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Doug Pardee

Selective Saturation tool revival

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Happy New Year, friends.

Here's an old CameraBag Desktop tool that can be used for -- among other things -- selective saturation. You know, those mostly-B&W pictures with only one color still showing. The Hue Saturation tool, or an HSV Mask applied to a Saturation tool, can also get you there, but I find that controlling the curves on those can be a bit challenging. In particular, adjusting how picky the color selection is requires (for me, at least) moving four separate control points on the curve. Also, adjusting the selected color can be a difficult when CameraBag insists on selecting a control point instead of the triangle for the hue control when I click.

Not that everything's rainbows with this old Selective Saturation tool, at least when you want most of the picture to be B&W. You have to think backwards in that case, because what you're doing is desaturating the other colors. You need to select the opposite color from what you want to keep, and in order to narrow the kept color you need to widen the range of desaturated colors (and vice versa).

Overall, this tool is simpler (and therefore less powerful) than Hue Saturation, and much simpler (and therefore much less powerful) than an HSV Mask applied to a Saturation tool. But for times when you don't need the power, why not keep things simple?

By the way, I should mention yet one more -- even more complicated and even more powerful -- alternative that only applies when you want to fully desaturate some of the colors: an HSV Mask applied to a Filtered B&W tool. This is the most complicated combination for producing selective color photos, but I have to say that being able to adjust the B&W part of the image via the filtering is pretty darned nifty.

A tip: the Chrominance Chart window (hotkey 5) can often help you nail the Color and Tolerance settings.

Another tip: in the Color control, it doesn't much matter where the open circle (in the center area) is, as long as it isn't at one of the edges -- your main interest is the hue slider across the bottom.
The CBF file is attached. The initial settings are from the Red Splash filter in CB 2.0. Here's what it contains.

<filter version="4">
  <mod name="Selective Saturation" version="1" enabled="1">
    <var name="Color" type="color">171.000000 229.000000 223.000015 255.000000</var>
    <var name="Tolerance" type="float">80.191246</var>
    <var name="Saturation" type="float">0.000000</var>
  </mod>
</filter>

Adjustment Selective Sat.cbf

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