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In this video we show some digital photo tips on shooting and retouching a Black & White image.
Tags:Black and White Photography,digital photo tips,digital photography training,digital photography tutorials,prophotoinsights,retouching black and white images,shooting black and white images,simon plant
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Well welcome to Pro Photo Insights, today we’re gonna turn a rather drab looking color picture into something really graphic and very strong. This is a finish picture on the screen, I’ll show you what we we’ve started with so you could see the before and after. This is what we started with, it’s a picture I did in autumn. There’s not a lot of coloration, and the shot is very monochromatic to begin with. If we’d had some strong glow light in the shot, it would at least pick up some nice textures on the flat field on the foreground, but we didn’t. But I thought it would make a good example of how you can transform something like this into a very strong graphic black and white image, and actually add the color that you want to the shot, so. I’m gonna take you to this shot, this image step by step. Here’s our image on the screen, it’s a 16 bit TIF file at the moment. If you ever watch my videos and you happen to look upon here, you see RGB 8 bit, basically that’s just that I converted the layer to 8 bit while working on it. If it was a very large file then obviously, I don’t slave on the computer too much so. But I always work in 16 bits as a raw. Anyway, so first thing we need to do is to add a black and white adjustment layer. Now I’m using CS3, so we have a black and white option in the layers palette. If you haven’t, just convert it anyway you can to black and white preferably with the adjustment layer. So probably challenge is your best bet. I’m just gonna okay that and leave that there, I just wanna, you’ll see why, just add that in just to give me a starting point. Now I wanna go to channel’s panel adjustment there, sorry, and add a channel mixer and make sure that that below, that is below your black and white layer. Now with these, I just wanna base the, adjust the, and increase the contrast in the ground here and the background hills. So what I’ll gonna do is, is drag the red down here and increase my green to kinda counter balance that, so bring that forgot to bring that a bit, and also the blue. So really I'm just ignore all top half, I just wanna add some beef to the bottom half of the image here, so I reckon about there, looks good. Again we just adjust these two layers just to add a bit back in, that’s not far apart I want, so, we should okay that. And as you can see it’s just added a bit of contrastic, a bit of contrast to the bottom half of the image. Now what we need to do is, I just need to go in and just delete the adjustment off the sky. Just highlight the, channel mixer layer, get my gradient tool, foreground to black, background to white and then just drag the image, just to make sure it takes that away. Just come a bit further, like so. And that takes a lot of the adjustment of the sky a bit. Now you can go over the brush tool as well, set the foreground to black and just make sure, it’s not so much that to the top but down towards where the graduation filters out. You might just need to paint a bit back in there. But a grading tool is a good way, a good starting point, and sometimes I just need to go over with a brush tool. Just to make sure you gotta, now I’m just doing that quite crudely. Let’s just click the, Alt click on the layer mask, you can see the image adjustment, let’s just got that. Obviously cut around the tree there, so that’s gonna be okay. Okay, so you can see, we’re mainly affecting now the lower half of the image, like so. Right, now back to our, back to our black and white layer here. We can now have a move around on this settings, there’s a lot of few presets in here, and I’m gonna again go for, go for the red, I think, and just see what that looks like. Because I see quite flat image, and I want plenty of contrasting, that much better, so, let’s have a quick look, okay. That’s a good starting point for us. I just want to quickly clear up what I said about the convert to 16 bit to 8 bit on the screen. I only convert to 8 bit when I’m videoing tutorial, so I just wanna clear that up, it may be a bit confusing. I don’t convert to 8 bit while I’m actually retouching, only when I’m videoing and showing you the retouching techniques. Anyway, got that out of the way, right, so we’ve had a play around with the black and white layer. And I’m using the high contrast red filter as I said. Coz I want to really beef up the image, it sure is quite flat. The next line in my kit, another curves adjustment layer, like so. I just wanna darken the sky down a little bit, now just try and bounce the picture out a bit more. So I’m just gonna drag the curves, don’t want it too far, curves down like so, just to add a bit more, more mood to the sky. I again, I don’t really wanna affect my lower half of the image so the easiest thing to do is to, I use a gradient just to get started, just grab the paint brush tool and go over at the lower half of the image with that, like so. And you can Alt click on the mask, to see where you’ve been, if you want to, see you haven’t missed too much. Alt click to come back again, I’m just gonna make my brush a bit smaller and just make sure. I don’t mind the back ground there, but I don’t want too much of the fields affected. I’ve only gone it too dark at this stage. So yes, so basically just keep going around the picture like that, and make sure you get