Many photographers really miss the smooth saturation an deep colours they could achieve with Fuji Velvia and although we can’t do an automated action or plugin to give us an out of the box match to that desired film stock, we can get you close.

There are various ways to do this, but this is my preferred way as it doesn’t generally generate as much noise in the even tone areas as other methods. Total control over your various colour chanels, however, is a bit reduced.

Original image from RAW was converted totally neutral in CaptureONE without any adjustments. The image is from a Canon 5D (mark 1)

original boat image by Sean Nel

Here are the steps:

Start of by changing the image’s colour mode to Lab

change mode to Lab

From here go to the channels tab, and start working on your “a”-channel. If you are new to Lab and channels and working in separate channels, let me quickly run through the “easy” way to do it.

Choose your “channels” tab, and select you “a”-channel to work in. You will see that as soon as you choose the “a”-channel, it will highlight blue, remove the visibility tag from all the other channels, and turn your image grey. To make life easy on yourself, make the other channels visible, by simply clicking in the visibility tag on the full lab channel (This is not a problem from CS3 onwards. You can choose the channel in the levels adjustment directly in a dropdown, and do not need to manually change the channel in the channels dialogue box)

Change tab to channels Choose Channel A

Make all channels visible

…and now the part to pay attention in. Simply choose the levels dialogue box and adjust you input and output channels. REMEMBER though. To keep a colour balance, your input and output fields must match. So if you bring your bottom end from 0 to 55 points, you MUST bring the top end down the same amount (so from 255 points to 200)

Make Adjustment to channel A

Do the same for the “b”-channel. Using this technique you can seriously push saturation in a very controllable manner.

Make Adjustment to channel B

And that’s it. Just remember to change your image mode back to RGB or CMYK (depending on what your final product requirements are) and check that you didn’t generate too much noise.


Article by Sean Nel
Sean Nel

 Copyright of images: Sean Nel


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