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Ellie
1st February 2008, 12:46 AM
If I convert a colour picture to mono I never seem to get the sharp contrast and almost gritty clarity I see in some people's b/w pictures.

Is there a knack to converting RAW images, or would it be better to take them using in-camera mono settings?

PeterD
1st February 2008, 01:14 AM
If I convert a colour picture to mono I never seem to get the sharp contrast and almost gritty clarity I see in some people's b/w pictures.

Is there a knack to converting RAW images, or would it be better to take them using in-camera mono settings?

Ellie

Its my understanding that converting colour images to b/w can result in a colour caste which might be what you are concerned with above. Taking images with b/w set in the camera provides a much better result especially with the E3.

Best regards

PeterD

Nick Temple-Fry
1st February 2008, 01:52 AM
It all depends on how you convert to mono - and just ticking greyscale usually works worst of all.

In the old days of film photographers used different films for different effects and then added coloured filters/polarising filters to further amend the image.

With digital if you want to convert to mono then you need to consider how much of each colour channel (Red Green Blue) you want to be converted in the final image, this emulates the effect of using coloured filters. This can be done in post processing or in camera (there is the ability to emphasise red/green in the setting for e-series).

Some packages (GIMP for instance - which is free, but probably Photoshop as well) enable you to split your original colour image into 3 black and white images, one for each colour channel. This can be instructive. Others (and Gimp again) allow you choose the colour balance input into the b/w conversion using sliders.

(Why do I keep talking about colours - well because the conversion of the different colours is more important in b/w than it is in colour photography)

Classic black and white (say 60-70's reportage) often used exposure more creatively than we tend to do - burning out to get the contrast between white and black for instance, digital has got up hung up on technical perfection rather than on image. But even where the camera has got in the way and given a perfect image - playing with contrast and brightness can help.

Nick

KEITHBD
1st February 2008, 11:37 AM
Ellie,
If you feel you can splash out $49.95, there is a wonderful conversion to black & white with a programe called Photowiz B/W Styler.The plug in does all various things like,paper grades, film types, ND filters, diffusion filters, even adds grain if required. It is also able to do a host of tonings such as selenium, platinum and sepia.
If you are converting to greysacle,try boosting the contrast a little plus a small amount of saturation.
Regarding the final print, I feel there is nothing to beat the K3 Epson inks on the Epson 2400 printer. People at my camera club often remark, "How do you manage to get your B/W prints like that" so I feel that says something.
Keep pressing that shutter button, Keith.

Ellie
1st February 2008, 10:47 PM
:o Can't really splash out on anything at the moment - MOT, Car Tax, TV License, kids! But I'll keep my eye out for that software. Thanks, I'm sure somebody will find it handy.

Thanks for all the tips, I'll have a go at the weekend with some buildings I took today, some of them might be worth trying.

Classic black and white (say 60-70's reportage) often used exposure more creatively than we tend to do - burning out to get the contrast between white and black for instance
I wonder if a slightly overexposed or overbright image would convert better than one that's 'properly' exposed for colour?

PeterD
1st February 2008, 10:56 PM
:o Can't really splash out on anything at the moment - MOT, Car Tax, TV License, kids! But I'll keep my eye out for that software. Thanks, I'm sure somebody will find it handy.

Thanks for all the tips, I'll have a go at the weekend with some buildings I took today, some of them might be worth trying.


I wonder if a slightly overexposed or overbright image would convert better than one that's 'properly' exposed for colour?

Ellie

Have you tried to shoot in B/W using the camera settings?

Kind regards

PeterD

Nick Temple-Fry
2nd February 2008, 01:59 AM
As an addition to my previous post - to emphasise the importance of colour in black and white photography.

These are from an acceptable but unremarkable church shot (Ampney Crucis - Holy Rood).

1'st image shows the original, and that original broken down into red, green, blue channels. You will see subtle differences between the three channel images.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/Origandchannels.jpg

2'nd image shows the original again and 3 different conversions to Black and White. The Greyscale and Desaturation were done automatically, the last image took the seperate red/green/blue layers and then manually mixed them, emphasising the blue and red channels. No use has been made of contrast/sharpening or colour/tonal changes.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/Differentbwmethods.jpg

I'm not presenting these as examples of 'how to do' b/w, just hoping to illustrate the role of colour.

