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Author Topic: What is the preferred method of selecting areas within a B+W for further work?  (Read 1537 times)
Remo Nonaz
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« on: September 29, 2011, 10:33:24 AM »
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I have a process that seems to work for me, but I'm not sure it is the optimal way to do things.
The method I have been using is as follows:

Open image in ACR making limited changes but still achieving a good color image.

Once in Photoshop use local contrast enhancement or a surface blur overlay to fully saturate and sharpen the image.
I then convert to B+W using the Photoshop B+W tool in adjustments. I note the settings either on paper or in the label of the layer.

If a particular portion of the image needs significant correction, the sky for example, I then go back to the original color image and select the section that need adjustment using a combination of marquis and color selection tools. When I have what I want selected I copy it to a new layer. If the selection process is complex, I copy the layer so that I have it for a reference if the following adjustments go wrong.

I move this layer above the B+W layer and convert it to B+W starting with the same settings that I used in the main image conversion. Before I close the B+W conversion, I adjust the colors, for example decreasing blue and cyan to darken a sky. I try not to go too far from the main image settings as this can cause distortions. Then I adjust the layer using brightness/contrast and finally blend it in with the opacity slider.

Some B+W conversions do not need all this. In others, I might have three or four sections where I have individually adjusted the tones using this technique. It works but it is somewhat time consuming. Are there better methods?
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!
walter.sk
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2011, 09:37:25 AM »
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What you have been doing is good in terms of the process, but if you value your time, I think there are 2 ways to accomplish what you do and more, in very little time.

Nik SilverEfexPro v2 is a wonderful B&W conversion tool that not only enables fantastic control over how the image is converted to B&W, but also has control points that allow you to target specific local areas for individual adjustments.  Masking gets done magically, and the results are stunning.  In addition, you can treat the layer that is produced as a smart object, which then may be readjusted to your heart's content.

I also just downloaded and tried Topaz B&W Effects, much less expensive than the Nik software, and while different in concept, just as powerful.  It also allows local adjustments with an adjustment brush much like the one in ACR in its ability to mask the areas you want to work on.

While both programs have a substantial learning curve in order to squeeze out all of their benefits, you can get a good start working fairly intuitively.
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Remo Nonaz
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2011, 08:22:15 PM »
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Walter: Thank you for your information. SilverEFex looks a bit pricey though I may be able to use a student discount. Topaz looks a little weird to me; most of my B+W stuff is pretty straight forward. However, I don's suppose I have to use all the odd-looking features they have and their more straight forward tools could be good. I'll download it and give it a whirl.

Remo
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!
louoates
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2011, 12:21:10 PM »
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Sorry I'm a bit late for this topic but I agree strongly with walter. Nic is the way to go. In fact I use their other tools as well all the time. They are super fast and hugely more powerful than any comparable PS tools. SilveEFex2 is particularly effective, especially when using control points. Plus their build-in B&W templates will get you very close to the effects you want and still allow you full control of tweaking. One you use it you'll never go back to PS masking. The vignetting, toning, and framing adjustment controls alone are worth the price of the software, at least for my workflow.
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