Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films chem Engine (7 of 14)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

If you’ve been a reader of this site for a while, you know how much I’m in love with RNI Films for the iPhone. The app recently added dust and grain simulations that RNI created from actual scans and that I use all the time. But for a couple of months I’ve been testing and playing with an Alpha build of the company’s upcoming Flashback. Flashback isn’t necessarily designed for the higher end user that will take an image, apply a film profile and then edit from there the same way you would with RNI Films. Instead, it’s designed more to randomize the effects and looks of the images.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films chem Engine (1 of 14)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

My Alpha build is still very Alpha, but it renders lots of the effects that would normally be done in the app.

Mixer+UI+-+03.sketch+2015-10-27+16-58-09

Before I go on, this is what it should look like in the final production version of the app.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films chem Engine (2 of 14)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

So how does this work? You load up an image from your library of photos on your phone, then pick one, and let the editing process begin. Well…sort of editing a photo.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films chem Engine (3 of 14)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

When you take the image and choose “Run simulation” you’ll get different random film/vintage renderings. Each of these renderings are based on the RNI films database and also add things in like grain, dust, etc. Again, it’s random and it’s based on the image’s content. I’ve had lots of dust, no dust, etc. With portraits, it would often render the images more blue depending on how much skin the person was showing off. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what RNI is doing based on colors and scenes, but it’s nice that there are so many random effects.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films chem Engine (8 of 14)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

So what’s the point of a random generator? Well, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in a photo, that works perfectly. For those of us that want the tried and true look of Kodachrome, Delta 400, or Provia, we’ll go to RNI films. But if you’re feeling more experimental, then Flashback does a pretty good job to satiating your vintage lust. In my alpha build, I feel like most of the renderings look like instant film of various types. Some look like expired Fujifilm 100C, some look like Impossible film, etc.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films chem Engine (13 of 14)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

So far though, it’s fun and I see it being for the more experimental crowd for sure–and that’s fine in its own right considering some of the stuff that folks put on both VSCO and Instagram. My Alpha build doesn’t let me export images, but with the reputation of RNI and how good their other stuff is, I’m very trusting here. But wholeheartedly, I believe it would be better built into the RNI Film app. I’m not sure that I’d personally go for something that just randomly generates a rendering though I can totally see the appeal of that to an audience that will appreciate that. What this for sure does though is shows me a different look and style that I may not have specifically thought about–and that opens up my creative mindset with what’s possible.

When Flashback comes out, I’ll be sure to have a review.

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  • Andrew Wilson
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2453118413

    Hi Chris,

    I’m also curious, how does the app feel?

    We’ve seen a random filter feature in many apps – Snapseed, Hipstamatic and many others.
    But RNI’s promise of chemistry-based simulation, coupled with the samples they share, looks quite intriguing. So does it feel this way?

    I’ve requested early access too but haven’t heard back so far.

  • Bruce Harding
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2451694655

    Wow.
    Would like to see real samples, not photographed screens but sounds interesting.

    On the website they promise a simulation of chemical processes not applying a random filter. Does it feel this way or just randomly applies one of the RNI Films’ looks every time?

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