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02/02/2004 11:08:58 AM · #1
Another option I just found out about

1/ desaturate - looks bland and flat
2/ lightness channel - convert to LAB, throw away A & B channels better than 1, but little creative input
3/ pick a channel, any channel and just that. Throw away the other two. More permuations but still not a lot of creative control

4/ Look at the channels, use the channel mixer to blend the best and most interesting tones from each channel. Lots of control, but basic addition of channel tones. A good stand by

5/ The new one to me. Calculations. Use channels, or all combined (desaturated) then combine using layer styles (multiply/ pin light and all the others) Vary opacity of effect and add user defined masks into the mix. Lots more control, some interesting results beyond what you can do with (4)

Message edited by author 2004-02-02 11:28:11.
02/02/2004 11:11:25 AM · #2
6) Gradient Map
02/02/2004 11:11:31 AM · #3
Good set of methods. I usually use the channel mixer. I will give a try to your 5/ item. Thanks!

Message edited by author 2004-02-02 11:13:14.
02/02/2004 11:15:15 AM · #4
For those of us with PS Elements (that's lots of us, I think), I don't think we have a channel mixer, do we? What are our options? Looks like we're limited to option 1, the least desireable. Anyone want to enlighten me?
02/02/2004 11:36:03 AM · #5
(7) Set your camera to B&W mode
02/02/2004 11:36:39 AM · #6
What is wrong with just converting to grey scale, and adjusting the levels? I am always happy with the results.
02/02/2004 11:45:42 AM · #7
Zeissman, if you are "happy with the results" that is the right way.
02/02/2004 12:01:58 PM · #8
Originally posted by Zeissman:

What is wrong with just converting to grey scale, and adjusting the levels? I am always happy with the results.


I'm just a control freak.

But more resonably, if you ever look at the R, G, B channels you'll see there is a whole lot of different tonal information in your shot.

convert to greyscale just does the channel mixer approach with 33% of each channel being used (or some other fixed proportion). Taking control of that lets you get potentially wildly different B&W results, in much the same way that a lot of people using B&W film use colour filters on the lens to change the final result.


02/02/2004 12:44:55 PM · #9
Originally posted by StevePax:

For those of us with PS Elements (that's lots of us, I think), I don't think we have a channel mixer, do we? What are our options? Looks like we're limited to option 1, the least desireable. Anyone want to enlighten me?


Gradient map works in Elements. The results look very different to simple desaturation.

I also recently tried adding a plain colour layer (to simulate a filter with black and white film) before desaturating and got quite interesting results. I've only tried this once but really should experiment with it some more.
02/02/2004 12:44:56 PM · #10
or on filters on the enlarger since we are talking post-procesing here.

Originally posted by Gordon:

in much the same way that a lot of people using B&W film use colour filters on the lens to change the final result.


there is another thread about this type of thing, and i have tried the mehtond mentioned there - which works quuite well also.\

see it here
02/02/2004 01:25:24 PM · #11
Originally posted by soup:

or on filters on the enlarger since we are talking post-procesing here.


Or if you are certain that you are going to convert to B&W only: Do a custom whitebalance reading on light to medium blue. All the photo's will be very yellow and seem to convert to B&W a lot easier.

If you're shooting RAW I guess that his can be done in the RAW converter.


02/02/2004 01:31:42 PM · #12
I just played with calculations myself for the "Things that go Together" I like the control of it as well. I ended up going with something different but it was fun to play with. Probably use it again.
02/02/2004 01:37:02 PM · #13
Originally posted by coolhar:

(7) Set your camera to B&W mode

By the way, this might be a very good approach. As far as I understand, only Lightness channel has 'physical' resolution marked on the camera. That means - for every pixel of the final image the lightness might come either form Red, Green or Blue pixel of the CCD. The manufacturer is supposed to know the right proportions to adjust the lightness in each channel and I speculate the following:

1. The B&W coming out of camera with the correct white balance (or B&W post-processed from the RAW image by proprietorware) is the only 'right' B&W which one can get. Creativity is not meant - just pure science. Use level curves for adjustments.

2. Cheap cameras might not have the proper blending algorithm (i.e. they might have hard-coded coefficients applicable to some 'average' conditions) which will be visible as repetitive horisontal patterns in lightness when the image is split to HSL.

The first one is arguable and I can bring up a lot of arguement myself, but those who want to have peace in mind must know that this is a fair assumption.

The second one is easy to try which I did with my Fuji 2800 camera and found the expected patterns. Just save L channel as bitmap and open it with some cheap viewer which does not interpolate pixels when zooming in (MS PhotoEditor might do but I use IrfanView which has this option swithchable). Minolta 7Hi does not create lightness patterns.
02/02/2004 02:48:10 PM · #14
Originally posted by Zeissman:

What is wrong with just converting to grey scale, and adjusting the levels? I am always happy with the results.


