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Black & white

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  #11  
Old 03-04-2011, 01:41 PM
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daygraphics daygraphics is offline
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Re: Black & white

I like some of what you have going on here Murray. I think I would like to take mine a bit more in that direction. If you have time in next couple of days to elaborate (more specifically) on what you did (actual tools, procedures and steps), I would like to try the steps myself on the full hires image. Thanks,

Dan

P.S. You are so right. B&W's are really, really subjective. I like the dramatic a bit more while others like the subdued. I have a feeling this client is looking for a dramatic Hollywood feeling.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2011, 06:53 PM
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Re: Black & white

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistermonday View Post
I also think the gray conversion is too flat and prefer your targeted B&W version. I think it is headed in the right direction but still lacks a bit of punch.
So I tried adding some microcontrast and shadow/highlight inversion. I did so rather agressively. However if you or your client likes that style, you could produce a version somewhere in between the two. With conversions to B&W, there are so many tastes different people have. Sometimes it is best to show the customer several styles and see what they like.
Attached is a screenshot of my sample and the link is to a higher res version.
http://www.divshare.com/download/14226455-afc
Regards, Murray
I like your version Murray, it has that hdr touch... Nice job!
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2011, 08:06 PM
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MBChamberlain MBChamberlain is offline
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Re: Black & white

I've thrown together a quick, very clean black and white conversion for you. I slapped on a channel mixer layer with the values <40,103,-42,0>; a curves layer with points at <0,0>, <61,68>, <155,154>, <255,255>. I used a selectively blended (0/0;38/165) multiply layer set to 50% under the chanel mixer to give me more depth in the black and to reduce the fill light a little bit, giving us a little more range in the skin, then did a quick high pass sharpen set to soft light. A little dodge and burn on the original layer and we're done.

This is essentially a high-key image in that it's a light colored subject on a light colored background... attempting to add too much contrast to the image will actually make things worse.

And Murray, if you showed that picture to an actual female client, you would have a very upset person on your hands... the mother in that version looks AT LEAST 10 years older than in the color version.

If your client is wanting a dramatic, Hollywood feel, I'm afraid your only option is to re-shoot. It does not matter what you do to this image from a retouching standpoint, if you try to edge up the style, it makes the actual image feel like a boring, traditional pose on a boring, traditional background. I'd recommend embracing the traditional nature of the photo and going with something classy and clean.

Cheers,
Michael
Attached Images
File Type: jpg family.jpg (96.9 KB, 37 views)

Last edited by MBChamberlain; 03-04-2011 at 08:20 PM. Reason: looked at image again and wanted to do a little more dodging.
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  #14  
Old 03-04-2011, 09:08 PM
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Re: Black & white

Thanks Mike, Murray and all. I will play around with a couple of your suggestions and see if I can't come up with something in between it all. I appreciate your taking the time to offer your thoughts. I am going to adjust the image starting with my original Adjusted Version and try to add some of the good things I see in your examples. Then I am just going to present it, and hopefully put it to rest. Actually, you really never know for sure if its a winner until it comes back from the photolab.
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  #15  
Old 03-04-2011, 09:34 PM
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Re: Black & white

Quote:
And Murray, if you showed that picture to an actual female client, you would have a very upset person on your hands... the mother in that version looks AT LEAST 10 years older than in the color version.
Michael, a great many of my customers are VPs, CEOs, and executives of large corporations. The women are mostly mature in years and are quite sensitive regarding their portraits. I spend a great deal of time de-emphasizing temporally induced skin anomalies

The shooting conditions (subject, clothing, bg) for Dan's image are not ideal for the B&W his client is now requesting - at least not with standard brightness and contrast adjustments. However, with some tone mapping and tone inversion he can achieve a pretty good result.
As I stated, my 1st attachment was radical and just aimed to show the direction for tone inversion. I have a pile of tools to make such adjustments and for the one I attached I used a couple of the sliders in Photomatix. HDR is usually not suited for human subjects because it brings out every bit of detail which you do not want - not only for the woman you referenced but also the other subjects in the photo.
However, you can use other techniques to mitigate the detail enhancement caused by tone mapping. So here is an example of the other end of the tone mapping spectrum. Please see the screenshot attached and the higher res version here http://www.divshare.com/download/14230110-187
In this version you may find the skin oversmoothed but you still have better contrast. Dan, you can generate this by opening the image in Camera RAW, pull the saturation slider all the way to the left, drag the Fill slider to the right to about 80-100%, then drag the Blacks slider also to the right to offset the effect of the Fill slider (usually around 50% but depends on the image).
Some blending of the high detail and low detail images should result in one that is satisfactory.
Regards, Murray
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File Type: jpg Daygraphics Family MM ACR Screenshot2.jpg (169.8 KB, 28 views)
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  #16  
Old 03-04-2011, 09:49 PM
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Re: Black & white

This photo is so cool, I had to give a try, although due to the 100 kb limit, it lost punch on the toning, the original result looks a bit better.


