Is there a way or place to get the color profile curves from film types and recreate them in Aperture 3 so that I can get a characteristic look from something that was shot with kodachrome.

I know there are presets that I can buy for only a few dollars, but I am more interested in working out the process and the places to get the information so I can easily create my own for a wide range of films, now and in the future.

If I can get the curve data I am pretty sure that I can recreate the curves in Aperture 3, assuming it is as simple as I think it is.


If all you are interested in is the color profiles (not the grain or other characteristics) of film, then understand that you need to measure the curves separately per channel. This article is rather informative about how film captures light, which is needed to know how to create the color profile.

Basically, you are going to create a separate curve for each channel:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue

In order to create these color profiles, you will need a standard target with known values. You will also need the film in question to take a picture of that calibration target. Assuming your scanner is accurate/calibrated, or you have a color densitometer, you will be able to extract the color profile from the differences in the target vs the film.

You can imagine how tedious the whole process is, particularly for a large number of films. Some films have been discontinued (like Kodachrome) and are no longer processed. You'll have to use a provided color profile for that one.

  • Ah ok, well that sounds like a lot of work. I do want to try to create the grain etc too so I get a realistic film effect. Is there anywhere that would likely have the color curves, perhaps research papers? Feb 15 '11 at 17:31
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    There's third party plugins for Photoshop that will do what you are looking for. Check out this one: alienskin.com/exposure/index.aspx Feb 15 '11 at 19:07
  • That looks really good, but I am guessing that I can't reverse engineer the curves from a photo like that. It would mean buying the software. Plus I would like to learn how to recreate the effects myself so that I can pick a look that a certain film gave and recreate it (assuming I have the data to do so) Feb 16 '11 at 16:51

Any of the Nik plug-ins for Aperture do what you would like. Silver FX pro is one of my favorites for recreating b/w film looks.

  • That looks pretty useful for making black and while photos. Does it have presets for certain film types? Essentially I want to build a library of presets that can encompass the most popular and characteristic film types/effects that there are/were. Feb 16 '11 at 16:48
  • It has presets for different film all loaded up.
    – user3906
    Mar 2 '11 at 16:22

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