(all manipulation was done in GIMP - a free GNU licensed program)

Peter/Ellie - I enjoy shooting b/w direct from the camera - but you have to spot on with setting up and you lose the ability to tune the image (plus you need to carry lots coloured filters).

Keithbw - There is a plug-in for GIMP as well that emulates the settings for different film types. Have only played with it.

Nick

Ellie
3rd February 2008, 01:24 AM
Crikey Nick that's a lot of work and I can see the huge differences between the pictures.

Peter - I tried taking pictures just once using the mono or b/w setting, but I think the weather was against me (dull/overcast) because they looked dreadfully dull and I regretted not using colour.

How could I achieve what you'd done, Nick, with the software I've got. I do have Photoshop (can't remember the number - not CS) but rarely open it because it get me annoyed. I can never seem to find the right control because it's hidden behind a teeny little icon, everything takes too long and all the instructions seem to be written in some foreign jargon that I've never learned. I prefer Photofiltre, which you probably don't know, and which doesn't have layers. I've also got PhaseOne4 for RAW - can I achieve this result using that?

OlyPaul
3rd February 2008, 12:35 PM
Crikey Nick that's a lot of work and I can see the huge differences between the pictures.

How could I achieve what you'd done, Nick, with the software I've got. I do have Photoshop (can't remember the number - not CS) but rarely open it because it get me annoyed. I can never seem to find the right control because it's hidden behind a teeny little icon, everything takes too long and all the instructions seem to be written in some foreign jargon that I've never learned. I prefer Photofiltre, which you probably don't know, and which doesn't have layers.

Hi Ellie I know you addressed this to Nick and he has already done a good job of explaining ,but thought you would not mind me adding my thoughts.

I looked at the Photofiltre site and I think you will not be able to accomplish what Nick has described with that software. In any of the full versions of Photoshop the channel mixer will be found under Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer.

As by your own admission you are not comfortable with the full Photoshop have you (when funds permit) thought about Photoshop Elements 6 at roughly £50 if you shop about. This is more user friendly and in my experiance has more useful tools than in earler versions of the full Photoshop.

In fact it would give you a complete workflow from Raw to the finished edited image ( most of my images in my gallery have been done in Elements).
It also has a convert to B&W feature that resembles the channel mixer but works a lot better ( I tried to recreate the same effect using the channel mixer in CS2 and its not quite as good, I guess Adobe have done something a little diffferent with it in Elements 6) and I'm not just saying that because I am a beta tester for Elements.

Just a greyscale conversion
http://www.pbase.com/paulsilkphotography/image/92459413.jpg

Converted in Elements 6 using a extreme colour mix of channels
http://www.pbase.com/paulsilkphotography/image/92459415.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/paulsilkphotography/image/92459417.jpg


I've also got PhaseOne4 for RAW - can I achieve this result using that?

I have phase one4 and you have choice of only two mono conversion neither of them much different or has the control of the other methods.

Nick Temple-Fry
3rd February 2008, 04:02 PM
Crikey Nick that's a lot of work and I can see the huge differences between the pictures.

How could I achieve what you'd done, Nick, with the software I've got. I do have Photoshop (can't remember the number - not CS) but rarely open it because it get me annoyed. I can never seem to find the right control because it's hidden behind a teeny little icon, everything takes too long and all the instructions seem to be written in some foreign jargon that I've never learned. I prefer Photofiltre, which you probably don't know, and which doesn't have layers. I've also got PhaseOne4 for RAW - can I achieve this result using that?

I've no experience of photfiltre - but I notice it supports a plug-in channel mixer

http://photofiltre.free.fr/frames_en.htm (RGB Layers Mixer in the plug-ins menu)

which could be worth investigating.

But why not just download The GIMP

http://www.gimp.org/

It tries to be less 'helpful' than photoshop so it is easier to use/control, but has all the twiddly bits for photo-adjustment either natively or through plug-ins. At the price (free) why worry if you haven't yet mastered all the options, you've not wasted any money on the bits you don't use.

