Reverse engineering Instagram

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Instagram is the popular iPhone app that takes ordinary camera phone shots and turns them into hazy, nostalgic, old-fashioned-looking things of beauty. It then lets you share them (and incidentally, you can make a nice Blurb book with them).

Despite being an iPhone-only app, not not necessarily being the first to make retro-rific camera shots, it’s been pretty influential. Recently we came across two blog posts devoted to getting these effects without Instagram. One way is digital and the other is, appropriately, analog.

First up are Adobe Photoshop actions from Daniel Box. Photoshop actions are nested photo editing operations that are run instantly on an image. Box has experimented with a number of different transformation combinations with filters, contrast levels, and saturation adjustments  to come up with some pretty close matches. You can download these and use them with your own copy of Photoshop.Screen shot 2011 10 05 at 11.09.26 AM Reverse engineering Instagram

Want to go truly old school? The marvelous infographic from shows you how to get the real thing from the actual processes that inspired the app’s filters. Even if you’re not looking to go out and buy a Diana or a Lomo, you’ll find it a quick primer to the world of film (particularly if you were born after 1990).

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Sure, some serious photo enthusiasts poo poo the whole idea of Instagram. But as these examples show, the app is creating interest in process and getting people involved in their camera phone photos in a whole new way. And people are making some pretty great books on Blurb too.



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One Comment

  1. Fantastic information graphics. Communicates well while being aesthetically pleasing.

      October 6, 2011 – 2:22 am   Permalink

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