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Thread: How to get this great BW tones?

  1. #1
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    How to get this great BW tones?

    Browsing flickr I found the images below and I would appreciate if someone could educate me on how to get these rich grey tones and deep blacks scanning BW film. When I try to do add contrast on my scanned images I end up losing these greys:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-CDMED-2j43.../s1600/set.jpg

    http://magda-andrzejewska.blogspot.c...c910c66254fd70

    Thanks,

    Abel
    Last edited by gogoabel; 2nd October 2013 at 01:04.

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    Re: How to get this great BW tones?

    Well, there's no magic bullet, but I'd start with good negatives. Expose for the shadow, but not too much so you get grainy highlights. Do not overdevelop. Most published manufacturers' times presume development for a higher gamma than you want or need, especially for creamy skin tones.

    Stay away from non-fine grain developers such as Rodinal. Instead, use a fine-grain film such as TMX or, better yet, use as large a format as you can. Develop, again somewhat less than indicated on the bag, box, or bottle, in a grain-cutting developer such as Microdol-X or D-76 straight.

    Beyond all that, if you want creamy tones, seek out or create creamy light. Use overcast skies, or soft-boxes. Try older, single-coated lenses, or use a little diffusion. Any or all of those elements can be used to add some cream to highlights and skin tones. Experiment until you find a technique that gets you what you want. Just be aware, it's not as simple as Magic Film X in Magic Developer Y.

    Hope this helps.
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  3. #3
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    Re: How to get this great BW tones?

    Quote Originally Posted by HamSammich View Post
    Well, there's no magic bullet, but I'd start with good negatives. Expose for the shadow, but not too much so you get grainy highlights. Do not overdevelop. Most published manufacturers' times presume development for a higher gamma than you want or need, especially for creamy skin tones.

    Stay away from non-fine grain developers such as Rodinal. Instead, use a fine-grain film such as TMX or, better yet, use as large a format as you can. Develop, again somewhat less than indicated on the bag, box, or bottle, in a grain-cutting developer such as Microdol-X or D-76 straight.

    Beyond all that, if you want creamy tones, seek out or create creamy light. Use overcast skies, or soft-boxes. Try older, single-coated lenses, or use a little diffusion. Any or all of those elements can be used to add some cream to highlights and skin tones. Experiment until you find a technique that gets you what you want. Just be aware, it's not as simple as Magic Film X in Magic Developer Y.

    Hope this helps.
    Many thanks, this info sounds quite helpful.

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    Re: How to get this great BW tones?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogoabel View Post
    Browsing flickr I found the images below and I would appreciate if someone could educate me on how to get these rich grey tones and deep blacks scanning BW film.
    You shouldn't try to do it during scanning at all. The best scan you can do is sort of flat and boring, ensuring all the information is in the file and making sure there is no clipping of blacks or whites. It will look awful, but the scanner has done its job without you having to struggle with its limited adjustments to create the image you want.

    But armed with your flat and boring scanned image you then use Photoshop or Lightroom and the far greater control they offer to mould the tones you want. A good addition is to use Silver Efex Pro as a Photoshop plugin, it offers a much faster and easier way to deal with multiple adjustments that normally would only be possible with many levels of Layers and Masks in Photoshop.

    Steve
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_barnett/
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  5. #5
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    Re: How to get this great BW tones?

    Develop for a chalky scale, then scan and tone map. Possibly a little negative structure if you use Silver efex. Tint the paper off-white and add a subtle vignette.

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