Convert and process negative images

What features would you like to see in Pixelmator Pro?
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2020-12-07 04:21:15

I am in the process of digitizing my family's old photos including many from the 1940s on. I did many of the 35mm photos last year using a film scanner and Vuescan. This winter I'm working on the medium format photos so I will be digitizing them with a light table, macro lens and a digital camera. There are videos out there showing how negative images can be converted to positive images in Lightroom or Photoshop and then the color corrected to make them look more natural or at least more like the original before fading. In addition there is, from what I can tell, a very good program called Negative Lab Pro that does the conversion and color adjustment. However, Negative Lab Pro is setup as a plug-in for Lightroom and I really don't want to be locked into a permanent subscription to Lightroom. I would rather use Pixelmator as a plugin to Apple's iPhoto or do the conversion in Pixelmator and then import the results into Photos.

The basic steps to do the conversion consist of importing the digital photo into Lightroom or Pixelmator consist of opening the file, inverting the RGB curve, adjusting the white balance, and adjusting the various color settings to get the desired result. Many of the sliders work backwards because you have inverted the RGB curve. This is true for Lightroom and Pixelmator. It is labor intensive but you can often get a good result. I've tried the ML color enhancement but that doesn't work because it reverts the image back to the negative image. I have also been able to get close to what I desire and then use the ML color match but again, that reverts the image back to a negative image. This request would tie in nicely with the automated faded color function request. Here is a video on how to convert a negative image to a positive image. Six years old but the steps are applicable.

https://youtu.be/OQGtyR-imeI
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2020-12-07 13:36:56

Hey there! I'm not sure how much of your workflow you'd like to stay nondestructive, but you could try flattening the color adjustments after you've inverted the photo (Control-click the image layer, then choose Color Adjustments > Flatten Adjustments). This would let you adjust the colors of an already inverted image.
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2020-12-07 14:24:45

Thanks for the tip. I had been saving a version and opening the saved version. Your method saves work as I could duplicate the originals before working on them. There are extra steps in correcting old photos as the different color dyes fade at different rates so color correction can get tedious. The suggestion topic about restoring old faded photos brings this up. It would be nice to automate it as much as is done in Negative Lab Pro and other image inverting programs. The methods seem to be in Pixelmator but it would be nice to see an intelligent automation of them.
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2020-12-08 15:26:28

I think this is definitely something worth considering. A feature like this, of course, would need some research on what color tints usually need to be neutralized or enhanced, what adjustment combinations would work best for that, and so on.

By the way, I remembered that there's also a destructive invert feature in Pixelmator Pro. You can press Command + I on your keyboard to invert the colors. No adjustment flattening required.