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Author Topic: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?  (Read 5139 times)

Eric Brody

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I start my post processing in LR5. Many of my images are destined to be black and white. A respected teacher instructed me to work on an image in color and do the monochrome conversion in Photoshop. I use Silver Effex Pro 2. In the past I have worked in the image in LR with all the color controls, vibrance, the HSL panel, etc. I then bring the image into CS6, spot it, and run an action that uses Silver Effex Pro as a smart filter (so I can modify it later if I wish). I have friends who do lovely black and white work who convert in LR. I have tried that as well and do not see a lot of difference in the conversion. I realize I can use Silver Effex in LR as well.

Is there a theoretical reason to do all the color "perfection" in LR when the image will be converted later? Or is this another one of those situations where there are many ways to do the same thing in Photoshop?

Thanks for any comments or suggestions.



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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2013, 08:16:28 PM »

... Is there a theoretical reason to do all the color "perfection" in LR when the image will be converted later?

Creating "perfect" color first, before converting to b&w, might be a waste of time. Colors that look "perfect" for a color photograph may or may not (more likely) be "perfect" for conversion. For example (a really crude and basic one), a color photograph might look "perfect" when composed of only two colors, green and red, yet, when converted, you would get a more or less uniform gray image. However, if you play with colors to suit the end result in b&w, and then revert to color, you might end up with a strange looking color photograph. Another example: a sky that is almost black in a b&w might look striking, yet equally dark blue sky in a color photograph would look rather strange.

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 08:41:35 PM »

Most of my photos end up in B&W, but I always work them up in color first, in LightRoom. When I know that I'm going to convert to B&W, I sometimes give the saturation a boost before converting, just to increase the separation between colors. Then I can play with the sliders in LR to get just the shade of gray I want for each color.

I have Silver Efex Pro, and I have used it some, but I prefer to do my conversions in LR. I only pop over to PS for spotting, cloning, or context-aware stuff, and that's all before converting to B&W. I generally make a snapshot of the best color version before converting, then make a copy, convert the copy, and make another snapshot of the best B&W.

Works for me, but YMMV.
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luxborealis

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2013, 10:47:20 PM »

Do it all in LR before Silver Efex - you won't get an unnecessarily bloated PS file. And if you are moving to PS and using ACR, then that really doesn't make sense at all as it's the same as LR for the most part. The more you can do with/to the raw file in LR (not just the 8 colours, but with white balance, contrast, clarity, etc) the better; it saves steps and time.
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john beardsworth

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2013, 05:38:24 AM »

More a matter of there being an ideal way, but then individual choices to limit disc space or discard the ability to revisit your SFX work later etc.

The OP is getting good advice. Not every image benefits from being perfected as a colour image, but I'd take a line close to Eric M in that a "perfect" colour image will be the best starting point for B&W and allow more creative control over the conversion and better tonal separation. If a picture is going to be edited in SFX, best to send it as a colour image and remain free to use SFX's colour filter in conjunction with its other tools. Isn't sending a b&w to SFX uncomfortably close to turd polishing?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 05:50:28 AM by johnbeardy »
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PhotoEcosse

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2013, 09:46:31 AM »

Generally speaking, SilverEfexPro2 will do a better conversion of a colour Raw to mono than a Lightroom B&W conversion will provide. Just hugely more control over the conversion process.

My theory, which works for me, is that SEP2 should be given the maximum amount of unadulterated Raw data to play with. So, if I am intending to do a mono conversion, I "kill" all the import preset adjustments in Lightroom (generally by creating a Virtual Copy and hitting the Reset button and then sliding sharpness down to zero, remove camera nad lens adjustments, etc.). I then right-click and choose "Edit in Silver Efex Pro2".

I then save the conversion back into Lightroom and may make some minor tweaks and possibly re-instate lens profiles, etc.  before printing from Lightroom using Epson's "Advanced B&W" profile on an R3000.

As I say, it works for me. But I acknowledge that, as in most post-exposure processing workflows, there are often several ways of obtaining similar results.
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Isaac

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2013, 10:38:37 AM »

... but I prefer to do my conversions in LR. I only pop over to PS for spotting, cloning, or context-aware stuff ...

As LR provides a Spot Removal Brush that does clean and heal, I'm mildly curious that you choose not to use that but use PS instead?
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john beardsworth

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2013, 10:48:53 AM »

Several ways, obviously, just not all equal.

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2013, 11:52:46 AM »

As LR provides a Spot Removal Brush that does clean and heal, I'm mildly curious that you choose not to use that but use PS instead?
I prefer CS6 for cloning, spotting, and healing for two reasons:

1.   LR is awkward to use or unusable for anything more complex than a few little spots, and

2.   I've used CS for much longer than LR had any spotting capability, so it's quicker and easier for me than trying to do it in LR. If I didn't already have CS6 I'd spend more time getting used to LR's spotting, but I have no need to, and popping over to CS6 and back adds only a very few seconds to the process.
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kikashi

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2013, 01:04:54 PM »

Slobodan & Terry's answers are different but both make imo perfect sense. A situation where subjectivity triumphs over objectivity?  :)

How can a black-and-white photograph ever be otherwise?

Jeremy
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David A

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 03:27:57 AM »

Otherwise what?

Otherwise than subjective.

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john beardsworth

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 03:33:53 AM »

Or where something making "IMO perfect sense" is "a situation where subjectivity triumphs over objectivity"....

john beardsworth

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2013, 04:40:41 AM »

No. Yawn.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2013, 04:55:37 AM »

Is there a theoretical reason to do all the color "perfection" in LR when the image will be converted later? Or is this another one of those situations where there are many ways to do the same thing in Photoshop?

Hi Eric,

When it is known from the start that the image will be converted to 'Black and White', IMHO it would make sense to optimize the Raw conversion for an optimal data content in the R/G/B channels. That means that the technical image quality would benefit from having the three channel histograms as well filled as is reasonable.

Subsequent color balancing in desaturated color mode will then have the most detailed data to work on, and allow the best control over tonalities to achieve local contrast variation (if that helps the image from a creative point of view).

It won't hurt to start with a correctly white balanced Raw conversion, especially when you don't know in advance whether the image works better in B/W or color. But once the decision is made for B/W, why rob yourself from the maximum quality and control over the end-result? It's easy enough to make a variant with a different color balance, specifically for the purpose of optimal B/W conversions.

Cheers,
Bart
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john beardsworth

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Re: work on color in LR when the image wil be converted to black & white in PS?
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2013, 05:40:11 AM »

No, bored with your inane contributions.
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