Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Processing - the Direct Positive look

One of my favorite "looks" when processing images is the "direct positive" look I discovered totally by accident when I bought Lightroom. So what is the direct positive look?

Well first lets go back in time. The term Direct Positive is defined as:

"Made from a transparency without an internegative on a direct positive colour paper. A high contrast positive image slide made only from camera ready originals with no negative required."

So basically the direct positive gives a kind of 'slide' characteristic. The colors are punchy, the contrast is high, the highlights are right on the limit of the clipping and the blacks are deep and luscious.

So what does that do in Lightroom?

Well it does pretty much the same thing - it pushes the exposure just over a stop, deepens the black point, applies a pretty strong S shaped contrast curve and also punches up the saturation in the blue channel.

The resulting image is really powerful and has a lot of visual "pop". That said it actually doesn't appear to be a particularly popular. I think in today's world the 'direct positive' look is seen as a little old fashioned, a little simple, perhaps even twee. Its not gritty, or 'street', it has no cred. A "dragan" look is so much cooler.

I dont care, I still love it.

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