Instant Karma | VSCO Film 03


Sometimes I can't resist shiny things. I get fixated, like a dog with a stick. And dammit, the guys at VSCO just know how to present their wares and make everything they create simply drool worthy. Last night I heard about the new VSCO Film 03 release and headed to their website, with the firm intention of NOT purchasing anything. I was simply curious. Ten minutes into it I was hitting the buy button.

To be honest, a lot of that had to do with the fact that they've now added Fuji profiles to this pack. Yup, along with Nikon and Canon specific presets we now get X-cameras support — complete with native film profiles when applied to raw files. I really wanted to test this.

This new offering is all about instant: digital emulations of Polaroid, Fuji and Impossible Project instant films.  As always the visual material used to present the various possibilities of this new pack is, frankly, amazing. I dare you to check out Jeremy Cowart's page and not feel a sudden urge to fill your shopping cart. 

The presets are divided into two main categories: Consumer and Professional. The Toolkit this time focuses on elements commonly associated with instant films such as grain, blur, tone and vignetting; these can be stacked on top of the emulations themselves. But while the promise of one click processing may be alluring, you'll need to put in the time to learn how to control and tone down the results. Otherwise it can easily become slightly "instagramish". But this, in my opinion, is true of all the VSCO Film packs. I still believe that if you're willing to analyze how these looks are achieved, by examining the tone curves, the colour mixes and calibrations, they become a fantastic learning tool. Plus, you'll gain the ability to wield your own looks based on the painstaking work these guys have put in.

A final word on the Fuji profiles: man, this opens up some serious possibilities. When working with RAF files you now have the added option of switching film profiles in Lightroom's calibration pane. This is a very interesting tool to play with, as each film contains its own contrast and colour curve. Change the film, change the mood. My only hope is that they add this support to the previous film packs in an eventual update.

I haven't had a lot of time to put in but I revisited some images to test things out. I'm including these below.

VSCO Film 03 Instant is available for Lightroom and ACR 7. It's discounted 25% for the next two weeks and if you already own another VSCO Film pack you get the usual customer loyally discount as well — so 50% off in total.

Damn those shiny things. 

P.S All shots processed from raw except for the first image. X-Pro1 with 35mm 1.4.
UPDATE: added a few images to the post (mix of jpeg and raw).