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High contrast b&w

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  #1  
Old 12-07-2009, 09:14 PM
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mikedimples mikedimples is offline
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High contrast b&w

I just read a thread complaining about people not explaining their work, so here's what I did (5 hours):

1. I decided on the composition: I wanted to have him almost exiting the frame to the right side. I feel like it gives the image a sense of movement, and urgency. I want the final image to be black and white and RAZOR sharp, so I mentally prepared for the dodge and burn marathon I was about to do.

2. I used Healing brush on large blemishes, split the frequencies with a radius of 9, then portraitured the low frequency to take the edge off the upcoming d&b.

3. D&b face and some body for blemish removal

4. Luminosity masked curves adjustment layers to adjust tonal values.

5. More dodge and burn - more skin healing as well as carving, plus a little liquify.

6. Added contrast with curves, desaturated image with b&w adjustment layer set to saturation blending mode.

7. Second frequency split, this time for sharpening (radius: 3). Smart sharpened the high frequency layer twice, one deconvolution (high amount low radius), then one high radius low amount for micro-contrast. Fine-tuned the detail contrast with a curves adjustment layer clipped to the high frequency layer.

8. Added some film grain.

I cropped in close for the RetouchPRO attachments. You can see the actual composition in the high resolution: http://a2.vox.com/6a0110184cd071860f0123ddc6e14a860b-pi

Image ©2009 Sara Lando http://www.modelmayhem.com/368123
Attached Images
File Type: jpg b4.jpg (86.0 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg after.jpg (87.0 KB, 109 views)

Last edited by mikedimples; 12-07-2009 at 09:23 PM. Reason: forgot to credit photographer
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:18 PM
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Re: High contrast b&w

Nice - good look. Thanks for the info.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:56 PM
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Nasturtium Nasturtium is offline
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Re: High contrast b&w

Wow! Great results. Thanks for the explanation, especially #7.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:13 AM
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mikedimples mikedimples is offline
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Re: High contrast b&w

No problem. I'm remembering more steps that I left out:

- I used Lucisart, duplicated the Lucisart layer, turned one screen blending mode opacity 16%, and the other multiply 6% opacity. Gave me a little extra midtone contrast boost. I had to convert to 8 bit for this step and later regretted it.

-added two more curves (unmasked) adjustment layers: one to darken the blacks, one to brighten the whites. I forget why I didn't use the same curves layer...

- Then I noticed banding, probably the 8bit conversion coming back to haunt me. That's why I added film grain. Once the grain was added, I corrected the banding with d&b.

- Finally, I added an extremely subtle cool tint, just to make the mood seem more serious.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:33 AM
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Re: High contrast b&w

Haven't used Lucisart, but looks like it only works in 8bit as you mentioned. Since you used both layers at low opacity, could you have make dupe documents of these two layers, convert them to 8 bit, apply the filter, convert them to smart objects, then bring them back into your 16 bit file?
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:02 AM
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mikedimples mikedimples is offline
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Re: High contrast b&w

Wow... I feel like such an idiot for not not always doing that. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:31 AM
Jerryb Jerryb is offline
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Re: High contrast b&w

hi mike,
thank you very much for the details you provided... that helps a lot to a beginner or novice like myself...

just a comment about the image itself... I find the pose it self with this image conveys a lot of drama and action especially how the eyes shows... there alot of anticipations and drama in this case in the eyes... and your converting it to b/w really brings that out..

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikedimples View Post
No problem. I'm remembering more steps that I left out:

- I used Lucisart, duplicated the Lucisart layer, turned one screen blending mode opacity 16%, and the other multiply 6% opacity. Gave me a little extra midtone contrast boost. I had to convert to 8 bit for this step and later regretted it.

-added two more curves (unmasked) adjustment layers: one to darken the blacks, one to brighten the whites. I forget why I didn't use the same curves layer...

- Then I noticed banding, probably the 8bit conversion coming back to haunt me. That's why I added film grain. Once the grain was added, I corrected the banding with d&b.

- Finally, I added an extremely subtle cool tint, just to make the mood seem more serious.
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2009, 10:35 AM
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purpletofu purpletofu is offline
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Re: High contrast b&w

Hey Mike,

You really turned an almost flat image into something with some edge. Very nice. I want to ask you a little more about the low/high frequency as that's something I'm just starting to learn about. Are you using a blur layer and a apply image highpass looking layer? Why did you you do the frequency splits twice? And what do you mean by curves layer "clipped" to the high frequency layer in the final step?

Thanks

Last edited by purpletofu; 12-08-2009 at 10:36 AM. Reason: Added words for clarity
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:58 PM
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mikedimples mikedimples is offline
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Re: High contrast b&w

Frequency separation is basically degrunge/high pass separation. The only difference is that it's a little more precise and easier to set up once you have the hang of it. Check out the following thread for more info (hard, long read): http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=439098

Why two splits? The higher the radius, the more detail is saved on the high frequency layer. That's good if the plan is to smooth the low frequency layer a bit. A low separation radius is good for sharpening.

Hover the cursor in between two layers, hold down alt, and click. That clips a layer to another, meaning the adjustment of the top one will only adjust the layer it's clipped to. I clip a curves to the detail layer so I can control the values of the detail. An easier way to get a similar effect is to run levels on a highpass sharpening layer (although you lose the ability to make further adjustments as well as maskcompared to a clipped curves layer).

Thanks for the comments Jerry. I'm glad my retouch is getting the emotional response I was going for!

I'd be happy to share the PSD if someone wants to host it.

Last edited by mikedimples; 12-08-2009 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:04 PM
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purpletofu purpletofu is offline
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Re: High contrast b&w

Ohh, thanks for the explanation. The clipping on the high frequency layer makes a lot of sense. That thread you linked to is what had originally got me interested in learning about high frequency/low frequency retouching. I keep meaning to get around to reading the whole thing.
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