How to Emulate the look of Aerochrome Film

January 18, 2017

Aerochrome 1443 Film was a color Infrared film made and sold by Kodak, that has been long discontinued.  It is well known for its look; foliage is bright red and magenta, and the sky has a strong Blue saturation.   It was used by the military in the 1940s  to detect camouflaged areas by plane.  Then in the 1960s, it became quite popular to capture the psychedelic look of the times.

Recently the look of Aerochrome 1443 film has become a stylish way to post-produce Infrared digital images.   It’s an interesting alternative to standard IR false color processing, and it’s not really that difficult to do. 

Let’s take a look.

We will start with a Super Color image.   First, get the basics out of the way; adjust the levels, contrast, and tones, and swap the Red and Blue channels.

 

 

Now we will start to adjust the color tones.  To do that we’ll go to Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation.

The first thing we want to do is adjust the sky because that is a quick fix.  A Super Color image has both Blue and Cyan in the sky after a channel swap, but we want just Blue.  So, we will select the Cyan channel and move the Hue slider to the right to make the Cyan appear as Blue.

Now we have a sky that is all Blue

Now let’s work on getting that bright Red tone like an Aerochrome.  Once again we will use the Hue/Saturation sliders, this time selecting the Red and taking the slider to the left.  You will see the red tones become more pronounced.

Now our image looks like this.

Now we need to change the Yellow to Red.  Once again using the Hue/Saturation slider, we adjust the Yellow to Red by moving the slider to the left.

Finally, we will adjust the Red further by using Selective Color.  We will do that by selecting Image, Adjustments, Selective Color

From here we will select Red and then adjust the Black within the Red tones.  

Now our image is starting to look more like an Areochrome   Infrared.

As a side note, I did decide to selectively desaturate the Arch and stone wall to give it less color.  

Here are a few more examples of this effect.

Once you work with the color tones to emulate the Aerochrome look, you can also create different variations.

Here’s one adjusted, only with less Red saturation.

Now I realize that this is an eclectic look that won’t appeal to everyone.  It also won’t work with every image, and each image will require different adjustments, but it is an interesting alternative to the standard channel swapped False Color.

 


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