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Author Topic: Monochrome Conversion  (Read 3807 times)
alangubbay
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« on: April 08, 2009, 04:08:29 AM »
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The new NIK monochrome converter does look very impressive judging by its provenence and the online demonstration.  However it does seem hard to beat channel mixer or ACR.  Has anyone yet had extensive experience in the use of this program.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 06:54:33 AM »
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Quote from: alangubbay
The new NIK monochrome converter does look very impressive judging by its provenence and the online demonstration.  However it does seem hard to beat channel mixer or ACR.  Has anyone yet had extensive experience in the use of this program.
Extensive?  No ... less than a year ... but I like it a lot.

It is easy to use, easy to learn and produces excellent results.  My very first attempts were surprisingly good.

That said, I don't think it does anything that can't be replicated in Photoshop.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 09:15:26 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Extensive?  No ... less than a year ... but I like it a lot.

It is easy to use, easy to learn and produces excellent results.  My very first attempts were surprisingly good.

That said, I don't think it does anything that can't be replicated in Photoshop.
I've used it for less than a year, as well.  For almost all images that I would convert to B&W, I use the NIK program, which has immense flexibility with ease of execution.  For some images I still use the "Black & White" adjustment layer in CS4, or in the RAW converter (essentially the same variety of settings).  

That said, the NIK program offers several varieties of control (contrast, brightness, "structure" which seems to be a local contrast feature such as Clarity in PS, graininess, "photo filters", a check on the distribution of tones,  film emulation, vignetting, etc, all available simultaneously without having to leave one set of adjustments and open another.  In addition, the built-in options of brushing the effects in makes things simpler than setting up similar options in CS4.

Could I continue to function without Silver Efex Pro?  Certainly.  However, I know that many of the conversions I have done would not have got done in CS4 alone, even though theoretically they are all possible.  There is another factor in using the NIK program, which really is set up for photographers:  Going through the vertical "filmstrip" of presets on the left side of the screen never fails to stimulate ideas for treatment of my image, andy any combination of preset plus manual adjustments can be saved as a personal preset.

I find that Silver Efex Pro and Color Efex 3 allow me to put finishing touches on images that I used to be happy with.  And while the Color Efex filters can produce startling effects for those that like them, they can also produce very subtle but powerful effects with ease, in an intuitive way not easily found in CS4.

No, I do not work for NIK.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2009, 11:25:52 AM »
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It's a very nicely-done program and you should try the 30 day trial. I liked it very much and do a lot of b&w, but didn't buy it at the end of that period only because I considered it too expensive for what it does.

John
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 03:07:02 PM by johnbeardy » Logged

Arizona
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009, 05:54:08 PM »
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I bought it when it came out after trying the demo.

It has U-point

The Structure slider is very good. I even use that feature on my color images on a Luminosity Layer.

I rarely use the Film presets but in that dialog box there is a menu that works with the color response called Sensitivity with 6 sliders. That is a good place to fine tune.

The program has a ton of features to make a striking B&W image.
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Glen
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 06:01:26 AM »
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I don't think the way to transform a colour image or RAW file into B&W really deserves too much discussion, after all it's all about combining the R, G and B values into some weighted average to have a luminosity. The important part is what you do then in postprocessing to that B&W file.

If all these plugins like NIK satisfy and make you happy, it is not because they perform a clever B&W conversion but because you like the particular postprocessing they do to the already converted B&W image. IMO to perform a proper colour development and then adequately mix the RGB channels or just go to Lab and take the Luminosity is more than good enough.

For example, these are all possible RGB combinations from a pure RAW file. Not even the colour profile conversion took place so the three edges of the triangle are the pure R, G and B channels that the sensor captured (see it in large size here):



None of them is stunning, they are just possible mixes and one of them will represent best the coloured umbrella of the scene. There is actually no more than this to B&W conversion. What you do next (or what your preferred plugin did for you without you knowing) is what really matters. I prefer to do it myself.

BR
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 06:07:55 AM by GLuijk » Logged

john beardsworth
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 06:34:52 AM »
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These plug-ins aren't just about the RGB conversion recipe, you know. They also pretend to simulate the grain and tonal response of once-common b&w films which the credulous user may never have shot or developed. Nik's the best such tool - I just didn't think it was good value for money and, like you, prefer to do it myself.

As for the diagram, one of them does not necessarily represent best the coloured umbrella of the scene. In film days we may have been limited to single-colour lens filters - but not any longer (unless you use bland old Luminosity).

John
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2009, 06:52:12 AM »
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Quote from: GLuijk
I don't think the way to transform a colour image or RAW file into B&W really deserves too much discussion

Sure went out of your way to discuss something that doesn't deserve any discussion!

I understand exactly what this software is doing ... and it makes me happy.

As someone who makes software themselves, I'm sure you understand that software is as much about user-interface, workflow and the "experience" as it is functionality.

If you don't ... you should ...
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Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2009, 01:36:12 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Sure went out of your way to discuss something that doesn't deserve any discussion!

I understand exactly what this software is doing ... and it makes me happy.

As someone who makes software themselves, I'm sure you understand that software is as much about user-interface, workflow and the "experience" as it is functionality.

If you don't ... you should ...
There was nothing about software mentioned in the thread's title. What I mean is that the discussion here is not about B&W conversion, but about the postprocessing that some software around apply to images and that makes some users happy. So the thread shouldn't be called 'Monochrome conversion' but something like 'B&W plugins', 'B&W conversion software',...
My mistake was to think this thread was about monochrome conversion, I didn't see the NIK subtitle until now.

BR
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 01:59:26 PM by GLuijk » Logged

Arizona
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2009, 02:59:43 PM »
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Quote from: GLuijk
There was nothing about software mentioned in the thread's title. What I mean is that the discussion here is not about B&W conversion, but about the postprocessing that some software around apply to images and that makes some users happy. So the thread shouldn't be called 'Monochrome conversion' but something like 'B&W plugins', 'B&W conversion software',...
My mistake was to think this thread was about monochrome conversion, I didn't see the NIK subtitle until now.

BR

uummm, whatever

If you would have simply read the first post, that would have completely cleared it up for you.
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Glen
Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2009, 04:21:07 PM »
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Quote from: GLuijk
There was nothing about software mentioned in the thread's title. What I mean is that the discussion here is not about B&W conversion, but about the postprocessing that some software around apply to images and that makes some users happy. So the thread shouldn't be called 'Monochrome conversion' but something like 'B&W plugins', 'B&W conversion software',...
My mistake was to think this thread was about monochrome conversion, I didn't see the NIK subtitle until now.
BR
You've completely lost me.

I think you are just being pedantic ... if I am sitting looking at a color rendering of a .NEF file in LR 2.3 and I export a TIFF to Silver EFX for additional processing that will result in a B&W image file being saved back into my LR library, the distinction between the "B&W Conversion" and the "post-processing thereafter" I do in Silver EFX is meaningless to me.
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Tklimek
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2009, 05:50:24 PM »
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<sigh>.......now if we could only get it to do it's magic INSIDE of LR in a non-destructive way....instead of the hokey export/import business (which is not their fault).

Cheers....

Todd in Chicago

Quote from: alangubbay
The new NIK monochrome converter does look very impressive judging by its provenence and the online demonstration.  However it does seem hard to beat channel mixer or ACR.  Has anyone yet had extensive experience in the use of this program.
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