b+w conversion technique [tutorial - long] Part 1

Started May 27, 2005 | Discussions thread
OP yirmon Senior Member • Posts: 1,930
b+w conversion technique [tutorial - long] Part 2

=== Part 2 ===


The sky looks good now, but the foreground and background needs a little punch so we’ll do a curves adjustment

i) Create a Curves adjustment layer

ii) We’ll add an S curve to be make the light areas lighter, and the dark areas darker, thus increasing the contrast. At this point concentrate only on the lower half of the picture

Now the the white clouds are blown out. Not to worry, we’ll just mask out the area we don’t want the adjustment layer to affect

iii) Select the layer mask thumbnail and then select the Brush tool (B)

iv) Tip: press d to reset the foreground and background colours to black and white. Press x to alternate the foreground and background colours

Layer masks are great once you understand how to use them. Basically, if you paint an area black, it will remove the effects of the adjustment layer. If you paint an area white, it will allow the effects of the adjustment layer.

v) With a large soft black brush paint over the area of the sky on the image itself. This removes the effect of the adjustment layer. Don’t worry if you make a mistake – just hit x and paint over the area you want to bring back

Tip: hold down Alt and click on the layer mask thumnail to see the mask as it affects the picture itself

The image looks good now and I’m happy with it. But, I love my images to look dark and contrasty, so here’s another couple of steps I might try:


A) Repeat steps b to k above, however:

A1) In steps c and d just left click once on the darkest area of the image;

A2) In step e make sure the fuzziness value isn’t too high;

A3) In step h in the levels dialogue box, select a midtone value of 0.9


B) Go to Filter> Sharpen> Unsharp Mask and enter the following values

This will add a little more pop to your image. If you want even more try 12%, or if less try 8%. When carrying out this step watch out that 1) you don’t blow the highlights, and 2) you don’t lose too much detail in the shadows


As my final step I usually like to add a little warmth to my b+w images and do this by following this great tutorial:

I found it quite a difficult tutorial to follow, and I know how lazy you all are, so here’s an action I made for it [paypal donations accepted]


1. Flatten the image (Layer> Flatten Image) and then run the action. You’ll notice that the image is too brown

2. Double click the brown Solid Colour adjustment layer thumbnail

3. I usually chose a brown that’s almost black. I just want to warm it up, not give it a sepia effect. A colour of #160E02 works well in this case

The final image:

And that my friends, is all. Hopefully some of you will find this useful. If anything is unclear just let me know.



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