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My B&W Technique

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Joe Marques, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. Since I've received some favorable compliments about my B&W work both here and on DPR I thought I'd post some details around my approach (although every shot is pretty much a unique experience, I tend to use the same basket of techniques on most shots). The goal of the final image is to really focus attention on the eyes while not being obvious.

    Here is the original shot:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Here is the final product:
    View attachment 6518

    Here is the animated GIF showing each stage described in detail below (allow this to load - it's 800k).

    Note the entire sequence will repeat (2 seconds each stage and 5 seconds for the final image):

    View attachment 6519

    Here are the tweaks seen in the GIF:

    1) Contrast: I used nik Efex Pro 2 "BW Tonal Balance" to add some contrast. I selectively painted in the contrast using a mask (brush opacity 10% so I gradually add contrast using a Wacom tablet to paint).

    2) Selective Dodge/Burn: I create a new OVERLAY layer and check the box for 50% gray (this fills the layer with gray). I then dodge/burn various areas to bring out detail in the eyes, deepen some shadows, calm some hot spots, and hilght some key lines like the lips and eye lids.

    3) Vignette: typical method of creating a layer, making an oval selection, inverting selection, feathering 160 pixels, filling with black and lowering opacity to around 30%

    4) Levels Adjustment: simply pulled the right end arrow LEFT to brighten the image (from 255 down to 240). Then pulled the middle (gamma) to the right to darken a bit (.96)

    Hope this is useful.

  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Joe, this is excellent and presented in such a way that I instantly see exactly what you are talking about. Thanks!
  3. Your GIF tutorial is great Joe, thanks.
  4. Fantastic presentation. Thank you Joe!! :)  :)  :)  :) 
  5. Chris, Gordon, and Bryan,

    Thanks for the comments. I'm glad you found this helpful.

  6. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hey Joe,

    Just saw your post. This is just the kind of expert tutorial that we need here at the Cafe, to show us noobs what can be done if you know what to do. 8)

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. :wink:


  7. That's very generous of you, thank you. I must add I appreciate the effective pedagogical approach you followed. And excellent results too.
  8. tweber


    Feb 12, 2005
    St. Louis
    Thanks Joe.

    What a great tutorial.

  9. Wow
    Joe thanks a lot I appreciate it very much great info presented in a clear and concise way
  10. obelix


    Mar 17, 2005
    Fremont, CA, USA
    Thanks Joe, truly appreciate this.
  11. NeilCam


    Feb 21, 2005
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I'll simply second this and add my grateful thanks.

  12. Frank, chbar, Tom, Mike, obelix, and Neil,

    I'm glad all of you found this useful. It's fun to share with such a good group of people at NC.

  13. Hi Joe,

    Nice job on the B/W but here is a suggestion and that is to put this in the Photoshop forum since this is technically a PS technique. That way those who visit that forum will see it. Other than that, thanks for the instructions. It will come in handy:) 
  14. Joe, you're relly creating photos out of photos out of Wacoms out of PCs out of PSCSs and other warez out of ...nothing!!!! E X C E L L E N T ! ! !

    Is there a University degree on this cratf? :D 
  15. Hi Melissa,

    This was first in the general discussion forum then uncle frank moved it to the PS forum but now the PS forum no longer exists (???) so it's here. Strange.

  16. :D :D :D  Funny stuff Panos. Thanks for the comments. :) 


  17. Sorry Joe,

    Patrick just told me that the Photoshop fora has been combined with 'technical discussion' so I am very sorry for what I said. I had not idea that some foras are being combined.
  18. No need to be sorry, we both thought the PS forum was still around. :D 
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