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Tell us about your B/W conversion technique

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Tell us about your B/W conversion technique posted by DavidF January 03, 2005 01:15AM reply | quote
posted by DavidF

I notice that many of the images posted here are black and white, though I assume that many of these were shot digitally in color. Since there are so many techniques for convering to B/W, please consider sharing how you do your conversion.

Regards, David.
Re: Tell us about your B/W conversion technique posted by Craig (Admin) January 03, 2005 03:20AM reply | quote
posted by Craig

My favorite is Channel Mixer 60/40/0.

Gives me a nice little bump to the skin luminance and eliminates a good bit of the noise in the image which lives mostly in the blue channel.

I often add noise that looks more grain-like than the noise that came out of the camera in the blue channel.


P.S. I have found that converting my files to black and white is best done in Adobe RGB as sRGB conversions have a lot more noise in certain when converting than even the color files. If I shoot it in sRGB (on my S2) I convert before making adjustment layers.

You could not step twice into the same rivers; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.
Heraclitus of Ephesus
Re: Tell us about your B/W conversion technique posted by stevdeer January 03, 2005 03:32AM reply | quote
posted by stevdeer

channel mixture too.

for dark sky (simulating an orange/red filter) try red:160, green:0, blue -60

Re: Tell us about your B/W conversion technique posted by DavidF January 03, 2005 04:06AM reply | quote
posted by DavidF

Since I posted, I should share mine:

1. First, if I think the image needs more range, I start by adjusting levels or use Auto Levels--this sometimes creates an image that doesn't look very good as a color image, but gives me more range when I convert. I do this to the background layer--and if I've used layers, I flatten)

2. Create HSL adjustment layer and set saturation to 0. Keep this at top of layer stack (except as noted in step 6.)

3. Create another HSL adjustment layer below this, close, set blending to Color, reopen, and the move Hue slider till you like what you're seeing.

4. To make additional adjustments to specific portions of an image: Hide the HSL adjust layer in Step 3, make another HSL layer above that one (including applying Color blending), move Hue slider to see how it changes a particular part of an image, and if you like what you see, click OK, then use adjustment mask to make it apply to specific portions of the image. (Remember to un-hide all layers that you want to show and use layer masks to apply adjustment to specific parts of the image). You can repeat this if you like.

5. Add curves adjustments as need to lighten or darken portions of the image.

6. Finally, if you want to add tone to your image, create a layer at the top of the stack, select Edit > Fill > Contents: Use Color, make a color selection for toning, then adjust strenght of toning with either Fill or Opacity sliders.

A bit more complicated, but I like being able to fine-tune so I can give different textures, shades and sharpness to specific parts of the image. I believe you can do the same using Channel Mixer instead of HSL in your adjustment layers.

I've included a before and after showing this method. Regards, David

Post Edited (01-04-05 06:24)
Re: Tell us about your B/W conversion technique posted by cookster January 03, 2005 08:55AM reply | quote
posted by
I use an adjustment layer (hue and saturation) and lower the saturation slider all the way to the left. Then I use the levels adjustment layer and play with the sliders to get the best result.
It works great for me then I flatten the layers.
Let me know how it works for you!

Re: Tell us about your B/W conversion technique posted by Bill January 04, 2005 11:02PM reply | quote
posted by
Thanks for the info everyone...Here is another related question.
What is the best way to get sepia coloured images??
I see a lot of photographers providing images in a sepia tone and like the B&W images I know there are many ways to get the same effect, just wondering what are other photographers methods...Bill

Re: sepia toning posted by DavidF January 05, 2005 12:49AM reply | quote
posted by DavidF

I don't know if its the 'best' way, but one way is to apply an adjustment layer using Photo Filters and apply the Sepia filter (or one of the other pre-set filter colors), or you can select the Color option and select your own color. If you want you can duplicate this layer to intensify the toning.

You can also apply a mask to this layer if there are select areas that you want to apply the toning to.

Regards, David
Re: Tell us about your B/W conversion technique posted by stevdeer January 05, 2005 12:53AM reply | quote
posted by stevdeer


make sure the b/w image is in rgb.

put a curves adjustment layer at the top of the stack, go to the red channel (not rgb channel) click in the centre of the curve and move up and left a little (about 1mm). then go to the blue channel, do the same but move down and to the right a little... voila, sepia!

mess about a little to change the effect to what you want.

Re: what about selenium and platinum posted by DavidF January 06, 2005 04:07AM reply | quote
posted by DavidF

In addition to sepia toning of B/W images, do any of you have any PS methods for selenium, platinum, silver toning?

thanks, david
sepia toning posted by marmott January 06, 2005 05:36AM reply | quote
posted by
a really good way is to use the "hue/saturation" method...

if you open up that panel (either as a adjustment layer or just under image/adjustments/hue-saturation (command or control U))

there is a little checkbox called "colorize"... click that, and then you are toning your image... you can adjust what saturation you want to tone it as well as what color (blue, copper, sepia, cyan etc.) it is probably the most flexible method.

if i want a black and white look, i pretty much go this route as i never really like images that are purely black and white... i like to have a little tone intruduced to the image to add mood and feeling, even if it is just a tiny amount...

as an aside to this, also epson printers have real problems w/ printing straight black and white images (they tend to go green).... if you add just a touch of tone, then they print right.

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