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Author Topic: How do I get rich, deep blacks...  (Read 20880 times)
The View
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« on: April 20, 2008, 07:50:31 PM »
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I have seen images I admire for their rich, deep blacks, while the rest of the image seems to have normal tone values.

If, for example, I lower the shadow values in Camera Raw, the contrast automatically increases.

I wonder if there could be a threshold, that deepens the tones, and leaves the rest of the image alone.

Sorry that I can't describe it better at the moment...
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2008, 09:47:14 PM »
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That would be the Curve control in ACR or Photoshop...
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The View
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2008, 12:13:18 AM »
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I do it that way in camera raw.

But lowering the shadow values automatically somehow increases the contrast in the rest of the picture, also in the areas that are brighter.
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keith_cooper
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2008, 03:40:27 AM »
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I do it that way in camera raw.
I'd say do it afterwards - try looking at the effects of different shaped curves in an adjustment layer. There are lots of different techniques, but they invariably do it -after- the raw conversion. ACR is for me the way of getting the best material to work on in PS.  I do use ACR corrections quite a bit when I'm converting a batch of images for a commercial job, but if it's individual images (for prints say) then most the work gets done after the conversion
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2008, 06:57:36 AM »
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But lowering the shadow values automatically somehow increases the contrast in the rest of the picture, also in the areas that are brighter.

If you want black blacks and white whites, then increasing global contrast is unavoidable. You can decrease local contrast by doing a Gaussian Blur with a 10-50 pixel radius and the opacity faded to taste.
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Peter Frahm
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2008, 08:12:52 AM »
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Try selecting luminosity (mac: Command+Option+~ (tilde)  PC: Control+Alt+~). After you do that do an inversion of the selection (Command + Shift + "i" ).

At that point you'll have a selection of the darker stuff in your image..mid tones on down to black.

This makes it easier to lock down your brighter tones on a curve so you can darken the stuff you want dark. The great thing is that you are allowed to do other stuff while in this selection, OMG.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2008, 08:13:20 AM by Peter Frahm » Logged
The View
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2008, 05:50:41 PM »
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Try selecting luminosity (mac: Command+Option+~ (tilde)  PC: Control+Alt+~). After you do that do an inversion of the selection (Command + Shift + "i" ).

At that point you'll have a selection of the darker stuff in your image..mid tones on down to black.

This makes it easier to lock down your brighter tones on a curve so you can darken the stuff you want dark. The great thing is that you are allowed to do other stuff while in this selection, OMG.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190961\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This sounds interesting.

I'll give this a try.

Thanks.
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The View
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2008, 05:55:09 PM »
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If you want black blacks and white whites, then increasing global contrast is unavoidable. You can decrease local contrast by doing a Gaussian Blur with a 10-50 pixel radius and the opacity faded to taste.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190944\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I guess the problem is the local contrast.

It completely ruins the smoothness of the image tone. As if the image would break up, and it loses its - how shall I put it - its luminous character.

I hope this indicates what I'm fighting with...
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The View
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2008, 06:27:31 PM »
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I'd say do it afterwards - try looking at the effects of different shaped curves in an adjustment layer. There are lots of different techniques, but they invariably do it -after- the raw conversion. ACR is for me the way of getting the best material to work on in PS.  I do use ACR corrections quite a bit when I'm converting a batch of images for a commercial job, but if it's individual images (for prints say) then most the work gets done after the conversion
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190919\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Why is it not a good process to do "curves" in Camera Raw?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2008, 11:49:53 PM »
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Why is it not a good process to do "curves" in Camera Raw?

It IS good practice, at least for global luminance adjustments. The PS tool has more options than the one in ACR, but there's no good reason not to do what you can in ACR.
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The View
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2008, 01:06:50 AM »
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I have been doing it all the time and not noticed any problems...

... except in images with higher... well, in black and white negatives I'd have said "density", then things get rough, like when you pull the black slider too much to the right.

It then works better to do it in curves. Don't know why, is a result of experience.
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Peter Frahm
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2008, 08:07:00 AM »
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Actuall, in this situation, View is better off going for reasonable blacks with as much detail as possible in them in ACR, or whatever raw tool he's on. Then he can go into Photoshop and use the various tools that allow more specific editing on his blacks. You do tend to sacrifice detail when you go for those crispy blacks and ACR doesn't really give you the type of specific control that you can get in PS. Sometimes you need to just render a generally decent and open file in RAW and know that PS is going to be used for the nitty.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2008, 08:09:24 AM by Peter Frahm » Logged
The View
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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2008, 09:48:41 PM »
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Actuall, in this situation, View is better off going for reasonable blacks with as much detail as possible in them in ACR, or whatever raw tool he's on. Then he can go into Photoshop and use the various tools that allow more specific editing on his blacks. You do tend to sacrifice detail when you go for those crispy blacks and ACR doesn't really give you the type of specific control that you can get in PS. Sometimes you need to just render a generally decent and open file in RAW and know that PS is going to be used for the nitty.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191201\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, I found that out. Leaving blacks conservative, even if the image is too flat for my taste.