There is a full book on-line

http://gimp-savvy.com/BOOK/

and some easy to follow tutorials

http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/ (look at the photo-editing section).

Nick

ndl0071
3rd February 2008, 04:57 PM
Hi Ellie, I hope you are now getting the hang of B&W conversion, I am sure that you will post a couple of images when you are happy with them.

For a really good read on the subject go to the following link, It has prooved invaluable to me whilst going through the learning curve.

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/intro-digital-black-and-white.html

Hope it helps

Neil

:)

Ellie
3rd February 2008, 09:59 PM
Whew, there's lots more reading. Thanks everybody. I'm sure I'm not the only person benefitting from all this help :)

I'll have a play with some pictures during the week and see what I come up with.

emirpprime
4th February 2008, 12:19 PM
Another adjustment that I don't think was mentioned unless I missed it is curves/levels adjustment. To get the "gritty" look often means overexposing the highlights and underexposing the shadows to ensure that there is some pure white and pure black in the image. Essentially making it high contrast, but being more selective about it than the Contrast function allows.

Try converting an image to B&W (whether desaturate, greyscale, channel mixer or whatever your preferred method) then opening the Levels dialog. Bring the leftmost and rightmost sliders towards the centre slightly as you see fit. (Make sure show Preview is ticked in the dialog if there is such a thing so that you can see the effect as you make it).
Once you get the idea try using Curves. You will need atleast 3 points on the line, and don't forget you can move the white and black points too.

All the best,
Phil

Xpres
4th February 2008, 02:26 PM
A little late to jump on this thread but have you tried using Googles Picassa? It's about as simple as it gets but does have a useful couple of tools for converting to B&W quickly and simply - a tint tool and a filtered B&W tool - and it's free.

Ellie
4th February 2008, 10:27 PM
OK, thanks.

I'm going to print this thread out, so I can read everything more carefully because there's quite a lot to take in and looking at the screen isn't the best way to read it all.

Does anybody fancy a challenge?

If so, I'll upload a picture and you can have a play with it. I was thinking about the one I put onto the other site for 'Derelict Buildings', I think it might work in mono.

emirpprime
4th February 2008, 10:28 PM
Go for it! Im sure they'll be atleast a couple of takers :D Everyone likes showing off ;)
Phil

Ellie
4th February 2008, 10:41 PM
Go for it! Im sure they'll be atleast a couple of takers :D Everyone likes showing off ;)
Phil

OK. :)
Here you are. I don't know if it's high enough resolution to do much with, if not please let me know. I know it's slightly underexposed, but we won't talk about that just now.

The only proviso is that you give your pp recipe along with the mono image, so we all know what's been done to get the results.

Have fun :)


http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a29/eleanorh23/forums%20general/derelict1.jpg

PeterD
4th February 2008, 10:59 PM
OK. :)
Here you are. I don't know if it's high enough resolution to do much with, if not please let me know. I know it's slightly underexposed, but we won't talk about that just now.

The only proviso is that you give your pp recipe along with the mono image, so we all know what's been done to get the results.

Have fun :)


http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a29/eleanorh23/forums%20general/derelict1.jpg

Seems like you have a bit of work to do to bring your place up to standard Ellie:eek:;):D

Ellie
4th February 2008, 11:05 PM
Seems like you have a bit of work to do to bring your place up to standard Ellie:eek:;):D
Me? Houseproud? I spend too much time learning how to use my camera to bother with the old place! :p

The real idea was to see if you can turn this into a mono and say what you did ;)

PeterD
4th February 2008, 11:11 PM
Me? Houseproud? I spend too much time learning how to use my camera to bother with the old place! :p

The real idea was to see if you can turn this into a mono and say what you did ;)

Sorry but I could not resist the comment. Trying to work out if it will look any better in B/W - hard to imagine.

I shall have a go although I am a total novice!

Kind regards

PeterD

emirpprime
5th February 2008, 11:39 AM
Right. Quick go.

