings that may or may not make sense.
How does ChatGPT even know what a Film Simulation Recipe is? It’s been trained on Fuji X Weekly and other websites (without permission or citation). There are some significant ethical considerations, and probably some legal ones, too, that will hopefully get hashed out in time.
Another issue is that it rarely ever gives a complete Recipe. You have to know which parameters are required, spot the missing ones, and ask ChatGPT to provide them to you. Occasionally it will give you some setting that doesn’t actually exist. You have to be well versed in Fujifilm camera settings to know if you’ve actually got a complete Recipe; otherwise, you’re likely to have a few that are missing.
Aside from that, if you ask ChatGPT to make a particular Film Simulation Recipe more than once, each time you’ll get a different answer. Even with identical prompts, the answer will be different, sometimes wildly so. It all seems very random. If a particular ChatGPT Recipe is any good is more by chance than anything else. You’re just as likely to get a good Recipe from rolling dice.
This is the case because Open AI’s ChatGPT is a bit of a card trick. It’s very impressive until you spot the slight-of-hand. It will always give you a response; if you are a novice on the topic, the answer will likely be better than you could have come up with on your own, but if you are an expert, it will always be worse, perhaps much worse. Despite “learning” from human input, there’s no humanity in the answer—if you want authenticity and creativity, you need a person’s experience to be at the core. The software can do its best to take from others and spit out a Recipe, but it will always be untested, based on descriptions, without any personal experience behind it.
That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to try. I’ve used ChatGPT a bunch of times just to see what it comes up with and to understand what exactly it’s doing. The Kodak Ektachrome E100VS v1 and Urban Dreams Recipes are from ChatGPT. For every AI Recipe that’s good there’s probably five or more that aren’t any good. Actually, the majority are mediocre—neither terrible nor great—because ChatGPT doesn’t stray very far from the default settings, rarely ever going beyond +/- 2 on anything.
I made a video about the Kodak Ektachrome E100VS Recipe, which you’ll find below. I asked AI to make a Film Simulation Recipe that mimics Kodachrome X. What it came up with by chance looked pretty good, but didn’t much resemble the second era of Kodachrome. Take a look, if you haven’t yet seen it.
What about the Vivid Summer Glow and Soft Blue Classic Film Simulation Recipes I referenced in two of the pictures above? Those were also made by ChatGPT. Vivid Summer Glow was created live during the last SOOC Live broadcast. Soft Blue Classic was created for Nathalie during preparations for the show. In the broadcast we challenged you to shoot with Kodak Ektachrome E100VS v1, Urban Dreams, Soft Blue Classic, and/or Vivid Summer Glow, and upload your results (click here) by June 27th to be potentially featured in the next episode, and to be included in the Viewer’s Images slideshow.
Kodak Ektachrome E100VS v1 and Urban Dreams can both be found in the Fuji X Weekly App. Soft Blue Classic and Vivid Summer Glow are not “official” Recipes, so I’ve included them at the bottom of this article should you want to try them yourself.
Also on June 2nd, Nathalie and I finally finished the much-delayed conclusion to our Storytelling theme. If you missed it when it was live, I’ve included it below. Also, right below that, is the most recent Viewer’s Images slideshow video. If you don’t yet subscribe to the new SOOC Live YouTube channel, be sure to do so now!
Now, to the two new AI-made Film Simulation Recipes: Soft Blue Classic and Vivid Summer Glow!
Soft Blue Classic
Dynamic Range: DR200
Noise Reduction: -2
Grain Effect: Weak, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Color Chrome FX Blue: Off
White Balance: Auto, -1 Red & -1 Blue
This AI Recipe is compatible with “newer” Fujifilm X-Trans IV cameras: X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II. For X-Trans V, just know that blue will render more deeply. For the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-T30, ignore Grain size, Color Chrome FX Blue, and Clarity (the results should be the same); for X-Trans III models, additionally ignore Color Chrome Effect.
Vivid Summer Glow
Dynamic Range: DR400
Noise Reduction: -1
Grain Effect: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome FX Blue: Strong
White Balance: Auto, +2 Red & -1 Blue
This AI Recipe is compatible with “newer” Fujifilm X-Trans IV cameras: X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II. For X-Trans V models, set Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak (instead of Strong).
As you can see, I used all four of these ChatGPT Film Simulation Recipes while on a roadtrip to California’s Central Coast. I liked Urban Dreams—which has some similarities to Kodachrome 200 film—the most, but Kodak Ektachrome E100VS v1 did pretty well for a few shots, too. Vivid Summer Glow (which isn’t a good name for the Recipe in my opinion) is not bad at all, and isn’t all that much divergent from my Kodachrome II Recipe (did AI copy it, just making a few changes?). Soft Blue Classic was my least favorite, but it can produce good results in harsh overly-warm light.