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Thread: B&W conversions, suggestions please

  1. #1
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    B&W conversions, suggestions please

    I started playing a bit with B&W conversions, thinking to myself "how hard can it be?" Well, let's just say that now I know better than to ask that. Many of you may have gone through these steps so long ago that you may find this post slightly humorous; you are exactly the people that I hope will be able to share some secret sauce with me.

    So here is my progression so far. The CS4 greyscale conversion was nowhere near acceptable. Simple desaturation was no better. I tried the B&W adjustment layer approach, and while I find the idea of being able to click on an area and shift the level slider for that tone around, I still wasn't getting what I wanted out of it. The results were still a bit flat for my taste.

    Out of frustration I downloaded the DxO FilmPack trial and played with that a bit. Here is the image I was starting with; I actually just wanted a crop from this but I don't have the cropped color version uploaded:



    The image was cropped and some high-pass sharpening applied, then flattened and saved out as 16-bit TIFF for the B&W conversion. Note that there are a couple of different crops below; the images started out as crops of the same large file and are identical except for the crop.

    Here is one attempt using FilmPack; It looked somewhat OK(still not what I was hoping for) but then darkened significantly when uploaded:



    Here is a subsequent attempt using different settings in FilmPack; somewhat better, but still not what I envisioned and it also darkened from what I saw on-screen:



    Throughout this process I did various web searches, looking at what were essentially variations on the same CS4 steps I had already run through. Finally I stumbled upon this technique which involves a conversion to Lab color, grabbing the luminance channel, converting it to greyscale, and performing some manipulations on it back in the RGB colorspace.

    The result is far and away better than I was getting with previous methods:



    I lightened it a bit too much prior to upload, but I am definitely getting into the ballpark. Regarding the darkening, maybe I'm missing something; Of course I convert to 8-bit prior to "Save As"... JPEG; I don't see a way to convert to sRGB before saving, only a way to turn off the ProPhoto ICC profile. I have a feeling that this problem is colorspace-related but I just haven't found the secret handshake yet.

    Your thoughts?
    α900+VG|F20|2xF58|16-35,24-70,135Z|STF|70-400G|50,85 1.4|16,20,28,100M,80-200APO f/2.8|28-135|500f/8|1x-3xMacro|2xMFC-1000|Tiltall+RRS, Bellows, etc.

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    Re: B&W conversions, suggestions please


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    Re: B&W conversions, suggestions please

    Nice video, I've actually tried all of those. My link above is a method that expands on the Lab Lightness Channel method to great effect.
    α900+VG|F20|2xF58|16-35,24-70,135Z|STF|70-400G|50,85 1.4|16,20,28,100M,80-200APO f/2.8|28-135|500f/8|1x-3xMacro|2xMFC-1000|Tiltall+RRS, Bellows, etc.

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    Re: B&W conversions, suggestions please

    Seriously, if you´re already in the mood to experiment, try Nik Silver Efex Pro! They offer a 15-days trial version. I downloaded it as an Aperture-plugin some time ago and the conversions convinced me and were easy to set. But as long as I have my darkroom, I will rather spent my money on film and paper :-D

    Benjamin
    Last edited by Slixtiesix; 30th December 2009 at 04:46.

  5. #5
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    Re: B&W conversions, suggestions please

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Anderson View Post
    Regarding the darkening, maybe I'm missing something; Of course I convert to 8-bit prior to "Save As"... JPEG; I don't see a way to convert to sRGB before saving, only a way to turn off the ProPhoto ICC profile. I have a feeling that this problem is colorspace-related but I just haven't found the secret handshake yet.
    Instead of using the "Save As" command, use "Save For Web & Devices" and make sure the "convert to sRGB" box is checked. See if that makes a difference.

    I agree with the PP, download the Silver Efex Pro trial. It is fabulous software.

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    Re: B&W conversions, suggestions please

    Thanks TG, that was exactly the kick in the pants that I needed. I figured it had to be something obvious, but I'm still getting used to working in color space >sRGB. My digital imaging experience over the last 5 years has been with a camera that produces JPEG only, I've been learning a lot since jumping into the DSLR world.

    The result below looks just like the image did in PS before I saved it out. I'll try the Nik software later when I have budget for it... With other already-planned purchases and with one of the cats suddenly needing $1500 worth of work(or the vet suddenly needing $1500 ) I think I can work with what I have for now -- but it's definitely on my list to check out. Thanks for the tip.



    Note that this was just one of a series of family snapshots... I'm looking forward to trying this on a photo that is more carefully composed(less cropping), focused, and lit.
    α900+VG|F20|2xF58|16-35,24-70,135Z|STF|70-400G|50,85 1.4|16,20,28,100M,80-200APO f/2.8|28-135|500f/8|1x-3xMacro|2xMFC-1000|Tiltall+RRS, Bellows, etc.

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    Re: B&W conversions, suggestions please

    get some fractals


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    Re: B&W conversions, suggestions please

    Interesting... I see that was done in CS4. A plugin or native functionality?
    α900+VG|F20|2xF58|16-35,24-70,135Z|STF|70-400G|50,85 1.4|16,20,28,100M,80-200APO f/2.8|28-135|500f/8|1x-3xMacro|2xMFC-1000|Tiltall+RRS, Bellows, etc.

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    Re: B&W conversions, suggestions please

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Anderson View Post
    Interesting... I see that was done in CS4. A plugin or native functionality?
    fractals -> plugin... something like redfield fractalius ( http://www.redfieldplugins.com/filterFractalius.htm ) - several layers each w/ various effects from fractalius with various blend modes/opacity and then flatten and to b/w

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