the tree as well. But be careful you don’t go too far round the edges, like so. So that’s pretty much there, you can always do a bit of a Gaussian and blur on that, so filter, blur, Gaussian blur, and that’s just will get rid of that any nasty edges that we’ve left behind by mistake. Alt click, okay. So you got the idea anyway. Just to take away the effect from the lower half, so I just wanna really be affecting the, the sky. That’s pretty good, long as it’s, long as it’s blurred, you got no, no sharp edges. That’s the main finish at all. It should all blend in okay. To your layer, and get my paint bucket tool, black to the foreground and fill that layer into layer with black, change the mode to luminosity and just drop it down, a little touch, ‘bout 98 percent. Fill, add an adjustment layer mask, sorry, got my layer mask, and my adjustment layer mixed up, and then we get paint brush tool, foreground to black, and we’re gonna paint on our layer mask now, and just bring back some of the detail in the image, like so. Don’t worry it looks a bit of a mess at the moment, but hopefully that will sort itself out in a second. Right, so now we need to just drop the opacity this time at a little bit more, okay and now we can just finely adjust the mask, paint back in some of the black again. It really helps at this stage if you got a pressure sensitive pen and tablet, coz it just means you can just lightly go to the areas you want, but if you haven’t, don’t worry. I used a mask for many years, so, it is possible, but it is easy with a pen. Okay, so that gives just gives like a very dark, washed image, like so. That’s before, that’s after, so it’s really, redone down the image, and added a bit of mood, like so. The next thing we’re gonna do is add a hue and saturation adjustment layer, where is it, there we go, and make sure you check the colorize box. Now for this, I’m gonna basically put a bit of a cool wash over the image. So we got to around there, we’ll don’t want to over saturate it, so we’ll drop the saturation down quite a way, like that. And the lightness layer we can leave alone. Okay, so, it’s really cool down the picture. Now our next, next adjustment layer is a color balance adjustment layer. So we go to color balance, and I’m just gonna bring in a bit of a warmth back into, into this center area of this image. And to do that, I’m gonna start at midtones, I’m gonna add a plus 2 on the cyan. I’m gonna leave the magenta and yellow alone. On the shadows, I’m gonna do a minus 4 on the cyan, leave magenta alone, and yellow I’m gonna go plus 4, bit fiddler, okay. On the highlights, which is the main one I’m gonna go for a plus 19, or around there, for the reds. I’m gonna leave the magenta alone and the yellow, I’m gonna go minus 18, like so. Just okay that. Again, move to our old trick, paint bucket tool, foreground to black, fill that foreground to white, get that bush tool and then we can just, on the areas you want and my main area I want to do is here. It just add a bit of warmth back where the lighter clouds are, like so. And it’s a bit charmeron, it’s a bit artistic license. But the, what the warmth does is basically, would again draw your eye to that part of the image. You also want to a bit on the floor here, and it just draws the viewers’ attention to that part of the image. Okay, so, you had to experiment with that, just go over, slightly layer my skin. Go filter, blur, and I’ll just add a little bit of blur in. Now we’re using soft brushes, but you know, it’s always good just to make sure you got no nasty lines anywhere. And if you’re not happy then I think obviously select black to foreground color or just click on the x of your keyboard, now if you look here, I’m clicking x on the keyboard, and I just toggle the foreground and the background. And then obviously if you don’t have this thing, you just go back over and change that. So that’s that layer sorted out. The next thing I’m gonna do is again go back and again add a bit of contrast to the foreground, so. Curves adjustment layer, and again, I’m mainly interested on just this part, so, add a bit more black. And then just really, just put your cursor over and see where you need to click on the curve there, so just need to add contrast there, like so. That’s pretty, been out. And what I’ll do is just change the luminosity, change the layer, blend in my luminosity, so I don’t want to affect the color too much. And by putting in the luminosity, we can do that, pretty back to normal if you watch the color, we’re affecting the color, and it’s gone a lot more blue, so. Little trick, click on luminosity, and it won't affect the color too much. Okay, so again, fill that with black, with the paint bucket too, foreground to white, pen tool and we can just going to paint in the adjustment where you want to. And mainly the foreground here, like so, just adds a bit more contrast there, like so. Okay, and that’s that, for that bit. Right, yet another curve layer, and I’m just gonna darken again the whole image, like so. And paint brush tool, set to black and again, just gonna selectedly, actually what we’d do, I’d do a slight different, is that larger area, I’m gonna draw a bit of free hand selection, only for the areas I want to, wanted lighten again. So we’ll gonna fill that now with black, select deselect, and filter, blur, Gaussian blur, and we’ll give that a full 250 pixel blur, nice and soft, like so. Do we have it. And that gives us a nice, a nice selection there. And again, we can still get back in with black and we’re just paint a bit more away. But that way is a nice way of doing it, clean I’m getting my surf, nice and smooth effect little bit. So