Critique Black and White Conversion question

Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
20,346
Location
Idaho
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #41
As noted above- Black and white photography is about the tones. As an old fart black and white shooter, when I look at a scene all I see is tones. Colors do not really matter.
That old school is no longer completely true. Many of the new post processing techniques allow individual color control as well. It is a great time to be a photographer!!
My opinion- burn the hair a little and dodge a quick swipe across the eyes- 10 seconds and you are done.
This would be a good image for you to decide what you want YOUR black and white images to look like. You do not have to just click presets. Take some time, figure out what you like and how to get there. That is your new preset for next time. Do not be afraid to do some local dodging and burning- it really helps most images.
gary
Thanks for the excellent advice. I'm sure it takes a lot of experience before you can see a scene before you in tones. I will try to start thinking that way as I work on improving my ability to convert to black and white. I can see it is a complex process.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
20,346
Location
Idaho
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #43
This post proves, Terri, that if you had asked what time it is, I would have explained how to build a watch. :eek:

I used the following steps in the Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin to Photoshop CC in the following order:
  1. Preset 000 Neutral -- In effect, that preset provides the most control to the user and requires the most decisions to be made by the user.
  2. Hue slider value of 112 -- This slider attended to the tonalities in the face. I compared them to the tones in your conversion with your critique in mind that the face in your conversion looks too flat; my conversion perhaps displays more shape in the face though maybe at the risk of appearing too blotchy to your taste. (It doesn't appear at all blotchy to my taste and your conversion doesn't look to flat to my taste.)
  3. Strength slider value of 174 -- This slider (thankfully) affected the face very little, so I used it to minimize the distracting characteristics of the pattern in the shirt.
  4. Control Point -- Reduced the distracting brightness of the area of the shirt that is to the viewer's left of the chin.
  5. 6 Control Points -- Brightened the dark areas and darkened the bright areas of the pillow to minimize the distracting effect of its pattern.
I then used the following steps in Photoshop CC:
  1. Cloned to eliminate the distracting bright spot on the tip of the nose.
  2. Cropped to 8 x 10 aspect ratio and to reduce the size to one that hopefully emphasizes the face. (In so doing, I shamelessly placed the girl's left eye at the position determined by the Rule of Thirds.)

View attachment 1671927
A few quick notes about using Silver Efex Pro 2:

Hue Slider -- This slider has no effect on the image until the Strength slider located immediately below it is moved to the right. I generally begin by positioning the Strength slider in the middle and then adjusting the Hue slider until it meets my overall needs. I then adjust the Strength slider to fine tune the look.

Control Points -- A tip that was not immediately apparent to me, so I pass it along to you just in case you are not already aware of it -- After placing control points in the image, a pin is displayed for each control point so you can easily find all of them for the purpose of readjusting their settings. Those pins can become distracting. To hide the pins, hover the cursor anywhere within the panel on the right (or possibly anywhere outside the image?). To display the pins again, hover the cursor over anywhere in the image.

Ansel Adams Zone System -- In most images I make, I prefer that all 11 zones are displayed. In this image, I preferred relatively less dynamic range and contrast, so almost all tones are only in Zones 2 through 8. To review which tones in the image are in a particular zone, open Silver Efex's Loupe & Histogram mini panel located at the very bottom of the panel on the right. Hover the cursor over that mini panel to automatically display 11 boxes numbered 0 - 10 with each box representing a zone in the system. When you then hover the cursor over one of those boxes, the tones in that zone will be displayed in that image. This tool can be an invaluable guide because it not only displays which zones are included in the image but also exactly where they are displayed. Armed with that knowledge, you may then want to fine tune existing control points or add more of them to achieve the results that meet your vision of how the image should appear.
Mike, you have spent so much time helping me. I am most grateful. Your conversion looks great and I'm going to try to duplicate your steps as a learning experience. This evening when I have time I'm going to study all your notes here and let them sink in. Your tutorial here could be a valuable resource to a future reader of this thread as well. So, hopefully the time you spent will help more than just me. This just reinforces to me what an amazing place the cafe is. I have never asked for help with anything without being overwhelmed with the wonderful responses.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,379
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
In the B&W conversion I would dial back on the lips -- child looks as though she's wearing lipstick!
Excellent point, now corrected:

