Presets – Sin City Look (Sort of…)

First off, I’d like to thank Matt Pavel for posting a comment last week and suggesting a preset based on the Sin City look. I’ve always been a fan of that look and it was fun to see what was possible with Lightroom. Before we go too far, this preset isn’t the exact Sin City look. There’s a lot more going on with this effect then we can do in Lightroom. But working on it at least inspired this preset which I think comes pretty close. So here’s the deal. The main idea behind the Sin City look is pretty much a desaturated high contrast photo with some red saturation left in. The preset is mostly a desaturating effect. But it also leaves certain colors saturated (reds and oranges). The idea behind this is that you’ve got to have something in your photo that has those colors in it. Even if it’s just a photo of people though, it should work since the skin tones will fall in those saturated colors. Also, there’s two flavors to this preset – a light red one and a dark red one so it changes how bright the reds appear. So thanks to Matt for suggesting the idea and thanks to everyone who takes their time to visit the site and leave their comments. I know it takes time but it’s what makes this site better and better every week. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Click here to see a sample of the preset.
Click here to download Matt’s Sin City Presets
Click here to see a video on how to install presets.


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  1. Help!

    I downloded & unzipped the files. Opened LR to Web tab and created Sin City folderon left panel template browser. “Error” it said “Template file was the wrong type o template”

    Really really appreciate the help… I don’t have not one preset installed!

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  2. Hey Matt

    Would it be possible to make a preset with other colours e.g. blue instead of red?

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  3. kind of off topic – but does anyone know the best way to ADD grain to photos? I really miss that 400 Tri-X BW grain since moving to digital. Any good way to do it in LR? perhaps there is a preset…. πŸ™‚

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  4. Cool, when I checked the blog today I didn’t expect to see my name in it. Thanks for taking the time to read our comments!

    -Matt Pavel

    p.s. I had an image in mind to use for this preset, check it out on my web link above.

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  5. Dear Matt,

    This preset would be boon for me. I have downloaded all of your presets and use it more often than changing settings myself. It helps me quick turn around.

    Thanks a lot Matt. Keep up the good work.



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  6. Hi Matt, thanks for the preset.

    A bit off topic but perhaps could be a subject for a future tip or tutorial. Could you give us a workflow suggestion when importing photos from a card that have been taken from a variety of different “themes”.

    An example: I have my sons track meet, shoot a few frames. On my way back to the studio I see some fantastic landscape photos I can use for a client design, shoot a few frames. That evening I go to a Cub Camp with my other son, snap a few frames. When I get back it’s my daughters birthday, snap, snap. The card finally gets full and then I dump onto my photo drive. The folder is named 100D200 and has a bunch of photos from different events and purposes.

    These are my questions:

    1. Do you separate the images in the 100D200 folder into folders with appropriate heading, birthdays, camps, etc?
    2. Do you have folders on your photo drive with all these different type of family events you put photos into?
    3. Do you forget about separating photos on the drive and do all that catalog work in LR? If so that does that mean that all you folders on the photo drive remain the generic 100D200 name or do you give it some name like the current date? Does this also mean that there would be little chance of finding photos on the drive unless you booted LR as photos would all have similar names and generic folders?
    4. Do you ever rename the photos? If so, what naming scheme do you use?

    If you could roll this into a tutorial of best practices that would be appreciated. If you have already covered this topic I would be grateful if you could direct me to that tutorial.

    many thanks,


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  7. I second Robert Bell’s request – that would be terrific to have all of your presets in a zip file. I have a machine at home and one and work… and in the near future I will changing over from a PC to a Mac so having a zip file with all of the presets would be really convenient !

    Thanks so much for all of your great presets Matt!

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  8. Thanks as always!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love keeping up with this blog! I’m upset I missed you while you were in Philadelphia!

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  9. Love love LOVE your presets. This one is golden. I love your auto adjustment presets as well (both the original and the revamped ones!) Keep doing what you do. You’ve added so much value to Lightroom for me and made my helped make my processing so much easier.

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  10. Thanks again Matt.

    Didn’t realize how few images I have that have red in them until I tried to apply this preset.

    Check out Carl’s flickr post, now he’s got some neat RED images to work with, nice job Carl !

    Tried on a couple of Red Roses shots and it worked great.

    I have posted the resulting image on my blog for anyone who might be interested in seeing.

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  11. Matt,

    It seems that the iTunes podcast XML is not updating. There is only 1 show from 5/29….

    Is there a way to fix it or are you just not supporting it on iTunes anymore?

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  12. Matt, can we get all your presets in an easy to download zip file? Maybe you could do this periodically so we can keep up on all the downloads. I know I read you blog on a different computer than I where I run Lightroom, it would be great to just grab the latest collection rather than go back through all the posts.

    Love all the great LR info – thanks

    BTW, is there a way to add to or change the cropping overlay? I’d love to be able to see a safe are inside the crop tool, for making gallery wraps for example, so you can easily see the “Safe” area of the photo.


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  13. Nice job Matt. This is a cool preset. Movie effects are great inspiration for effects. I’ve used them many times for ideas.

    I’ve been playing with getting some highg saturated/anime for of styles. Something sort of like Speed Racer. Pretty fun stuff


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  14. Thanks Matt, this one should look pretty cool on my wedding photos with reds. I cant wait to see what kind of presets you can make with Lightroom 2 by utilizing the negative clarity and masking features. Thanks!

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  15. Very cool… thanks@!

    How about something like all of those different SNL (Saturday Night Live) styles?

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  16. matt-
    this looks very cool. especially the wedding portrait. i like the fact that it seems like a fresh way to do the touch of color that was so big several years back. thanks so much for the preset – all of them…i use them on a daily basis. you have had a huge influence on my work in lightroom.

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  17. These are awesome! Thanks so much, Matt!

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