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Author Topic: B&W conversion help wanted  (Read 6183 times)

Lisa Nikodym

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B&W conversion help wanted
« on: September 21, 2006, 10:37:54 PM »

I fairly recently got the PS plug-in ConvertToB&WPro to do conversions from color to B&W, and sometimes am still stuggling to get results as good as I hope for out of it.  Attached are links to an image, both the original color version (capture sharpening applied, but nothing else done to it after a basic RAW conversion) and the B&W version I came up with using the plug-in (and a few other basic PS adjustments).

original color version link

processed B&W version link

I'm not happy with the tonalities in my conversion, but am struggling to figure out how to do it better.  I welcome suggestions on how others would do this differently.  If anyone wishes to start with the color version and make their own attempt at B&W conversion, that would be great.

Lisa

P.S.  Photo of the Eiger & Monch peaks with glaciers, from central Switzerland, taken on a recent vacation...

Fred Ragland

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2006, 12:06:59 AM »

Quote
...stuggling to get results as good as I hope for...[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The picture is awsome.

See if this could help

          [a href=\"http://av.adobe.com/russellbrown/ColortoBW.mov]http://av.adobe.com/russellbrown/ColortoBW.mov[/url]
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dobson

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2006, 01:06:51 AM »

Very nice photo. I decided to take a stab at converting this in PS7. I used the channel mixer, (the specific channels don't matter much as there isn't much color in the original), to convert to a grayscale. I then applied some curves to increase contrast without clipping the highlights or shadows. The second file is a quadtone grayscale of the same thing, this my help keep detail in the shadows on a print. I'm sure one could do much better, (and there are certainly easier ways), but I hope that this is at least close to what you are looking for.[attachment=966:attachment][attachment=967:attachment]
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Lisa Nikodym

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2006, 10:23:22 AM »

Thanks, guys.

The tutorial has good stuff in it; however, the plug-in I'm using for B&W conversion does something similar though with different controls.

I like dobson's version much better than mine.  In retrospect, I think my main problem was ending up with far too much contrast in the B&W version, losing the shadow detail.  I'll redo it with less contrast, paying more attention to what's happening in the shadows.  I have a tendency to crank up the contrast too much if I'm not careful...

Lisa

amtr_kid

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2006, 03:20:59 PM »

in my opinion your original image was very nice...it could well do without the conversion...u could increase the contrast a bit...

still couldn't resist myself from doing a conversion and see how it looks...
i liked a bit cooler look in the image...as the word mountain always gives me a chill.
i did it with tritone using a yellow PANTONE 100 C to highlight the patch of sunlight on uppper left
 
|| the readings were 20 : 9% and 30 : 5%
and a bit of purple PANTONE 270 C to give the cool feeling
 || in this case 50 : 40% and 100 : 95%

added a bit of contrast and dodged the right part a bit
tell me how do you (everybody) feel...for this would help me for my own conversions ...

i forgot to mention, the image is in adobe RGB so, a bit of difference than the oroginal is there when we view it on the browsers.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2006, 07:05:08 PM by amtr_kid »
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KSH

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2006, 04:29:31 AM »

Lisa,

Beautiful picture.

I usually find that my b/w conversions work best if I have first worked on the picture in colour and only do the conversion as a last step.

In addition, I believe (and you may be well aware of this) that global changes will not do to bring out the best in this picture. If I were you, I would try to stress the dramatic play of the light on the mountains. This will require cranking up contrast by some method or other (curves, applying the image (or one of it channels) to itself in overlay mode, or some such method), which I would do on a separate layer. To preserve the highlights, I would apply a "reveal all" mask and darken that mask with a soft brush at low opacity in the areas of the highlights.

Karsten
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KeithR

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2006, 04:58:39 PM »

Quote
I fairly recently got the PS plug-in ConvertToB&WPro to do conversions from color to B&W, and sometimes am still stuggling to get results as good as I hope for out of it.  Attached are links to an image, both the original color version (capture sharpening applied, but nothing else done to it after a basic RAW conversion) and the B&W version I came up with using the plug-in (and a few other basic PS adjustments).

original color version link

processed B&W version link

I'm not happy with the tonalities in my conversion, but am struggling to figure out how to do it better.  I welcome suggestions on how others would do this differently.  If anyone wishes to start with the color version and make their own attempt at B&W conversion, that would be great.

Lisa

P.S.  Photo of the Eiger & Monch peaks with glaciers, from central Switzerland, taken on a recent vacation...
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Lisa,
First off, I'm no critic, but the image is very nice. That said, as far as B&W conversion, I have adopted a technique that J.P Caponigro uses, and an action he has written for photoshop(which is also free). The site that I've included contains Adobe white papers and tutorials. There is some very good info there for you to explore. There is also his tutorial and the action to download for converting color to B&W. Try it. You'll find that it has a lot that you can do to create your own vision rather than relying on others presets. Have fun!  
[a href=\"http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/ps_pro_primers.html]http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/ps_pro_primers.html[/url]
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The destination is our goal but itís the journey that educates us.

Lisa Nikodym

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2006, 09:28:35 PM »

Thanks very much, all.  I like your versions, dobson & amtr_kid, much better than my original.  Here's my second attempt:

Second version link

I think I'll try yet another one more along the lines of yours, though - I still have a tendency to end up with too much contrast...

Lisa

dobson

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2006, 11:55:40 PM »

One thing to keep in mind is the publishing medium. Are you printing or posting to the web? Printed images aren't capable of the same contrast as a computer monitor; as a result detail in shadows can be lost on paper, even if the detail is apparent on screen. I've had to reprint many images because the shadows were to close to the blackpoint and had no detail. A simple curves adjustment brought these shadows back to life.

[attachment=989:attachment]
[attachment=990:attachment]


This is an example of a photo that looked fine on my monitor but needed some adjustment when I looked at the print. The lightened one looks much better on paper even though the contrast isn't as high.
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dbell

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B&W conversion help wanted
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2006, 01:00:50 PM »

Quote
Thanks very much, all.  I like your versions, dobson & amtr_kid, much better than my original.  Here's my second attempt:

Second version link

I think I'll try yet another one more along the lines of yours, though - I still have a tendency to end up with too much contrast...

Lisa
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78049\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree, and I have one comment to add: in my view, the reason the B&W versions  fall short of your expectations may be that (so far), they don't reflect the quality of the light or the subtle tonal relationships of the original image.

IMO, you are right that your first attempts were too high-contrast. I think they were also too bright, overall. In the original (color) image, there is a lot of detail visibile in the high values. You need to make sure you don't lose that when you do your B&W conversion, even if  that means that the final image ends up not containing anything that's truly "white" (in the level-255 sense of "white"). You may also want to find a way to express the subtle difference in value between the shaded and sunlit foreground elements (that difference is easily visible in the original image and somewhat lost in the conversions). Finally, to my eye, the tonal value of the sky seems to be too high in the B&W versions, which gives a different mood than the original capture.

The best advice I can give is to examine each channel individually and use the Channel Mixer (manually) to get the tonality that you want. You can adjust overall brightness and contrast after the fact. I'd also suggest that you consider burning and dodging local areas (AFTER B&W conversion) to really fine-tune the image. If you find the channel mixer painful to use (I often do), something like Convert-to-BW-Pro can be a winner, but you'll probably still need to make local adjustments.

I hope this helps. IMO, you have a very nice original image to work from.


db

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