Wulf's Webden

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The Velvia Effect



I never got into film photography in a big way. My choice of film was determined by which one offered free processing. However, now that digital technology has given me a doorway into the art of photography, I am discovering a range of techniques that have been developed to simulate chemical effects in the digital darkroom.

One of those is recreating Velvia film, which was apparently a favourite of landscape photographers because of the way it acted to enhance the richness of the colours. Earlier this year I discovered a “recipe” which gave good results. For my tastes it was a bit too pronounced so I played with the settings and ended up with what I call my sub-velvia effect, seen on the picture of Ludlow shown above.

It uses the channel mixer tool. On The Gimp (version 2.4 and above) this is found by selecting Colors | Components from the menus associated with your image. This lets you adjust the red, green and blue balance in each of the RGB channels. I increase the selected channel to 123.5 and decrease each of the others to -8.7. This makes the red channel redder, the green channel greener and the blue channel bluer without increasing the overall brightness of the picture too much. I have saved those settings so I can load them easily.

Finished off with a tweak to the values curve (curves tool) and a spot of sharpening and many pictures are improved with minimal effort. The view of Ludlow was taken on a wet morning. The result of a quick spot of editing leaves it looking a touch artificial but a lot more welcoming.

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