I've converted it to a neutral, high contrast look. Not necessarily what you are after, but the method can be tweaked to get the results you are after.

http://www.customcreative.co.uk/derelict2.jpg

There is also a video of the method which may be easier to understand than my typing (sorry about the big watermark on it)

http://www.customcreative.co.uk/ellie.m4v

Basically,
..Open the image

..In the layers palette, select New Adjustment Layer -> Channel Mixer

..Tick the monochrome button at the bottom

..Adjust the sliders to taste. The values should add up to 100. It is OK if they don't, but you are also making a levels adjustment if they dont (and we come to that in a minute). Ok when done.

..Go back to the layers palette and this time select a Curves adjustment layer.

..Slide the 2 ends of the straight line to set the white and black points (you can see the histogram under this line in grey. a good start is to set them just inside the edges of the histogram to create some pure black and white in the image)

..Now manipulate the line itself to taste by clicking on it and dragging. Each click will drop a handle which will also act like a pivot point. Creating an S shape will increase contrast. Bowing the line up will increase brightness, and the reverse decrease it.

Then you are done, unless you want to tone the image. the easiest way to do this, and since it isn't the focus of your question, is by using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Tick Colourise in the box, then adjust the Hue and Saturation sliders to achieve the look you want.

I hope that makes sense.
Chirp up if it isn't.
Phil

emirpprime
5th February 2008, 11:59 AM
A couple of different approaches (and instructions if asked, but not unsolicited as my fingers are tired...):

http://www.customcreative.co.uk/derelict3.jpg

http://www.customcreative.co.uk/derelict4.jpg

http://www.customcreative.co.uk/derelict4.jpg

http://www.customcreative.co.uk/derelict5.jpg

http://www.customcreative.co.uk/derelict6.jpg


These were actually done in Lightroom but it should be easy enough in Photoshop.

Phil

Xpres
5th February 2008, 12:50 PM
OK - I couldn't resist. 30 seconds in Picassa.

http://lh5.google.com/Xpres.f3.5/R6haDAZcLqI/AAAAAAAAAdA/L6Arx5JWITM/s800/derelict1.jpg

Adjusted 'tuning', ie contrast and colour to bring out the brick.
Graduated tint for the sky
Filtered B&W - a bit of red to lighten the brick and not lose the sky
Tint - like toning
Sharpen - which is probably not needed.

this kind of approach does an OK job for a quick web posting or print but is no replacement for some photoshop/gimp PP. Not bad though. :)

this is the same unsharpened.

http://lh6.google.com/Xpres.f3.5/R6hdNQZcLrI/AAAAAAAAAdI/aVDyiJkOMos/s800/derelict1.jpg

PeterD
5th February 2008, 04:20 PM
Xpres & Phil

I like your conversions. One thing for sure, the original image has far more impact in B/W.

Overall, I prefer No 1 from Xpres although there appears to be a colour cast in the sky.

Kind regards

PeterD

PS I had a go too but my efforts were a disaster:eek: Told you I was a complete novice in PP

art frames
5th February 2008, 05:23 PM
Ellie

I had to have a go. I have used photoshop replace colour option a number of times with specific colours replacing each with muted ones to produce a sort of hand coloured look. I tend to prefer gentle colour to black and white. A little smart sharpening and voila... another alternative.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/561/derelict1.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2490)

Peter

PeterD
5th February 2008, 05:45 PM
Ellie

I had to have a go. I have used photoshop replace colour option a number of times with specific colours replacing each with muted ones to produce a sort of hand coloured look. I tend to prefer gentle colour to black and white. A little smart sharpening and voila... another alternative.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/561/derelict1.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2490)

Peter

Peter,

I know you have addressed this to Ellie but I must admit I like your approach. Its even brought out some more detail of the inside of the luxury, much sought after property, set in the countryside, that would suit a DIY enthusiast.

PeterD

Scapula Memory
5th February 2008, 05:46 PM
I`m sure whilst at work today I saw Ellie`s original picture in post #17, and now at home it is not there. Anyone else notice this? Or maybe I dreamt it!

Just re-activated Capture One 4 and was going to give it a go.

Oh well.

John

PeterD
5th February 2008, 05:50 PM
I`m sure whilst at work today I saw Ellie`s original picture in post #17, and now at home it is not there. Anyone else notice this? Or maybe I dreamt it!

Just re-activated Capture One 4 and was going to give it a go.

Oh well.

