black and white in photoshop and digital filters.

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by dirk_dom|1, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. Hi!
    I'm starting serious black and white again after thirty years. i bought myself a technical camera for this, and yesterday I shot some images with my Olympus PEN to train my eye for black and white. I shot fine JPEG, ISO 100, Canon FD 135mm f/2 at f/2.
    I used Photoshop CS6, images, adjustments, black and white and the digital filters that are there.
    Color image:
    00cihJ-549930084.jpg
     
  2. I converted to black and white with Photoshop, image, adjustments, black and white.
    This image without using the digital filters.
    Everything looks nice.
    00cihL-549930184.jpg
     
  3. Then i substracted green and and added yellow.
    the image shows horrible blotches in the background.
    00cihM-549930284.jpg
     
  4. I tried this with another image:
    original color. 100 ASA, 135mm f/2, Olympus PEN EP-5, fine JPEG.
    00cihN-549930384.jpg
     
  5. Conversion to black and white, no filtering: everything looks fine.
    00cihO-549930484.jpg
     
  6. Filtering: minus green, plus yellow:
    00cihP-549930584.jpg
     
  7. Not very nice.
    I asked a friend with a Leica M to send me a shot with nice background.
    Leica M, JPEG, Leica R 180mm f/2, wide open:
    00cihQ-549930684.jpg
     
  8. You would benefit from shooting RAW for your B&W conversions. Obviously, there is only so much information in the files to work with. If you apply extreme color changes, you're likely to see noise.
     
  9. I converted to black and white without color filtering: looks real nice.
    00cihS-549930784.jpg
     
  10. then i subsracted red and added yellow: bye bye smooth background!
    00cihT-549930884.jpg
     
  11. If you are serious about conversions, this free video by George Jardine formally of Adobe is a must view:
    http://mulita.com/blog/?p=1244
     
  12. Now, I'm not an expert at all at digital black and white.
    I think the color bandwidth of the Photoshop color filters is too narrow and you get these effects.
    My temporary conclusion is not to use the software filters but to use real glass filters and later convert to black and white without using Photoshop filters.
    Now, two months ago, when I made this decision to go for serious black and white again, I almost bought the Sony A7R and a Canon EF 17mm tilt-shift, to go the photoshop filtering method. I decided against it and bought myself a technical camera with a 47mm lens because I decided serious black and white landscape should be shot on black and white film. Imagine how I'd have felt after having bought this $7,000 A7R combo and found out this!
    Now, the real question:
    Is there a way to do this digital filtering in a good way? So i keep my smooth backgrounds?
    Shooting RAW may put more color values than the 256 in a JPEG, that'd depend what the RAW converter makes of it, I think, but I don't know much about this. TIFFs can be saved as 16 bits, Photoshop made to run in 16 bits. Does that mean it works with 16,000 color shades in R, G, B?
    Maybe there is software that allows bandwith of color filter to select wider or get narrower?
    Bye,
    Dirk.
     
  13. I think the color bandwidth of the Photoshop color filters is too narrow and you get these effects.​
    What color filters are you referring to?
    Is there a way to do this digital filtering in a good way?​
    Many, the video I posted shows several and I'd submit, doing this in ACR/LR is one of the best in terms of flexibility, speed and non destructive editing using the full data a raw provides.
     
  14. "My temporary conclusion is not to use the software filters but to use real glass filters and later convert to black and white without using Photoshop filters."​
    Other than for special effects such as infrared, it's better to do digital monochrome in software from full color captures without filters.

    Simple conversions such as using only a single RGB channel almost invariably results in noisy monochrome photos with problems in highlights and shadows. Occasionally I've gotten good results using only the green channel, but that's generally in overcast or diffused lighting and with low contrast subjects.

    Check the references Andrew suggested. And you might enjoy the trial version of Nik for b&w conversions. However be sure to watch some good illustrated video tutorials for using Nik, otherwise you may not get the full benefit of the free trial period.

    Lightroom also has excellent tools for b&w conversions, but as you already have Photoshop stick with it for now using the recommended techniques.
     
  15. [[My temporary conclusion is not to use the software filters but to use real glass filters and later convert to black and white without using Photoshop filters.]]
    This is an erroneous conclusion.
     
  16. SCL

    SCL

    I've experimented with glass filters and the use of filters in my software. I've found for better control don't convert directly to B&W using preselected filters, use the channel mixer and check the monochrome box.
     
  17. I 'd like to know what causes these grey blotches.
    Is it noise in the image?
    Is it because I ask for too extreme a change?
    Why is the initial grey scale conversion perfectly smooth and then it turns horrible?
    I personally think a program like photoshop should yield acceptable results
    So far I only used black and white film (with filters), scanned and then photoshopped with levels, curves and burn and dodge.
    dirk.
    00ciix-549933084.jpg
     
  18. Hi!
    i tried an image shot in RAW, converted to DNG, then opened in CameraRaw, and it's ok.
    It doesn't seem to matter if the CameraRaw is in 8 or 16 bit, it also doesn't seem to matter if i do the black and white filtering in CameraRaw or Photoshop.
    The black and white conversion of the JPEG and filtering gives the bad results.
    For future reference, here are the results:
    Original.
    00cijS-549935884.jpg
     
  19. Black and white conversion without any filtering
    00cijT-549935984.jpg
     
  20. With filtering in JPEG
     
  21. With filtering (red an yellow) in JPEG
    00cijX-549936084.jpg
     
  22. With filtering in Photoshop of the opened CameraRaw image.
    00cijY-549936184.jpg
     
  23. Thanks a lot for the help, sorry at my frustration, I'll shoot RAW from now on!
    Bye,
    Dirk.
     
  24. [edit: remove big part that was solved with your last post :) ]
    To me, it looks like your "photoshop colour filters" effectively turn one colour channel down all the way to zero, which is far too extreme. Actual real-life colour filters do not filter 100%, nor are they pure yellow or red. You seem to use too extreme settings. Which indeed gives a great risk of artifacts (and files with just 8 bits per channel will display those way before files with 16 bit per channel do - note that also for scanning 8-versus-16 bits plays a role).

