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Thread: B&W photos "how to".....in Photoshop

  1. #1

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    If you guy wants to master the art of B/W printing. You must first understand what makes a good B/W print. Cos this will very well affect the way you do your digital correction. For people who do not have the advantage of working in a darkoom, you can learn more from black and white photography exhibition held every now and then. I think they are crucial in how you work. There are also good books, referencing from B/W masters like Ansel Adam which will good you a good start.

    Of course there are limitations working with digital photography. Film and digital are simply two different mediums. If you are really a true euthusiast, you will somehow find a way to find the answer. You won't be satified with just an answer. You will looks into different answers. Likewise, digital photography isn't everything. Neither is film.

  2. #2

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    Using Photoshop tips:

    1) after scanning or if you are using digital camera open your file in photoshop. The mode which the pictures is normally set to default RGB.

    2) Convert your picture to grayscale mode. The software will prompt you to flatten the image. Just press 'yes'.

    3) By now you should get a black and white picture which looks kind of greyish.

    4) Change to mode back to RGB (For digital output via printer). Once again the software will prompt you to flatten the image. Hit 'Yes'.

    5) Next adjust the 'levels'. Do not use 'curve' to adjust your tones. At 'levels' tweak the arrow below the graph. The left arrow controls the darkness. The right one controls the white. The middle control the overall grey tone. Just push the left arrow to at least where to see the graph start to form to gain blackness.
    and right arrow to at least where you see some graph lines.
    (This step is extremely crucial to printout!)

    6) Adjust the midtone using the middle arrow as according.

    7) You can further use the dodge and burn tool to create mood prints. Control the strength and intensity of the brush size. Make sure the opacity levels is at a fair low and manageable level to burn and dodge.) Alternatively, you may also use the airbush or paint brush to touch up.

    8) The rubber stamp tool may also use to touch up dust marks or imperfection.

    Important point to take note.. ** Make sure your monitor is calibrated using the plugin which photoshop provide. This will affect the way how you image appears on other people's screen. This will also cause tone shift problem if you are sending the prints out for printing. **

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Thanks for the tips...

    how abt converting colour to spedia? my DC dun have such mode build in
    We are HDD of PC & FT are MB add to storage;
    so PC never hangs with enormous storage capacity - LKY

  4. #4
    Midnight
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    Btw, the method I use to convert colour photos to B&W is similar to the one described on this web site:

    http://www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw/b&w.htm#lab-grayscale

  5. #5

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    Originally posted by Midnight


    However, isn't this the "wrong" way to convert a colour photo to B&W? I have very limited experience with so-called digital B&W, but I am under the impression that the more common method is to convert the image to Lab colour mode and extract the luminosity channel as the B&W image. The resultant image using this method do look pretty convincing, especially if you subsequently tweak the photo further using Levels and dodging/burning.
    Hm, you're right. I tried both the Lab method and the Convert to Grayscale method, and the Lab one is indeed quite convincing. More crisp and punchy.

  6. #6
    Midnight
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    Originally posted by kamwai
    how abt converting colour to spedia? my DC dun have such mode build in
    To get sepia toned images, convert it to B&W first and then use the Hue/Saturation menu command in Photoshop to shift the hue to a suitable brownish look. In fact, you can get all sorts of other monochrome images using this method too.

  7. #7

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    Originally posted by Midnight


    To get sepia toned images, convert it to B&W first and then use the Hue/Saturation menu command in Photoshop to shift the hue to a suitable brownish look. In fact, you can get all sorts of other monochrome images using this method too.
    yep.. Make sure it's converted back to RGB mode before you can perform the hue/saturation mode. This normally do the trick. You an also choose to use duotone by mixing a pantone colour. (This is only use for commercial publications printing production)

  8. #8
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    The RGB->Grayscale->RGB method, the Image->Desaturate method still does not produce convincing B&W IMHO. The colour response of real B&W is simply different from a colour film and CCD/CMOS sensor.

    One of the most popular way is to go into Channel Mixer, check "Monochrome" then individually tweak each colour. You can even emulate the popular B&W filters here.

    The popular DigiDaan channel mixer presets makes this easier. Forgot the URL, so gotta look up google. Luminous Landscape also has a few articles on digital B&W.

    Somebody has even created an action to emulate Kodak Tri X film

    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthrea...&threadid=1395

    After doing all that in digital, go out there and get some real B&W film, even the chromogenic ones like Kodak T400CN and Ilford XP2 Super.

    Regards
    CK

  9. #9

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    I use the simplest and most direct method. Just convert to grayscale, then adjust levels and curves. Usually I bring the two outermost sliders closer together (to where the bulk of the histogram lies) and adjust the middle slider to taste. The contrast will be increased. If you do not want to blow the highlights or darken the shadows, use curves instead of levels, and create an "S"-shaped curve.

    My version (PS 4.0) does not have a channel mixer, so that's out. I could adjust the brightness of the different channels to simulate the channel mixer, but it's just too much trouble.

    I've not really found very much difference between using Lab mode and grayscale, and it's a few extra steps.
    Last edited by StreetShooter; 23rd July 2002 at 10:49 AM.

  10. #10
    Midnight
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    Originally posted by StreetShooter
    I've not really found very much difference between using Lab mode and grayscale, and it's a few extra steps.
    The difference is quite noticeable, IMHO. Try doing the same image using the Grayscale/Desaturate method as well as the Lab Luminosity method and compare them side by side. Or, if your program supports layers, try stacking the two images on top of each other and toggling between the layers to see the differences take effect before your eyes. The impact on the mid-tones and shadows is often particularly noticeable.

    While the Lab method is by no means a perfect reproduction of the colour response of true B&W film, I've found it to be a better starting point for further tweaking than the Grayscale conversion output. No experience with the Channel Mixing method, but it looks like a pretty powerful option too.

  11. #11

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    You're right. I just tried what you suggested, and it does look better. Thanks. Think I'll write an action to do this automatically.

  12. #12
    Eric
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    I know this is not the kind of shot you would normally convert to b&w, but I'm using it cos it's the image I'm currently working on. Someone PLEEEEZE feel free to provide a better example. Using a VERY red sunset as an example :



    This is the original image.


    This is straight convert to greyscale.


    This is with -100% saturation.


    This is using the lab mode.


    This is channel mix :
    Red = 24%
    Green = 68%
    Blue = 8%

    Yah, I know it's a little hard to compare all stacked up like that. Don't have much time to arrange nicely.

  13. #13

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    I have been using the DigiDaan's b/w mixer settings for all my B/w conversions. I also tweak it after applying it to my own liking.

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