John

Its still there John. Just checked to see if the link was broken but all OK

PeterD

art frames
5th February 2008, 05:53 PM
I`m sure whilst at work today I saw Ellie`s original picture in post #17, and now at home it is not there. Anyone else notice this? Or maybe I dreamt it!

Just re-activated Capture One 4 and was going to give it a go.

Oh well.

John

John dreaming at work :eek:... you surely mean giving due consideration to important issues (with eyes shut to aid concentration) :D

It was hosted on photobucket but appears to be slow (or down) at the minute.

I imagine it will come back.

Peter

Scapula Memory
5th February 2008, 06:12 PM
Thank you to both Peters. Yes it is back now. So I never dreamt it :confused:

Think I should get some sleep....

John

Barr1e
5th February 2008, 06:38 PM
Ellie -

Just having some time on my hands -

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/derelict1a.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=2492)

Regards. Barr1e

Scapula Memory
5th February 2008, 07:33 PM
Ok this is an example from Olympus Studio 2. Selected monochrome filter and adjusted fine contrast by +15 : I am a minimal PP person due to time!

Not sure how it compares, but posted as a guide.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/538/derelict1studio2.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2493)

ndl0071
5th February 2008, 07:37 PM
Here's my attempt, a quick twiddle with CS3 with a touch of 81 warm up applied, 30 seconds max, sorry Pancakes are calling:D, hope you like it.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/derelict1_1_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2494)

Ellie
5th February 2008, 11:21 PM
Wow! So many variations on the same theme, they all look wonderful, everybody's put it a huge amount of time and effort. :) I wouldn't have imagined there could be so many different interpretations of the one picture.

I haven't got a favourite, so please don't ask me to choose one.

Maybe it's something we should do more often?

Nick Temple-Fry
6th February 2008, 12:01 AM
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/elliederelict1.jpg

Ellie - you didn't give us much to work with, there wasn't a shadow or a sun lit aspect to be seen.

OK contrary to my previously described methods

1) Greyscale
2) Duplicate layer and merge back as addition at 100%
3) Duplicate layer and merge back as dodge at 25%
4) Duplicate layer and merge as overlay at 50%

Objective was to up the contrast while still leaving some shade texture in bricks and without overdarkening the grass.

Nick

theMusicMan
6th February 2008, 12:04 AM
Crikey Nick, that's a well processes mono image.

Nick = master of B&W conversion (and sharp pigeons!!)

Nick Temple-Fry
6th February 2008, 12:22 AM
Crikey Nick, that's a well processes mono image.

Nick = master of B&W conversion (and sharp pigeons!!)

As this is a mono thread I can't really blush; just a tinge of grey I suppose, getting deeper towards where there used to be cheekbones.

Nick

Barr1e
6th February 2008, 09:07 AM
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/elliederelict1.jpg

Ellie - you didn't give us much to work with, there wasn't a shadow or a sun lit aspect to be seen.

OK contrary to my previously described methods

1) Greyscale
2) Duplicate layer and merge back as addition at 100%
3) Duplicate layer and merge back as dodge at 25%
4) Duplicate layer and merge as overlay at 50%

Objective was to up the contrast while still leaving some shade texture in bricks and without overdarkening the grass.



Nick

I like this too.

Regards. Barr1e

Nick Temple-Fry
6th February 2008, 01:02 PM
If I convert a colour picture to mono I never seem to get the sharp contrast and almost gritty clarity I see in some people's b/w pictures.

Is there a knack to converting RAW images, or would it be better to take them using in-camera mono settings?

So the answer to the question is - well there are as many ways as there are images and photographers.

Somehow I find this reassurring.

Nick

Ellie
6th February 2008, 11:23 PM
you didn't give us much to work with, there wasn't a shadow or a sun lit aspect to be seen
Err, no, but you can blame the weather for that.

So the answer to the question is - well there are as many ways as there are images and photographers.

Somehow I find this reassurring.
Actually, so do I :)

I'm amazed to see so many different interpretations of a fairly less-than-average quality picture. Every new picture looks so good, each creates a different mood. They're wonderful.

I'm surprised that Peter managed to retrieve some of the detail from inside the rooms - I really should have tided up a little bit ;)