Rufus - B&W Conversion

Jun 15, 2008
I'm still new to B&W conversion, and I got some great tips from the_traveler last time (thanks Lew) on my Penn Theatre shots. I'd like some good hard critique as well as suggestions on what to change.

The mood I'm trying to capture here is lazy, sleeping on a summer afternoon. I think there were some blown highlights at the top of his head, which I cropped out. Lots of shadow under his nose, but I wasn't able to recover the detail so far.

Suggestions? Different crop? Some gaussian blur to soften up everything but his face?

Edit: If someone wants a link to the original full-size image, let me know..


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May 7, 2007
Glasgow, Scotland, UK

You've asked for critique, so here is my tuppence worth, if thats ok.

I'm not certain your starting image was the best to work with so in that case your end result (B&W) conversion will always lack.

I'm not sure how you are doing your B&W conversion but when I first got into it I found a set of actions that will run a whole pile of different techniques, you then cycle through your history and choose one which suits your taste.

Let me go try and find it...

Hmmm, I was certain I got it from atncentral, but it doesn't seem to be there anymore ??? Anyway there are stacks of other B&W conversions on there for you to try and if you really want the one I was talking about, let me know and I'll email it to you.

If you dont mind me saying, your B&W looks a little flat to me, I like really contrasty B&W but I suppose that may not work too well with your objective.

You mentioned soft light, you coudl give this a go:

After you have made your B&W conv, run some sharpening of your choice, I usually use USM. Flatten all layers or stamp visible (ctrl +alt+shift+e).

On this new layer go filter blur gaussian blur and dial in about 30 pixels, then chnage the blending mode to soft light and dial the opacity back to suit. You could then add a layer mask and paint out the areas that you want to remain sharp e.g. eyes ?

Hope this helps.

Best Wishes


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