"Analogue Style" in Digital

I was disappointed with the harsh contrast and strong saturation of an initial quick edit of some shots at the beach in the early afternoon ‘worst time of the day for photography’ light, so made an effort to ape analogue-type desaturation (or at least the pale style used by some YouTube analogue-film influencers, in recent years). Pretty unscientific attempt so wondered if anyone else had better ideas (or just fancied a play around with the files). I tried but abandoned the grain module. I just lazily cut and paste the settings for the first pic onto the second.

20230824_0182_01.RW2.xmp (47.7 KB)
20230824_0182.RW2 (23.1 MB)

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20230824_0120.RW2 (23.0 MB)

Just for comparison, this was my terrible (in my mind) first pass:

These files are licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.


I’m not sure what you mean by “analogue-type desaturation”. Back in the 80s and 90s, I shot mostly Kodak films (both for prints and slides) with Canon and Nikon SLRs. I always thought the results were amazingly saturated.


Yes, good point Tim. I have some very saturated Fuji slides (and random Kodak film negatives) from the 90s. I guess it’s probably the style that many young youtube analogue influencers use to edit their scanned files and that has warped my memory.


I tweaked the initial post. Thanks Tim. A friend I sent the first pic to just called it Unintended Wes Anderson. Maybe that’s the source of this “retro” editing style.


With DT 4.4.2

20230824_IMG_3902.CR3.xmp (12,3 KB)

Edición de los años 70
En la parte derecha se ve una franja morada. Es porque era la última foto del carrete analógico y se ha velado un poco. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Edition from the 1970s
On the right side you can see a purple stripe. It is because it was the last photo of the analog reel and it has been veiled a little. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:



Ha! Love it!


First one is especially nice. I dig the composition.

My attempt, utilizing proposed improvements to sigmoid. (JPEG contains the develop history but it will be only understood when building darktable from that PR.)

Besides that, slight contrast boost with good old RGB curves, and some colour tweaking, also with RGB curves. Slight vignette and grain. And, in addition, diffuse and sharpen local contrast preset applied after sigmoid. It didn’t seem to make much difference for this image, but sometimes I do get better results when moving it to that later position in the pipe.


@flannelhead: I am very excited about the changes in sigmoid! Thanks for the continued work on it.

@TonyBarrett: Nice lens! I am also moving in the direction of less saturated edits with my photos. I think that with color balance rgb, it extremely easy to oversaturate globally. This matches the look that almost all phones and nowadays some camera engines strive for, but when everything “pops”, nothing really does. These days I prefer perceptual brilliance grading and local contrast with D&S.

20230824_0182.RW2.xmp (15.0 KB)


This sounds v interesting. I’d like to investigate more.

I agree on everything popping. I’ve started to realise that only recently. It’s quite common in amateur photography work. Scrolling the pics posted for the Meetup group where these shots were taken, and the colours are extremely rich

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I like the picture very much, so I wanted to play. No xmp though, as I didn’t use darktable (I hope it’s ok nonetheless). I’m not sure this is what you had in mind, but this is the style I think of when you say analogue-type desaturation (without having any first-hand experience or knowledge of the youtoubers you mention). I also added a bit of grain just because :slight_smile:


Amazing! I need this so badly for my job from last night: :sob:

@TonyBarrett , the first version turned out so beautiful! Salute! :tophat:


I think your version, as well as @flannelhead ’s above, have managed to get closer to what I was aiming for while maintaining resolution. I added a drop of bloom to soften the image and curbed the whites in filmic so it looks a bit too pastel and flat now. Thanks

I went similar to you with one small change. I gave the background a bluish haze and reduced contrast which separates the background a little better:

20230824_0182.RW2.xmp (25,9 KB)


Nice colour harmony!

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Very theme in Wes Anderson vibes, cool shot!

analogue-style-in-digital-20230824_0182.RW2.xmp (23.6 KB)
dt 4.4.1

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Maybe I should submit it


I absolutely :heart: LOVE :heart: the composition of that first shot, @TonyBarrett! Really nice, fair play! I love the way all of the subjects are engaged in their own thing, and the way they’re evenly spaced out — the colour differences between the subject’s cloths is equally eye-catching — great shot, in my opinion, regardless of what you do processing-wise!


Nice composition. Different approach to “analogue”.

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My version…

20230824_0182.RW2.xmp (21.8 KB)