B&W Conversions, how do you do it?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by tirediron, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    37,330
    Likes Received:
    10,643
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I've been experimenting with converting some of my images from colour to B&W, but the results have been less than spectacular. I've tried several plug ins which depending on the original picture give results of varying satisfaction, as well as just messing about with the hue/saturation and brightness/contrast. I would like to hear how some of you are doing it, as I've seen some excellent conversions posted here. Thanks!
     
  2. David A

    David A TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Messages:
    472
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    On photoshop? If I want to manually adjust it, click on Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation and then lower the saturation...

    Now, if you want to just shortcut all of that, just click on Image>Adjustements>Desaturate...

    I hope this helps... :D
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    A popular way is to use one of the RGB or CMYK channels. This simulates using a colored filter. A lot of time I just desaturate.

    Probably where you will find what you are looking for is with levels and/or curves. These are tools for controlling the tonal range. Start out by going to levels, and adjust the shadow and highlight sliders to the edges of the histogram. Usually (not always) BW photos will look their best if the tonal range extends from true black to true white.

    Curves is a different, and more precise, way of adjusting tones. Go in and play, and google for "understanding curves", levels, histogram, etc..., and a hundred well written how-to articles will pop up.
     
  4. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Messages:
    8,115
    Likes Received:
    64
  5. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Messages:
    8,345
    Likes Received:
    68
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I desaturate the image in the Adobe RAW Developer. Fiddle with the Contrast/Brightness levers, add vignette if I like and by the time I come to PS, there is nothing much to do except for Shadow/Highlights, Curves and/or Brightness and Contrast.
     
  6. SLOShooter

    SLOShooter TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    0
  7. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,507
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    On photoshop my black and white process is this -

    Ctrl+Shift+U - Desaturate (turn to black and white). This usually however gives a rather lackluster dulll black and white version. I then adjust the photo using levels (Ctrl+L). I use this to make the photo more appealing but I don't use it totally to finish the photo. I then use britghtness/contrast to finish the highlights and shadows (Image>Adjustment>Brightness/Contrast) I use this to make the picture how I like which usually is a reasonable amount of contrast.

    Optional

    I sometimes add noise to the photo, there is an easy way to do this but the way I do it takes slightly longer but i feel gives a better effect.

    Once you have converted your picture to B&W you create a new layer and fill it black. Then go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. In here set the amount to maximum (400%). Then set this layer blend mode to Screen. This will get rid of the black on the layer. Then create another New Layer, then fill it with white. Use add noise again with 400%. This time however set the blend mode to multiply. This will get rid of the white on the layer. Then adjust the opacity of these to layers till you like the effect. I generally have the layer with black noise have less more opacity (more visible) than the white. Around the 5-20% amount is good.

    And thats it you have you blacka dn white photo with grains if you wish.
     
  8. kilifila66

    kilifila66 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    University Of Nebraska
    I would recommmend using a channel mixer and playing with the levels and curves to get the right balance. Check your histogram to get the optimal levels. I would also recommend searching the forums, there are a LOT of threads on this. Big Mike has a lot of knowledge on the subject, check his posts for lots of links.
     
  9. Onyx

    Onyx TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Washington
    there are two easy ways. if you dont care about losing color data you can use the desaturate command. however the hue/saturation dialog box is the best easy method for converting to b&w.
     
  10. becca

    becca TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    If you don't want to lose data, you can always use adjustment layers. I usually use a channel mixer adjustment layer, or a gradient map adjustment layer to convert to b&w.
     
  11. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,507
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    I save black and white conversions as separate files that way there's no loss of data. I think it doesn't really matter how you do it there all just a means to an end whats important is the end turns out.
     
  12. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Garden State
    I'm not sure what kind of media you are starting with be it film scanned in or digital. I shoot film and for all intensive purposes, once scanned, it is digital. Anyway, after having spent hours upon hours fiddling around in PS doing conversions I have come to this conclusion. Forget conversions and just shoot b&W film in the first place. When ever you come to a point where you are satisfied with your results; five minutes later you think of 10 other things to try on the computer and before you know it you can't see the forrest for the trees. Make all of the decisions about exposure with the camera instead of the computer. Experiment with different film types for effects rather then different mouse clicks.

    If you do shoot digital and not film, then please dis-regard everything I just typed. If you use PS and all digital is your case, let me know and I will dig through some of my lesson plans from when I used to teach PS and have a few things for you:)
     

Share This Page