USING ADOBE PHOTOSHOP’S HSB/HSL FILTER AS A SATURATION MASK
Recently I came across a very interesting technique for making a layer mask based on how saturated your image is versus a luminosity mask based on how bright your image is. A filter called Multi-plugin, a free download from Adobe, is applied to a “duplicate of your image.” First created for Photoshop CS5, it still works in CC and can be downloaded here: Windows version ; for the Mac Version and Photoshop CS6 (for both 32-bit and 64 bit), go to this page to download using buttons for “Electric Image and HSBHSL (Optional MultiPlugin).”
The filter pretends to convert the RGB mode of a duplicated image to an HSB or HSL mode (a choice is given and slightly different results can occur) to create masks for Hue (red channel), Saturation (green channel) and Brightness/Lightness (blue channel). To create the Saturation mask the green channel is duplicated in the “duplicate image.” Then go back to the original image and the “duplicate image” Green channel is applied from the Select ->Load Selection menu item. Okay – this is not as hard as it sounds. I will list the steps below on how to do this.
I learned about this nifty little plugin from John Paul Caponigro (possibly the best Photoshop guru out there) blog called Selecting the Unselectable with Photoshop’s Saturation Masking. He goes into great detail on how to add in the plug-in and steps for using it. The plugin is to be used on images where semi-neutrals are not saturated enough and the other colors are not over-saturated. This plugin gives different results from what Vibrance does to an image. When you load the plugin, it appears in the Filters -> Other as HSB/HSL in the menu. The image above is of Camachee Cove in St. Augustine in Florida and had a rather gray look to it. For this image only the medium ranges of Saturation were targeted which I feel gives a much richer feel especially to the water. John’s blog walks you through this workflow along with targeting specific hues. I have used this technique on several images and really like the results. Below is a video of an image taken recently at Haw Creek in Florida.
Steps for applying the HSB/HSL Filter
- Duplicate the original file in Photoshop (Image -> Duplicate).
- On Duplicate image go to Filter -> Other -> HSB/HSL filter and click OK – some really weird colors will appear.
- Go to the Channels Panel and highlight the Green Channel. Right click and select Duplicate the Channel. It will be named Green copy at the bottom of the panel. Note that the more saturated the color is in the original image, the lighter the values will be in the green channel.
- Highlight your Original image and and go to Select -> Load selection – in Document drop-down, choose the “image copy” and Channel set to Green copy. Say Okay and a bunch of little blinkies appear which show where the most saturated areas are in the image.
- With the selection active, add a mask to your layer or add an Adjustment Layer. I find the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer makes the most sense to me for adjusting the saturation. Most changes will be to the Saturation slider but there try out the others.
The image above of a magnolia tree pod used a regular High Saturation Curves Adjustment Layer where mainly the Blue channel and the RGB channel were adjusted. Then the Curves Adjustment Layer was duplicated and the mask inverted so just the low saturated areas were selected in the mask – the Red Channel was adjusted and the layer was set to 71%. Mainly the color channel curves were adjusted to get the look needed. This actually gave the leaves a more satin look.
I guess what I like about this filter is that it gives a very clean effect to the image – no halos are created, just nice bright colors. I have also experimented with the Hue (Red Channel) and Lightness/Brightness (Blue Channel) selections to see what happens. It does produce some different results, so give that a try also. Hope everyone will check out this filter, it is really spectacular and not that hard to use. Have a wonderful fall – have to love the colors this time of year!…..Digital Lady Syd