Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Convert To Black & White
How to transform your color images into stunning monochrome
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
No matter how good your black-and-white conversions come out, do you wonder if there might be a better way to do this task? Instead of trying to figure out these conversions on your own, you may want to try third-party software that does an excellent job converting color images to black-and-white.
One of my favorite black-and-white conversion programs is Exposure 4 by Alien Skin. This software contains folders with actions that simulate all the black-and-white films I used to shoot. Exposure 4 works as a plug-in in both Photoshop and Lightroom. When I open my image in Exposure 4, I choose the folder B&W Films, and choose what B&W film I want my color image to resemble. I might choose the Kodak TRI-X 400 action for one shot, and the Ilford Delta 100 for another image. Very cool!
But Exposure 4 offers a lot more. You can choose from various folders loaded with different black-and-white actions, including vintage, polapan and infrared effects. Once the effect is chosen, a wide variety of adjustments can be made using the tools on the right side of the window.
One thing I really like about using Exposure 4 in Photoshop is that the black-and-white conversion is applied on its own layer. This allows me to reduce the opacity of the layer for a muted color effect. Exposure 4 also has folders of color conversions from your favorite color films.
A nice feature in Silver Efex Pro 2 shows you a variety of preview windows when you select a set of black-and-white conversions. This lets you preview what your image is going to look like, so you quickly can decide which direction to take with your black-and-white conversion. A brush feature allows you to brush in your conversion to select areas of your shot. Silver Efex also applies the conversion as a separate layer in Photoshop, allowing further adjustment of the conversion.
It has never been easier to convert color images to black-and-white. Imagine what your favorite color images might look like in black-and-white—and you just might like them even more.
Tom Bol is a freelance editorial and commercial photographer based in Colorado. Visit www.tombolphoto.com.
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