    For the colour filters, try things in moderation, and mixing the various colour channels more, not just removing one. Read tutorials, as those provided already, or get a book on the subject. Photoshop is a powerful but complicated tool, so take some time to learn it. And, as others also said, consider using other tools if Photoshop doesn't work for you. The fact that it is the established industry leader does not mean it is the right tool for all of us, so there is nothing wrong in using other software if that gets you up and running easier.
     
  25. Hi, Wouter!
    You're absolutely right.
    I figured out that black and white conversion of a JPEG file and using the digital filters made these artifacts. Using a Raw file, DNG converter and CameraRaw and Photoshop made for good results.
    I'll have to start believing people when they say RAW is better, so far I've always used JPEGs.
    Hope this post will help people who are in the same situation.
    My fault.
    Thanks!
    Dirk.
     
  26. Easy to use tools like DxO Filmpack can simplify b&w conversions from color. While the film analogs don't quite match my experience (the grain is usually exaggerated by DxO Filmpack, but can be reduced), the overall results can be very good. Keep in mind these would be even better when working from at least the original full resolution JPEG. Even better would be the original raw file, or a TIFF from the raw file.
    00cijf-549936384.jpg
     
  27. And another variation of the same photo from the tiny web sized JPEG, this time in Lightroom 4.4.
    The main difference between these two - DxO Filmpack and Lightroom - is that LR offers noise reduction and sharpening. In terms of exposure, contrast, brightness, selective tone control, "grain", etc., both editors offer comparable control, but in different ways. And Lightroom's overall design is very different.
    00ciji-549936584.jpg
     
  28. It doesn't seem to matter if the CameraRaw is in 8 or 16 bit, it also doesn't seem to matter if i do the black and white filtering in CameraRaw or Photoshop.​
    All raw files are high bit (more than 8 bits per color) and all processing in ACR/Lightroom are conducted in high bit. But you can still hose your data if you go overboard.
     
  29. Another option is shooting in your camera's B&W mode. Newer cameras (ex:Fujifilm X-E1) have several options of using "filters" red, yellow, green and results in my opinion can be very good. This approach gives less flexibility at editing stage but it is closer to B&W film shooting experience - you never capture color image, it's B&W through whole process. X-E1 thanks to it's EVF viewfinder lets you even see black and white while you are framing and focusing - great feature in my experience.
     
  30. If the entire Fuji X-series is like my X-A1, the b&w mode affects only the JPEGs. The raw (Fuji RAF) files are color, so you can re-edit them later, in the camera itself or in any editor. Same with in-camera crops (1:1, etc.) - these affect only the JPEG; the raw version is uncropped, full dimensions. However it's important to shoot raw plus JPEG to enjoy this feature. The X-A1 (and presumably the X-M1) have some rookie-friendly image modes that are JPEG only - I avoid those, other than the in camera double exposure option which can be interesting.
    While in-camera b&w modes can be convenient with many cameras they don't allow for the kind of tonal separation we might prefer. For example, Dirk's first photo of leaves against a green background can lend itself to better tonal separation with selective editing in the computer. The green and yellow/orange colors can be individually tweaked to achieve tonal separation that might be missed by the in-camera b&w mode.
    Much as I enjoy the Fuji color JPEGs and generally use them as-is with no further editing, I often prefer to handle any b&w conversion myself in post.
     
  31. If you want to see how a B&W filter in Photoshop (I use CS5) is applied to individual color channels, open a color photo, choose "black and white" in adjustments, and then choose a filter under "Preset". Here for example is the color composition of a red filter. You can then play with the individual channels to get the result just right to your eye.
    00cipX-549959884.jpg
     
  32. Just a non-technical observation, but in the first color version of the photo, the background highlights are very yellow, especially in the center. so when you desaturated green and added yellow after converting it seems you just lightened up those areas and I would expect to get exactly that effect. Maybe you should use layers and mask off the background or select the subject area when applying those filters.
     
  33. Ditto, Barry's advice. Sometimes the best way to get the desired tonal separation is to work in layers or use other selective methods. Easy global solutions that affect the entire photo don't always achieve the effect we want.
     
  34. I shot a bunch in New Mexico in March and ended up making quite a few black-and-whites. I felt my conversions were more successful using the channel mixer instead of the black-and-white dialog. The channel mixer introduced noticeably fewer artifacts and gave me the tonal values I wanted, often using the orange or red filter preset as a starting point.
    [​IMG]
     
  35. I like to use Silver FX pro. It's easy to overboard though.
    00civ0-549977084.jpg
     
  36. The channel mixer introduced noticeably fewer artifacts and gave me the tonal values I wanted, often using the orange or red filter preset as a starting point.​

    Just a note, but the OP's background hot spots aren't I believe artifacts, they are plainly there in the original photo. Its just the way he post-processed made them more prominent in the photo.
     
  37. You can also convert to BW by using a gradient map set with black and white. Leave at normal blend, by play with the
    gradient sliders and mid points
     

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