by Jim Denham
All of my black and white conversions used to be done manually in Aperture and I liked most of what was produced, but it took a bit of time to get from A to B. The search for presets for the black and white conversions I wanted produced a few decent results, but there was still something missing. That is until Visual Supply Company released its VSCO Film presets for Aperture!
The VSCO Film presets had been around for a while, but they were solely for Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW and being an Aperture guy, I felt a bit left out. These presets really produced a quality film look that I hadn't seen or been able to produce anywhere else and one that I really liked. That all changed this spring when VSCO Film became available for Aperture. It took me about 2 minutes to download them once I knew they were available.
To be honest, this preset purchase was primarily for color photos, but what I soon found out was that the black and white presets were very good and pretty flexible. The Ilford HPS presets produced a softer look that became a favorite of mine for portraits, and the Kodak Tri-X 400 presets had a harder, more edgy look that worked really well for pics like the one above of my skateboarding friend Austin.
There are several levels to each film type and along with all of them is a toolbox you can use to fine tune the image for shadows, contrast, highlights and just about any other adjustment, including vignettes and grain.
Now, virtually all of my black and white conversions are produced using the VSCO Film presets. Unfortunately, there are no demo versions, so people can't go and try them, but they do have many examples of the presets on their website: http://visualsupply.co. They may give you the look in black and white conversions that you haven't been able to produce either.