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Newbie - B&W Conversion [Image]
Old 03-28-2005, 10:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi all,

Finally signed up after lurking for ages.

Took this shot of my wife last night:-

[image]http://image.pbase.com/u34/gmccord/large/41346486.IMG_3915bw.jpg[image]

and attempted a B&W conversion in PSCS, using a freebie plugin from OptikVerve Labs, but I'm not too impressed. Can anyone point me in the direction of the best B&W conversion filter - or should I attempt it on the 20D directly?

I also know that I need to get my model farther away from the BG and I needed a stronger fill - although I quite like it. Still not sure about bringing the red detail back in PS, any comments?

(I'm just a beginner but I welcome honest citicism)

Best Wishes!
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Re: Newbie - B&W Conversion [Image]
Old 03-28-2005, 11:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think the problem you have with the image is that it is very flat looking. There is no real speration between the grey of the background and the grey of her skin.

You can fix this by learning to use the channel mixer method to convert to black and white or I have a PS action that can guide you through the conversion to get an image with better contrast.

If you want the action just PM me your email address and I'll send it to you.

James

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Re: Newbie - B&W Conversion [Image]
Old 03-28-2005, 12:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've seen that most people use the channel mixer and I'm wondering why. I just change the image mode to grayscale from RGB color. Why would the channel mixer be the better method?

Also, I don't even know if I have a channel mixer in Photoshop 5.5...
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Re: Newbie - B&W Conversion [Image]
Old 03-28-2005, 12:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The only reason for using the channel mixer is that is gives you greater control over the conversion process. In the end you should always use what ever method feels right to you and that you are happy with. There is no one right way to do things.

James
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Re: Newbie - B&W Conversion [Image]
Old 03-28-2005, 12:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You may be right, I just attempted the conversion with Channel Mixer and I like the result better.

She has some new white lingerie that I might persuade her to model in tonight. Any ideas on how I can get a full length shot using my 36"*36" softbox? If I move it back and higher will that do the trick, or am I restricted to the bounds of the SB? (I do have a second strobe and silver/shoot-through brollys, but this is currently being used as a hairlight with a snoot)

Any advice much appreciated.


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Re: Newbie - B&W Conversion [Image]
Old 03-30-2005, 08:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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spoken like a true beginner... But that's okay - you're here to learn.

B+W is not simply the absence of color. Many of us raised on film, especially b+w film, know that color/tonal value of a scene can be enhanced or diminished with a filter. A yellow filter will darken skies just a bit and enhance foliage. A red filter smooths skin and adds considerable drama to a landscape. Read up on Ansel Adams - he understood the importance of "color" in b+w photography.

With digital, it isn't really that different. In fact, I am learning that digi b+w allows me more creativity in creating a final image. A few things to remember:
If you have a digi camera with a b+w mode - forget it even exists. Don't ever ever use it. B+W modes on digi cameras are hideous. Same goes for sepia modes. BLECH!
Don't simply convert to grayscale and tweak with brightness/contras. Why throw away all of that color information?

Here's my digi b+w technique.
Shoot in color.
Tweak your color balance, do your touch ups, clean up your image all in full color.
Create a hue/saturation layer.
Create a second hue/saturation layer.
In the top HS layer, turn the saturation all the way down to 0. That will give you a basic grayscale image.
In the bottom HS layer, change the mode to "color" then open the layer control. Pick a color. I ususally start with red. Slide that Hue control back and forth and see how it changes your image. Same with the saturation and level bars. Move them around until you find the image you like.
Play with the other colors, esp. yellow and green.
This is exactly like adding filters to the front of your lens if you're shooting b+w film.

Give it a try!

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