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Creating Velvia the digital way

Creating Velvia the digital way - Michael Bates walks us through a Paint Shop Pro X2 tutorial on Velvia Emulation.

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Corel Paint Shop Pro & Painter

Emulating the appearance of Velvia in Paint Shop ProWith the advent of digital photography things have become a lot easier for beginners.  All you need is a digital camera of a reasonably good quality and you can start snapping. However there is a reason that people remain attached to film photography, there are so many options available to you and they almost always look better than a digital recreation ever can. Velvia film, with its characteristic high saturation and sharpness, is fantastic for taking landscape photographs, especially of sunsets and scenes with a lot of colour, and the effect of it is something that you may want to recreate in a picture you took with a digital camera. This tutorial won't completely emulate the appearance of Velvia: only the real thing will do there, but it will get a similar effect for your digital camera and will work in any of the major software packages. I merely chose to use Paint Shop Pro as there is a method that is slightly easier here, though I will briefly refer to the more common method at that point for Photoshop and GIMP users.

Step 1. Open your image and duplicate the Background layer; this is done by right-clicking it and selecting Duplicate. Rename the new layer to Velvia' so we know which is which by double-clicking the layer's name and typing in a new one or right-clicking and selecting Rename.

Step one of a Velvia tutorial showing the layers box in Paint shop ProStep 2 in the Velvia tutorial for Paintshop Pro.  This step is about the film and filters box.

Step 2a. Obviously we want to increase the saturation of all the colours in the image and in Paint Shop Pro there are 2 main ways to do this; through a film effect or by manipulating the saturation manually. To access the film effects open Effects, Photo Effects, Film and Filters, then change the film type to Vivid to boost the saturation of the image.

Step 2b. If you don't use Paint Shop Pro you can use this method (I'm using Photoshop CS2 as an example). Open Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Channel Mixer, then go into each channel adding 30% to the colour at 100% and subtracting 15% from the other two channels so that the percentage remains balanced. So in the red channel Red is at 130% and Blue and Green both go to -15%. This method allows you to customise just how saturated the colour is in the most accurate manner but it takes longer to find the right amount of saturation to add without losing detail in areas like the grass. You can double-click the adjustment layer in the Layers panel to change these values at any time.

 Step two in the velvia tutorial in Paintshop Pro, this step talks about the channel mixer Step three in the velvia tutorial in Paintshop Pro.

Step 3. Now to introduce the sharpness that Velvia film is known for. The best way to do this in a scene like mine is Step four in the velvia tutorial in Paintshop Prowith the Unsharp Mask tool, so open Adjust, Sharpness, Unsharp Mask. Now add only a small radius otherwise your foliage etc. will have a large white border along its edge, adjust the strength according to the amount of sharpening your image needs and then press OK to apply it. The contrasting edges of your image should now be that little bit more defined and appear sharper as a result of the starker contrast they have been given.

Step 4. Now duplicate the Velvia layer as you did with the background before and rename the new layer to Grain. This layer needs to be at the top of your layers panel, so it should look like the screenshot here.

Step 5. In the Grain layer open Adjust, Add/Remove Noise, Add Noise. Change the settings to Gaussian noise and add a good amount of noise that can be easily seen. I've gone for 20%, but it depends on personal taste, however it should be obvious at the minute as this is not how it will look in the end. Before you press OK, check the Monochrome box so that the noise isn't colourful.

 Step five in the velvia tutorial for Paintshop Pro Step six in the velvia tutorial for Paintshop Pro

Step 6. Change the layer mode for the Grain layer to Luminance so the colours of the layer have no effect on the underlying layer; we don't want the colours to become too vivid after all. Then decrease the opacity until the noise is visible but not overpowering since Velvia has a fine grain and you should be good to go.

 Final Image in the Velvia tutorial in Paintshop Pro
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