Hey Zeiss! Long time no see. :P

There is a similar discussion in this thread (for those of you who did not see it)... As you can see, the skin tones are greatly affected by conversion to greyscale, and then adjusting levels compared to this and Gordon's method.
I think it depends on the exposure - a bit over exposed scene can be pushed this way, or desaturated and then levels and contrast or what have you adjusted. I really like the results given in that thread though, and will try Gordon's posted suggestion too.
02/02/2004 03:57:40 PM · #15
I see the extra control it gives. I guess I have been lucky. That glowing skin look is great.
02/02/2004 04:18:38 PM · #16
my favorite is the "Russell Brown" (of Adobe) technique. The method itself is described at //www.adobe.com/tips/phs8colorbw/main.html

You basically create 2 adjustment layers, the first is a simple desaturation (although you can also start with a channel mixer adjustment layer if you like) then you create a second layer that blends in Color mode and you use the Hue/Sat slider controls to get very fine control over your levels and tones. works great.

There are several actions out there that automate this process for you - I believe it is included in the DP Review Action packs.


02/02/2004 06:01:25 PM · #17
this may have already been mentioned somewhere, but I have gotten great results using a gradient map... just make sure your colors are B&W on the tool palette. I usually use a combination of methods to get the best results.
02/02/2004 08:53:35 PM · #18
Originally posted by StevePax:

For those of us with PS Elements (that's lots of us, I think), I don't think we have a channel mixer, do we? What are our options? Looks like we're limited to option 1, the least desireable. Anyone want to enlighten me?


Over the weekend I found a process for doing the equivalent (though I do not know if it is completely equivalent) of the channel mixer in Elements.

1. Load the color image to convert.
2. Select the layer effect "Levels". This is found in the Black and White circle popup at the bottom of the layers window.
3. Do not change anything, just select OK. This creates a new Layer.
4. Select the layer effect "Hue/Saturation". This is found in the same popup as before.
5. Move the sturation slider all the way to the left.
6. Select OK. This creates another new layer.
7. Double click on the Levels layer. This opens the Levels dialog.
8. Manipulate the levels in the Red, Green and Blue layers to your taste.
9. Select OK.
10. Save the image.

I found this in the book "Photoshop Elements Book for digital photographers" by Scott Kelby. He claimms that it is equivalent to the channel mixer in Photoshop CS, but I do not know. I must say that I really like the results I get. There are some in my DPC Portfolio in the Black and White section.

02/04/2004 06:18:47 PM · #19
Originally posted by StevePax:

For those of us with PS Elements (that's lots of us, I think), I don't think we have a channel mixer, do we? What are our options? Looks like we're limited to option 1, the least desireable. Anyone want to enlighten me?


I decided to try out the method linked to from the other thread despite the fact that it says a full version of Photoshop was required, and it does work in PS Elements. Seems there are a lot of options available if you just try.
02/04/2004 06:29:55 PM · #20
First of all I don't think The SONY F717 has B & W Mode on it. And second, I find that if you use B&W mode on your camera you cannot go back to color if you get a great shot, But if you take in all color then it is easy to change the photo to B&W. Just my 2 cents worth!
02/13/2004 08:12:50 AM · #21
This is a good method to create a B&W photo, with all the colour information still left in the picture. I have posted a question in another DPC forum with regards to its legality / compliance with the basic rules - but for more advanced editing it would work, I guess.

1) Layers/New Adjustment Layer/Channel Mixer /New Layer - click OK / Channel Mixer /Monochrome box ticked click OK. Then you can play around with the source channels. All values should add up to or around 100 %.

2) Layers / New Adjustment Layer / Colour Balance /New Layer click OK / and then I play around with the colour levels for the different colour tones. For midtones and shadows I usually set at the same values, for the highlights I reverse the numbers compared to midtones and shadows. So if I use the values +30, +10, -10 for midtones & shadows - then I reverse the numbers for the highlights to -30, -10, +10.

3) Then on the colour balance palette I right click on the "color balance 1" text and select "blending options". In the initial default screen, in the "Blend if" equals "Grey" section on the bottom of the dialogue box, I adjust and split the arrows on the top grey line for blending ( I drag arrow inwards to set a new value, for example 50, then I split the arrow into two parts by holding down the alt key and drag (and thus separate the arrows) the right part of the arrow to the value you want.

All in all, this creates a nice B&W effect were you can blend in some warmer tones in your photo, mixing in sepia tones and so on

Message edited by author 2004-02-13 08:14:31.
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