Best Black and White Conversion

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by d70girl, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. d70girl

    d70girl TPF Noob!

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    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I really want my black and whites to "pop" and normally mine just look flat. Does anyone have any advice for the best way to convert them in Photoshop?

    I'm still having a little trouble knowing how to use the Curves function. Normally I just desaturate and play with the Brightness and Contrast until it looks okay.

    Advice wanted!!!
     
  2. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Well, technically there is no 'correct' way in all cases. Some image appeal better with a very contrasty black and white which to achieve this look I apply gradient map in addition to channel mixers (monochrome checked) and play around with the sliders to approximately come out with a total among the three of 100.

    Depending on the values, it may look like this:
    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile a softer black and white might be achieved by making a duplicate layer, changing the blending mode to soft light, channel mixers, and then using the hue/saturation to make it a black and white.
    That method was used for this:
    [​IMG]

    Essentially it is just play around and see how they come out. Have you tried using Levels before? I find it somewhat easier to use then curves (I often 'over use' curves and end up with a picture that is just entirely wrong)

    Sorry I wasn't much help
     
  3. Atlas

    Atlas TPF Noob!

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  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Here is a quick & simple method.

     
  5. fotogenik

    fotogenik TPF Noob!

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    THose are really nice, thanks for the linkage.

    Cheers,
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I think the lighting in those two images is having too big of an impact to make a good comparison, but thanks for the info. That second one wasn't a way I was aware of.

    Setting a good black point and white point after the conversion will have a big impact on the contrast of the image, and curves will help a lot with relative or local contrast. Lacking contrast is usually the main reason a b&w image lacks pop. Peanut's second image has softer diffuse light than the first one, but they both "pop", because they both have good image contrast.
     
  7. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    BTW, using brightness and contrast is considered destructive editing, meaning the pixels can lose their distinction from each other. I would look up tutorials on how to use levels/curves with adjustment layers. And instead of dodge/burn, which is also destructive, you can mask those layers.
     
  8. inneist

    inneist TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot, really, for everyone's informative tidbits.

    I spent the last several hours trying to find the parallel way in GIMP, but stumbled at the very first step. In the GIMP Hue Saturation Box, there's a selection of several primary colors to modify, but which one for the purpose of black-and-white conversion? I recall having read somewhere that green is the most important, is it true? And for the 'Hue' slider you talked about I was unable to find the right button.

    My second question is, since there's a simple operation: right-click on the image goes to layer goes to color goes to desaturate, how do you compare this one and the process you recommended?

    Thirdly, when doing B&W conversion, what important considerations are there in weighing a choice between the Grayslide route and the Desaturation route?

    Again, warm gratitude for what I've learnt from this thread.
     
  9. Remi M.

    Remi M. TPF Noob!

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    Here is what I do.

    1. I try the 3 different channels in the channels pallet. To quickly see what each one looks like in black and white.

    2. Than I create a channel mixer layer: click on monochrome and play around with the channels sliders till i get what I want.

    3. I create a levels layer. Than I click and hold the brightness slider (triangle) while holding ALT. I slide it to the left until I see the beginnings of pure whites than I back of a tad. Than I click and hold the shadows slider while holding ALT until I see pure black and I back of a tad. All this gives me a greater dynamic range. But it makes the image looks hazy...

    4. I create a curves layer. Than I give it the classic contrast S curve. By moving a point a 1/4 of the way from the top of the line up a little. Than by moving a point on the line a 1/4 of the way up from the bottom, down a little.
     
  10. David

    David TPF Noob!

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    My favourite method is similar to that quoted by Big Mike:

    1. Create a 'Selective Colour' adjustment layer above your image and just click ok for now.
    2. Create a 'Hue/Saturation' adjustment layer above the last one, and set the desaturation to 100% and click ok.
    3. Now double click the icon of the 'Selective Color' layer and let the fun begin.

    Using this method you have complete control over the C, M, Y & K values for the Reds, Yellows, Greens, Cyans, Blues, Whites, Neutrals and Blacks. This allows you to separately affect each individual colour as well as the highlights, midtones and shadows. It's great for getting punchy skies on Black and White images, especially if you forgot your ND gradient filters!

    There's so many ways to skin this cat, that you need to find the one that's right for you, so this one is added to the list to increase the choice.

    David
     
  11. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    For me, I juse go to Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map - then I choose the Black and White gradient and I have a B&W shot very close to what I like to see, then I just fiddle with curves/levels and such.
     
  12. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    Try this for size:
    Adjustments/Hue-Sat-Color/ De-saturate the color to B&W.
    Then go
    Adjustments/color balance/ then add a touch of yellow and red.
    Adjust your contrast and brightness and exposure as necessary.


    [​IMG]
     

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