Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Seeing In Black & White
Create striking monochromatic images from your color digital photos
If you want to increase the contrast even further, the best tool is Curves. The Curves control has a line that runs diagonally through the graph. By creating a slight S-curve adjustment and bringing the lower portion down and the higher part up, you'll increase the contrast with minimal loss of detail in the highlights and shadows. The more dramatic the S curve, the stronger the contrast will appear.
There are several software alternatives for achieving superior black-and-white images, such as nik multimedia's Color Efex Pro 2.0 (www.nikmultimedia.com) and Digital Film Tool's 55mm digital filter set (www.digitalfilmtools.com), which provide advanced controls for achieving high-quality monochrome conversions. With a convenient preview window, the software shows your adjustments before they're applied to the final image.
Unlike Photoshop's Grayscale conversion, these programs use advanced algorithms that have a variety of choices over the adjustments of each color channel, contrast and brightness. As with the Color Mixer, you can choose to emphasize the red channel, but the controls are more intuitive and "photographic"—Color Efex offers three conversion methods and 55mm uses the idea of color filters for black-and-white conversions in its interface. Their versatility makes these programs powerful tools, especially when you want to make a significant number of conversions within a limited time frame.
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