New Updates - Film Structure Emulation, Preset URLs & More
In this April update, you'll discover exciting new features, numerous improvements, bug fixes, and more. I hope these changes will make Color.io even better for you. Thank you for all your feedback!
## New: Material Panel
This latest update introduces the brand-new Material Panel, which contains new and improved image processing effects. Just like the color science in Color.io, the material effects are inspired by the appearance and development behavior of analog film, emulating some of its structural and optical properties. To demonstrate its effectiveness, let's play a little game. Below are three images based on the same photo taken by photographer Shihab Chowdhury on Cinestill 800T film. The first image has all film grain, color, softness, and halation removed. Either Image 2 or 3 is the original film photo; the other has been recreated from Image 1 entirely using Color.io. Can you tell which is which?
*Find the answer at the bottom of this post...
### New: Volumetric Film Grain
Grain is the foundation of the new film structure emulation in Color.io. Rather than overlaying grain textures like most other software, the new structure emulator deconstructs the image and rebuilds it pixel-by-pixel using synthetically generated granules. This results in an incredibly organic look because the underlying pixel structure of digital images is entirely reconstructed to match the grain distribution, density, rotation, size, and color gradation of real film.
### New: Softness & Acutance
Film softness introduces a new blur algorithm based on the size and variance of a film grain pattern. It simulates the absence of high-frequency detail in analog film and is driven by the volumetric distribution of the grain engine. Film Acutance is a novel approach to adding sharpness to images. Unlike traditional sharpening, the new acutance emulation rearranges the film granules so that they are more densely packed around high-contrast edges of an image. This enhances image sharpness in a very organic way because the edge enhancement consists of grains, which are always larger than digital pixels.
### New: Halation Threshold & Vignette
The film halation effect has been updated for more realistic glow behavior and improved highlight detail protection. You can now also control the brightness threshold at which halation occurs. Additionally, a new vignette control allows you to darken or brighten the edges of your images with a smooth falloff toward the center, regulated by the radius slider.
### New: Preset URLs
Sharing presets with others is now easier with the ability to generate a URL from the Export panel. You can toggle individual components on and off, making it possible to create preset URLs for an entire color grade, just the spectrum panel, or any combination of effect panels you need. When you click "Generate URL," Color.io will copy a special preset link to your clipboard. Pasting that link into the address bar of a web browser will apply your preset.
## Various Updates
### Before & After
As many of you requested, the before/after behavior has been updated. When you reveal the original image by clicking and holding the mouse down or by toggling the new "Master Bypass" switch, the color grade and material effects are disabled, but the ACES IDT and ODT now remain intact.
Note that this new behavior applies to the Master Bypass, Master Mix, and Temporary Bypass (click and hold viewport for 1 second) but not to the Split Screen view. Split screen will always reveal the original, non-color-managed image.
### Luminance Curve Update
A minor color science adjustment has been made to the luminance curve. Previously, the curve introduced excessive highlight bleaching due to too much crosstalk with the chrominance channels. This issue has been addressed, resulting in a curve that is now closer to a perceptually neutral contrast adjustment. To simulate the previous behavior, you can desaturate the highlights using the Density vs Luma curve in the Density panel above.
## What's Next?
While this update covers various aspects of the app, a significant portion of the new features primarily benefit photographers. Therefore, the next update will be dedicated to enhancing the DCTL generator for colorists, with some exciting developments planned. Stay tuned, and as always, thank you so much for the incredible feedback and suggestions you have provided, making Color.io and this update possible!
Jonathan | Color.io
*The second image is the original film photo, and the third has been created from Image 1 using nothing but the film color and structure emulation tools in Color.io. I deliberately dialed up the smoothness a bit further than I would have done, had it not been my intention to mislead you 😈