03 Film simulation
Next, I’ve opened the Film Types panel and chosen Kodak Tri-X from the drop-down menu. These film simulations are actually very thorough. Silver Efex Pro simulates the grain and contrast properties of classic films and also their spectral response – their sensitivity to different colours, in other words, and how these translate into shades of grey.
04 Finishing adjustments
My last step is to open the Finishing Adjustments panel and the Burn Edges section. I’ve selected the button for adjusting the top edge and used the Strength and Size sliders to darken about the top one-fifth of the picture. This works especially well outdoors, where it saves you having to burn in the sky. Where there is no sky, it still adds an unobtrusive ‘weight’ to the top of the picture which encloses it nicely and adds overall contrast.
05 Saving your new preset
When you’re happy with your adjustments you can save them as a new preset. First, press the ‘Add Preset’ button (1) in the bottom left corner of the window. This displays a dialog (2) where you can type in a name for your preset. And when you’ve saved the preset, it’s displayed in the Custom tab of the presets panel (3).
06 The finished picture
This is exactly the gritty, old-fashioned look I was after. The contrast applied by my preset is pretty high, but that was done to add impact to the low-contrast lighting. If the image has a great deal of contrast to start with, I can simply select the preset anyway, then quickly adjust the contrast in the tools panel.