Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Trade Tricks: Black-And-White From Color
Shoot in color first for the best B&W image
2. Digital Film Tools 55mm (www.digitalfilmtools.com). Here's another plug-in that gives a great set of black-and-white conversion choices related to specific black-and-white filters such as yellow, red, green and so forth. Simply choose the filter and the image changes to black-and-white. Each filter offers different tonal effects, plus additional tonal controls (brightness, contrast, gamma).
3. Color Channels. If your program lets you look at the individual color channels separately (usually RGB—red, green and blue), you'll get three very different conversions to black-and-white, as if you shot the scene separately with red, green and blue filters. Once you find a color channel that looks good to you, delete the others or change the photo into a Grayscale image.
4. Channel Mixer. Using Photoshop's Channel Mixer, set it to black-and-white. Then adjust the tonalities of the black-and-white conversion by playing with the red, green and blue channel sliders. More of any channel will make colors related to that channel lighter, and opposite colors on the color wheel will become darker (e.g., more of red will make reds lighter and blues darker).
5. Grayscale Or Desaturate. In most image-processing programs, you can turn a color image into black-and-white by changing the color mode to Grayscale or by using a Desaturate command. This is a quick and easy way of dealing with images that don't need a lot of adjustment.
Once you have the black-and-white translation of your color photo, examine it as a black-and-white composition, so you can make adjustments appropriate to these tonalities. Try increasing the contrast to make the photo more dramatic. You can use Brightness/Contrast for overall effects, although Levels and Curves offer more control. With Levels, bring the left (black) slider to the right and move the other sliders left to increase contrast. With Curves, make the line steeper for more contrast.
You can dodge (lighten) and burn (darken) parts of the photo, as well as darken all the edges (edge burning; use a selection that includes all the edges, then darken that area). You can clone, too, just as you would with any photo.
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