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
1,872
Location
Jupiter, FL
Real Name
Andy
I've been trying a few more but am finding that skin is tough to convert. Maybe I need to work on non human subjects first.
Apologies if this is too crude or rudimentary a tool (I know there are much more precise and refined ways), but for those just starting out in B&W conversions, this gets the job done very quickly in Lightroom Classic:

"Adjust B&W Mix by Dragging in Photo"

  1. In the Develop module, press "V" to switch to B&W (the HSL/Color pane changes to B&W)
  2. Click the button as shown below (this activates the cursor to allow selection of the desired area in the image)
  3. Navigate the crosshairs of the tool to the skin or any other area that requires adjustment
  4. Left click and drag up or down as desired, creating a global adjustment to the appropriate color(s)
  5. Fine tune adjustments in with the slider(s) as desired
You can often get a usable result in 15 seconds.

If other portions of the image are adversely affected by this global adjustment, further steps can be taken using your usual methods for local adjustments.
B-and-W-Adjustment.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

[Lightroom Classic v9.4]
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
20,346
Location
Idaho
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #49
Apologies if this is too crude or rudimentary a tool (I know there are much more precise and refined ways), but for those just starting out in B&W conversions, this gets the job done very quickly in Lightroom Classic:

"Adjust B&W Mix by Dragging in Photo"

  1. In the Develop module, press "V" to switch to B&W (the HSL/Color pane changes to B&W)
  2. Click the button as shown below (this activates the cursor to allow selection of the desired area in the image)
  3. Navigate the crosshairs of the tool to the skin or any other area that requires adjustment
  4. Left click and drag up or down as desired, creating a global adjustment to the appropriate color(s)
  5. Fine tune adjustments in with the slider(s) as desired
You can often get a usable result in 15 seconds.

If other portions of the image are adversely affected by this global adjustment, further steps can be taken using your usual methods for local adjustments.
View attachment 1671930
[Lightroom Classic v9.4]
I'm a Lightroom user. I'm going to try that!! Thanks so much!
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
1,702
Location
Johns Creek, Ga
Terri...my attempt. Not as bright, tried to bring out more tones.

Actual conversion in PS using the a couple hue saturation adjustments. Create two Hue/saturation adjustments, the one on top slide saturation to 0 and change blending mode to color, the one right below it move saturation to the right between 75 and 90 then move the hue slider and watch what it does to the various tones in the image. Once I'm hitting the tones I want I'll reduce the saturation slider a bit change the mask to black and then paint on the black mask with a white brush opacity 100 and flow 1%. This is what I did to try and get rid of some of the blotchiness.

Will merge everything below and then open up silver efex pro. Just using the basic panel on the right adjust highlights , middletones and shadows. Below that will adjust white and black contrast sliders. Apply and back into PS. Merge image and open in Color Efex Pro. Adjust Pro Contrast, Little Tonal Contrast usually between +3 to +7. In this image used Darken lighten center to add just a little more emphasis on the childs face.

Final was to create a grey soft light layer and fill with noise (add noise with a value of two). Merge all layers, crop. sharpen and save.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
4,659
Location
Columbia, Maryland
Real Name
Walter Rowe
Terri...my attempt. Not as bright, tried to bring out more tones.

Actual conversion in PS using the a couple hue saturation adjustments. Create two Hue/saturation adjustments, the one on top slide saturation to 0 and change blending mode to color, the one right below it move saturation to the right between 75 and 90 then move the hue slider and watch what it does to the various tones in the image. Once I'm hitting the tones I want I'll reduce the saturation slider a bit change the mask to black and then paint on the black mask with a white brush opacity 100 and flow 1%. This is what I did to try and get rid of some of the blotchiness.

