Would like help finding best method converting to b/w

Started Apr 13, 2004 | Discussions
Texantransplant New Member • Posts: 21
Would like help finding best method converting to b/w

I would like to hear how people convert thier images to b/w to get the best results.
Here is my attempt. Feel free to take color image and apply your own settings.

Thanks

color version

black and white version

OP Texantransplant New Member • Posts: 21
Re: Would like help finding best method converting to b/w

Photo was taken with 85 1.8D lens

Texantransplant wrote:

I would like to hear how people convert thier images to b/w to get
the best results.
Here is my attempt. Feel free to take color image and apply your
own settings.

Thanks

color version

black and white version

thomas1973 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,477
B&W conversion

The retouch forum have some great suggestions. You could try this thread:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1009&message=1942374

For a low down on my B&W, I usually do a quick color correction, and leves/curves, check the individual channels, then use Channel Mixer with monochrome checked. This lets you control the B&W conversion almost like using color filters on the lens of a B&W film SLR, by controlling the red/green/blue input.

From here on it depends on the pic.

A quick and very effective trick I found, was (after flattening) copying the layer (ctrl+A then ctrl+J) then go tho layers pallette and change blending mode to soft light. Instant added contrast! If it's too much, dial in the amount with the opacity slider.

For some subjects, the hard light or even vivid light blend mode can give a hars but sometimes very good effect.

Some subjects (especially colorful ones) can benefit from a 'Selective Color' adjustment layer ( put it underneath the B&W Channel Mixer layer so it can work on the colors). Here you can control RGB and CMYK as well as the light, neutral and dark parts individually.

Often I use none of the two above mentioned, but go straight from channel mixer to dodging and burning using this technique: Layer> New> Layer, from the pop up window, change blending mode to 'Overlay', then check the appearing 'Fill with 50% grey' checkbox. Still on this new 'overlay' layer, choose default (black/white) colors (D) and pick a soft brush. Dial in a brush opacity of between 4-14% and paint with black for burning, white for dodging. Change between black and white with (X).

This technique gives you a lot more control over the dodging/burning than using dodge/bur tools, plus you do it on a separate layer. You can even dampen the overall dodge/burn by changing layer opacity in the end.

Flatten, sharpen and save.

I don't like doing batch conversions on my B&W, as I find most of them need some manual adjustment for optimal results. Plus I like the conversion process

This was pretty scetchy, so please post if something is unclear, or you need more info.

Thomas.

OP Texantransplant New Member • Posts: 21
Re: B&W conversion

Thanks Thomas1973 I will give it a shot.

thomas1973 wrote:

The retouch forum have some great suggestions. You could try this
thread:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1009&message=1942374

For a low down on my B&W, I usually do a quick color correction,
and leves/curves, check the individual channels, then use Channel
Mixer with monochrome checked. This lets you control the B&W
conversion almost like using color filters on the lens of a B&W
film SLR, by controlling the red/green/blue input.

From here on it depends on the pic.

A quick and very effective trick I found, was (after flattening)
copying the layer (ctrl+A then ctrl+J) then go tho layers pallette
and change blending mode to soft light. Instant added contrast! If
it's too much, dial in the amount with the opacity slider.

For some subjects, the hard light or even vivid light blend mode
can give a hars but sometimes very good effect.

Some subjects (especially colorful ones) can benefit from a
'Selective Color' adjustment layer ( put it underneath the B&W
Channel Mixer layer so it can work on the colors). Here you can
control RGB and CMYK as well as the light, neutral and dark parts
individually.

Often I use none of the two above mentioned, but go straight from
channel mixer to dodging and burning using this technique:
Layer> New> Layer, from the pop up window, change blending mode to
'Overlay', then check the appearing 'Fill with 50% grey' checkbox.
Still on this new 'overlay' layer, choose default (black/white)
colors (D) and pick a soft brush. Dial in a brush opacity of
between 4-14% and paint with black for burning, white for dodging.
Change between black and white with (X).

This technique gives you a lot more control over the
dodging/burning than using dodge/bur tools, plus you do it on a
separate layer. You can even dampen the overall dodge/burn by
changing layer opacity in the end.

Flatten, sharpen and save.

I don't like doing batch conversions on my B&W, as I find most of
them need some manual adjustment for optimal results. Plus I like
the conversion process

This was pretty scetchy, so please post if something is unclear, or
you need more info.

Thomas.

Luke Kaven Veteran Member • Posts: 5,715
Re: Would like help finding best method converting to b/w

One important issue in B&W rendering is especially important if you are rendering to an 8-bit output device in the end, which is most of the time. There can be only 256 shades of grey in 8 bits, including black and white, so it is absolutely vital that you assign those shades optimally. As a part of that, you would do all of your level and balance adjustments using the RAW data in full 12-bit mode. Recall that you have (at least) 12 bits to work with in each channel, of which at least 10 bits are probably above the noise floor. Use those with curves, channel mixing, level adjustments, or what-have-you to get the best range of tones you can. Only at the end should you do the conversion to greyscale. Once you have something in greyscale, you should pretty much leave it alone.

Also, there are a lot of people who are into doing 12-bit B&W (4096 shades) and getting fantastic results on Epson printers. I'm just learning this, so I can't give you the links that everyone knows. But I'm looking forward to learning more about it.

I played with your posted photo a bit in Photoshop, and found some good renderings by doing a level adjustment first to normalize the range of tones. Then I used the channel mixer on monochrome settings to dial in some RGB filter settings. I could email you the result if you'd like, which is one way where there are myriad variations you might favor yourself. [Write me at telos123@hotmail.com and I'll mail the JPG.]

Luke

Texantransplant wrote:

I would like to hear how people convert thier images to b/w to get
the best results.
Here is my attempt. Feel free to take color image and apply your
own settings.

Thanks

OP Texantransplant New Member • Posts: 21
Re: Would like help finding best method converting to b/w

Luke

Thanks for yopur reply I have emailed you.

Luke Kaven wrote:
One important issue in B&W rendering is especially important if you
are rendering to an 8-bit output device in the end, which is most
of the time. There can be only 256 shades of grey in 8 bits,
including black and white, so it is absolutely vital that you
assign those shades optimally. As a part of that, you would do all
of your level and balance adjustments using the RAW data in full
12-bit mode. Recall that you have (at least) 12 bits to work with
in each channel, of which at least 10 bits are probably above the
noise floor. Use those with curves, channel mixing, level
adjustments, or what-have-you to get the best range of tones you
can. Only at the end should you do the conversion to greyscale.
Once you have something in greyscale, you should pretty much leave
it alone.

Also, there are a lot of people who are into doing 12-bit B&W (4096
shades) and getting fantastic results on Epson printers. I'm just
learning this, so I can't give you the links that everyone knows.
But I'm looking forward to learning more about it.

I played with your posted photo a bit in Photoshop, and found some
good renderings by doing a level adjustment first to normalize the
range of tones. Then I used the channel mixer on monochrome
settings to dial in some RGB filter settings. I could email you
the result if you'd like, which is one way where there are myriad
variations you might favor yourself. [Write me at
telos123@hotmail.com and I'll mail the JPG.]

Luke

Texantransplant wrote:

I would like to hear how people convert thier images to b/w to get
the best results.
Here is my attempt. Feel free to take color image and apply your
own settings.

Thanks

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