that’s that, just another, another curve layer. And we shall now move on to some noise, and that’s the noise of the image. We can do this several ways, this is, I will show you a bit, the way I like doing it. First of all, we need to go to new layer, set the mode to overlay, and check this box which this fill with overlay neutral color 50 percent. And that basically gonna fill the layer with gray, as you see there. We’ll now go to filter, noise, add noise and we can fill this layer with noise that we will want, like so. Pretty straight forward, pretty easy, we can just line it up in its own little group there, like so, and just call that noise. It’s a good idea, I mentioned before, to put all your adjustments in their own little layers, little groups, sorry. It just keeps the whole place nice and tidy. Right now, to add a bit more drama again with the color this time, I’m gonna go to the adjustment layers, I’m gonna pick out gradient map, now I’ve use this a few times and they are a little bit fiddly but they’re worth persevering with, you get some really nice effects. If you wanna tone your image, basically what this does is it applies a gradient to the luminosity values of the image. So you bring out your gradient map box there, and we’ll just click on the little gradient bar there, and you already got some presets, all the infos up here, which some of them are okay, that’s a straight forward black to, black to white gradient, which already intensifies the darker areas again, I actually quite like that, but a bit over the top. And there’s also already done for you, here’s the one I’ve picked out, I actually made up. And I’m just gonna show you very quickly how we do this, basically you can add to them by clicking underneath the bar here. You can add a various stoppers, and the stoppers can be colored, like so. So if I click on the, this is the stopper I just had, if I click on the color here, I can pick out all sort of different tones and colors. Now obviously being down on this end, this is shadow end of the tonals gauss, this is the lighter end. Because obviously I’m doing the shadow entry, I need to pick out a tone so that’s fitting with that end, we don’t have to but obviously for later on if we need effect, we’ll gonna pick a tone that’s appropriate for that end of the scale. So you can do that, you can also got these little sliders here which like graduate the effect. You wanna take your stopper out, you just grab it and pull. Okay, so, this effect I’ve had, I can slide this one up and you can see there’s more of, there’s a bit of a green color that I’ve introduced to the picture. The further I pull that up into the highlights the more the green creeps in to the highlights, but also the image gets denser, so. You got to be a bit careful of what you’re doing. So the highlights here, this is the color I picked out, this is kinda peachy color which is I quite like. I can pull that down a little bit more and darken the highlights or keep up fairly high, I’m gonna keep it where it is. I’m gonna take a bit of the color at the image, we just click okay. And I’m just drag this, this, oops, this graduation bar up little bit, and just brings back a little highlight details, so. You can click on that and then click okay. You can click the other. That just smoothes the effect a bit more, reverse, just to reverse the effect. But again, and just a really weird effect I wouldn’t recommend playing that one. So there we have it, there’s the before and there’s the after and play a grade a bit. Now, you can do all sorts of color combinations with this and also seeing that this is just an adjustment layer, you can also drop the opacity if you think it’s a bit over the top. But I actually quite like that, so I’m not gonna knock it down too much. So yeah, so you get some very good effect, unfortunately I can't go to the whole, whole detail of that in this video, coz it probably will take too long. But I have got some video I’ve just brought out, which gets into more detail about that and all. You’ll see a little clip of the video after this one is finish. And there is our finish image. There’s before, there is the finish so, a big, drastic change there, you agree. The only thing we can do, just finish off is to add a new empty layer and then go to the layers palette up here, and holding down the Alt key, in the keyboard, select merge visible, what that’s gonna do is create some sort of stamp, add all these layers here and gonna be combined into this top layer, there we go. So we can turn all these off now, I wanted to. And then what we’re gonna do is to sharpen it, I’m gonna do go to filter and we go to other, we go to high pass, okay. Just wait for that, then just so fiddle around with the radius setting here, just make sure you get, you don’t want it, you don’t wanna go too far there, just make sure you get, got enough of the highlight showing through, click okay and then we’re gonna wait for that to render out and change the blend mode to soft light. And if I just turn it off now, you can see the difference that made, if you don’t wanna affect the whole image, what you could do is, do our usual trick is add a layer mask, fill the layer mask with black, that takes away the effect and then with our paint brush tool and foreground set to white, we could just selectively sharpen just the areas we want, like so. You gotta be careful, you get graduating properly the way it’s gonna look rather weird. But I’ll leave the shot ring all on for this one. I just delete that layer mask. And there we go, there is our image finish. Hope you enjoyed that, check out the video prophotoinsights.net, and I’ll catch you next time. Cheers.