Will merge everything below and then open up silver efex pro. Just using the basic panel on the right adjust highlights , middletones and shadows. Below that will adjust white and black contrast sliders. Apply and back into PS. Merge image and open in Color Efex Pro. Adjust Pro Contrast, Little Tonal Contrast usually between +3 to +7. In this image used Darken lighten center to add just a little more emphasis on the childs face.

Final was to create a grey soft light layer and fill with noise (add noise with a value of two). Merge all layers, crop. sharpen and save.
John - I REALLY like this. Lots of detail. Monochrome does not always have to match the tones of color. Rich detail and texture, appealing tonality, and strong graphical elements are for me the defining features of a great monochrome image.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
20,346
Location
Idaho
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #52
Terri...my attempt. Not as bright, tried to bring out more tones.

Actual conversion in PS using the a couple hue saturation adjustments. Create two Hue/saturation adjustments, the one on top slide saturation to 0 and change blending mode to color, the one right below it move saturation to the right between 75 and 90 then move the hue slider and watch what it does to the various tones in the image. Once I'm hitting the tones I want I'll reduce the saturation slider a bit change the mask to black and then paint on the black mask with a white brush opacity 100 and flow 1%. This is what I did to try and get rid of some of the blotchiness.

Will merge everything below and then open up silver efex pro. Just using the basic panel on the right adjust highlights , middletones and shadows. Below that will adjust white and black contrast sliders. Apply and back into PS. Merge image and open in Color Efex Pro. Adjust Pro Contrast, Little Tonal Contrast usually between +3 to +7. In this image used Darken lighten center to add just a little more emphasis on the childs face.

Final was to create a grey soft light layer and fill with noise (add noise with a value of two). Merge all layers, crop. sharpen and save.

View attachment 1671941
I really like what you have done. Thank you for providing the steps. I'm going to try to duplicate what you did and see how it works for me. I can't get to it till tonight....I'm working today.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,379
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
Very nice treatment, John! Your and my versions clearly show the overall results that vary because of your decision, unlike mine, to include the darker tones and perhaps some brighter tones as well, and perhaps a bit more mid-tone contrast. Two completely different styles made for completely different reasons; both styles the result of informed choices.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
1,702
Location
Johns Creek, Ga
Very nice treatment, John! Your and my versions clearly show the overall results that vary because of your decision, unlike mine, to include the darker tones and perhaps some brighter tones as well, and perhaps a bit more mid-tone contrast. Two completely different styles made for completely different reasons; both styles the result of informed choices.
Thanks Mike... Yes so many ways to interpret, and transform a color image into B&W. Besides the interpretations also so many ways to process the file. Can convert in Lightroom, C1, with plugins such as Silver Efex, Alien Skin Expsure , or with in photoshop using the channel mixer, black to white gradient map, or desaturate a hue saturation adjustment.

On top of that D&B, blend if, vignettes to further isolate or highlight certain aspects that you want to promote or hide.

One of the reasons I enjoy playing with the image to see where it takes me.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,379
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
Once John inadvertently gave me the idea of adding a negative vignette to add to the dream-like mood, I simply couldn't resist. Not much; just a touch.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
1,702
Location
Johns Creek, Ga
Once John inadvertently gave me the idea of adding a negative vignette to add to the dream-like mood, I simply couldn't resist. Not much; just a touch.

View attachment 1671959
Very nice, The other thing that I do at times is add from the adjustment tab a black to white gradient map, then on the mask either paint with low opacity black or if only want the effect in certain areas invert the mask so it's black and paint this areas in with a low flow white brush.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
1,702
Location
Johns Creek, Ga
Little more like the last light of day falling on her. Used the black to white gradient map on my prior image and then a curve adjutment where I lifted the black point up (input 0 output 43) and then the midpoint down and to the right (input 152 and output 111) The white point stayed at 255/255. Put a little haze/lowers the black contrast.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom