This is the first real announcement for my program Filmulator, which is designed to give you all the positives of film, with none of the negatives.
When you try to use a tone curve to fit the dynamic range of a real scene into the <1000:1 contrast ratio of a monitor, or worse a print, you inevitably lose contrast at least somewhere (highlights and shadows usually), or you lose the dynamic range of the original scene.
However, your eyes perform tone mapping that preserves local contrast while reducing global contrast. Film does this too, thanks to the consumption and diffusion of the developer between adjacent parts of the film.
There exist tone mapping algorithms that are often applied by cell phones and HDR software, but they are are often linear and don’t behave nonlinearly as our eyes would.
Filmulator on the other hand literally simulates film development from the brightness recorded in a raw file by a digital camera. Because of this, the tone mapping effect it has is far less intrusive than standard tone mapping, and it also gives benefits for colors and highlight rendering.
Now that’s all good, but the important part is that when I started using it, I immediately needed far less time to edit my photos, since the tone mapping did most of what I wanted to 95% of the time, and I didn’t need to fiddle with tone curves for ten minutes per image anymore.
There are lots of other benefits, but for now I would like people to try it and give me their impressions of the workflow and user interface, which are intended to be streamlined and simple.
You can get the code at the above link. Do note that it’s Linux only now and it’s missing tools that you might find important (noise reduction, sharpening, cropping).
Any feedback would be appreciated.