This one should be closer to the original result...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg FamilyRP.jpg (99.4 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg Family2RP.jpg (99.7 KB, 22 views)

Last edited by Boneappetit; 03-04-2011 at 10:44 PM.
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  #17  
Old 03-04-2011, 10:16 PM
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Re: Black & white

Some nice stuff here guys!!! Thanks a bunch. And thanks for the explanations!!!
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  #18  
Old 03-04-2011, 10:21 PM
des151 des151 is offline
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Re: Black & white

Hi daygraphics,
Wanted to give this a try.
Ray
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File Type: jpg FAMILY.jpg-100k.jpg (95.8 KB, 55 views)
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  #19  
Old 03-04-2011, 11:01 PM
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Re: Black & white

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistermonday View Post
Michael, a great many of my customers are VPs, CEOs, and executives of large corporations. The women are mostly mature in years and are quite sensitive regarding their portraits. I spend a great deal of time de-emphasizing temporally induced skin anomalies
Just a little good natured ribbing, I did see that you said it was and aggressive example. I know how you feel, many of my clients were also born at a more comfortable distance from the Apocalypse.

The contrast in your last image is very, very nice. The only reservation I would have to using your technique is that the processes for making both the high-detail and the low-detail images are incredibly destructive, and in an image with only one channel this can become an exponentially compounding problem for tonality.

The method I proposed can be tweaked to give an almost identical tonal curve just using the original pixel data as shown below. (I also find that super-sharpening can create visually distracting areas, like the texture in the jeans.)

I also recommend adding a slight grain layer masked with the inverse of the main channel (so the grain increases as the darkness of the image increases, but remains almost invisible in brighter areas of the photo, usually a 12.5% Gaussian monochromatic grain at 5-10% opacity set to overlay or hard light) for black and white images to give it a richer and more natural feel.

--Begin general talk not directed at anyone in particular--

There really are a great many schools of thought when it comes to black and white conversion. One of the things I miss about film is the combination of sharp tonal contrast and smooth gradation that it produced so effortlessly. I feel that about 70% of all digitally converted black and white images lack one or the other (and another 25% lack both). I tend to use the standards that we used on competition prints back in the mid 80's to the mid 90's, which is when black and white chemistry really was at its best. :nostalgic sigh: IMHO I think a lot of the power of black and white has been lost in the trend of digital black and white slipping toward flatter tones and less contrast. Unfortunately, black and white conversion is very hard to do well, and it becomes even harder if you've never actually made a black and white print before.

Cheers,
Michael
Attached Images
File Type: jpg family-redux.jpg (99.2 KB, 25 views)

Last edited by MBChamberlain; 03-04-2011 at 11:02 PM. Reason: attaching the photo helps :)
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  #20  
Old 03-05-2011, 09:07 AM
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Re: Black & white

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBChamberlain View Post
The contrast in your last image is very, very nice. The only reservation I would have to using your technique is that the processes for making both the high-detail and the low-detail images are incredibly destructive, and in an image with only one channel this can become an exponentially compounding problem for tonality.
Michael, thank you. I recall one time spending a considerable amount of time retouching a color portrait created from a very high res photo shot with a very expensive camera and high end studio lighting. Many hours of work dodging and burning every pore to perfection, balancing color and tone. Evaluation by professional associates deemed the retouch to be of the highest caliber. The client was thoroughly satisfied with the finished product.
A few days later the client asked if I would turn the image into a B&W sketch, imitating the effect of a traditional pencil sketch. So I de-saturated, inverted, ... and selected the "Butcher Brush" and went about generating (actually degenerating) the the B&W rendition. The client was ecstatic and I did not stop hearing how ecstatic she was for at least 6 months.

Detail can be beauty. But, as the old expression goes, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and very often the customer is looking for a different type of detail - sometimes no detail at all.
Regards, Murray
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