Looks like ACR has its limits there.

What process do you have in mind for enriching blacks?
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stamper
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2008, 07:04:36 AM »
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Yes, I found that out. Leaving blacks conservative, even if the image is too flat for my taste.

Looks like ACR has its limits there.

What process do you have in mind for enriching blacks?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191343\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


In PS try steepening the curve in curves till you get the blacks and whites as you want them That will make the midtones too contrasty Then another layer that decreases the contrast overall till the mid tones look like you want them and use the blend if sliders to target the midtones leaving the blacks and whites contrasty It could be used to target blacks only and whites only seperately Do a search for blend if in layers if you don't know how to use it Worthwhile
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jbrembat
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2008, 08:13:28 AM »
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A curve similar to the following, makes dark tones darker,

I don't know if you can reproduce it in cameraraw.

Jacopo
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2008, 08:14:56 AM »
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A curve similar to the following, makes dark tones darker,

I don't know if you can reproduce it in cameraraw.

Yes, you can.
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The View
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2008, 12:44:35 PM »
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In PS try steepening the curve in curves till you get the blacks and whites as you want them That will make the midtones too contrasty Then another layer that decreases the contrast overall till the mid tones look like you want them and use the blend if sliders to target the midtones leaving the blacks and whites contrasty It could be used to target blacks only and whites only seperately Do a search for blend if in layers if you don't know how to use it Worthwhile
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191384\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This sounds very interesting.

I haven't done any blending of two curves adjustments. At the moment I'm a bit puzzled, who you can have steep contrast in the midtones in your first adjustment (that gives great whites and blacks), and then a second adjustment that only softens the midtones.

Did I repeat that right? Why does the blending only affect the midtones?
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The View
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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2008, 12:45:31 PM »
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A curve similar to the following, makes dark tones darker,

I don't know if you can reproduce it in cameraraw.

Jacopo
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191392\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks!
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stamper
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2008, 05:43:44 AM »
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This sounds very interesting.

I haven't done any blending of two curves adjustments. At the moment I'm a bit puzzled, who you can have steep contrast in the midtones in your first adjustment (that gives great whites and blacks), and then a second adjustment that only softens the midtones.

Did I repeat that right? Why does the blending only affect the midtones?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191434\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

On the second layer which is the one where the mid tones look OK to you the Blend if targets the mid tones and excludes the darkest tones and the lightest tones The darkest and lightest tones show through from the underlying layer If you understand how Blend if works then you will realise how it is done A few weeks ago there was a long thread on Blend if It is a little understood method that deserves more use Google for it and make it part of your workflow It can be used in all sorts of situations including sharpening
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gmitchel
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2008, 06:58:36 AM »
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That would be the Curve control in ACR or Photoshop...
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes. Curves in Photoshop is one way. My TLR Tone Enhance action set includes a Punch Blacks action. It uses a Curves adjustment layer to boost the blacks.

[a href=\"http://www.thelightsrightstudio.com/TLRToneEnhance.htm]http://www.thelightsrightstudio.com/TLRToneEnhance.htm[/url]

My action goes right up the diagonal line and pins the curve at (75, 75), (100, 100), (125, 125), (150, 150), (175, 175), (200, 200), (225, 225). That keeps the curve above the black punch from shifting. Then it pulls the curve down so Input = 30 and Output = 15.

Be sure to set the Blend Mode to Luminosity to avoid color shifts in the shadows with this maneuver.

In ACR 4, you might consider the Blacks slider. It is the RAW equivalent of the Levels slider in Photoshop. Better would be to apply a Point Curve. You could add the points I mention and save your own preset in just a couple of minutes.

Send me an e-mail or a Yahoo IM (gmitchel850) and I'll send you the .XMP file for an ACR preset that's the equivalent of the Curve setting from my TLR Punch Blacks action. Or a Lightroom preset, if you prefer.

Cheers,

Mitch
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 07:00:52 AM by gmitchel » Logged
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