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Author Topic: Versace on B/W Conversion  (Read 4856 times)
Alan Goldhammer
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« on: October 06, 2011, 07:20:50 AM »
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There was a snippet in today's New York Times on a new 'How To' book by Vincent Versace (note: you may need to register to view this; I'm not too sure since we have an automatic digital subscription to the newspaper).  There are a couple of strange statements (though perhaps the book which I have not seen clarifies things better).  He recommends using Silver Efex Pro for B/W conversion but in the absence of paying for new software recommends the desaturation technique which has pretty much fallen out of favor at least with Adobe products and their dedicated B/W conversion tool. He also notes that your print may appear different from what is on the screen and that you should make multiple prints and then use the one that appeals to you as a template for future printing.  I don't see this in practice with a calibrated monitor and print viewing set up.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2011, 08:41:49 AM »
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There was a snippet in today's New York Times on a new 'How To' book by Vincent Versace (note: you may need to register to view this; I'm not too sure since we have an automatic digital subscription to the newspaper).  There are a couple of strange statements (though perhaps the book which I have not seen clarifies things better).  He recommends using Silver Efex Pro for B/W conversion but in the absence of paying for new software recommends the desaturation technique which has pretty much fallen out of favor at least with Adobe products and their dedicated B/W conversion tool. He also notes that your print may appear different from what is on the screen and that you should make multiple prints and then use the one that appeals to you as a template for future printing.  I don't see this in practice with a calibrated monitor and print viewing set up.

Alan, he did not really recommend the desaturation technique. He said it takes you 85% of way "if you are just dipping your toe in" (i.o.w. for beginners). For Vincent, the last 15% is what matters. Vincent Versace is a deep thinker and a great artist and technician. I sat through two of his sessions on B&W conversion in previous Photoshop World conventions and I shall place an order for this book as soon as possible. I was watching for this announcement, so thanks for bringing it to our attention. Assuming the book will contain what he does in his presentations plus-plus, it will be one of these keepers.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2011, 09:34:01 AM »
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As far as I’m concerned, this is the best video ever on B&W conversions past and present. And free. Start here then decide if you need to spend money for goodies.

http://mulita.com/blog/?p=1244

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He also notes that your print may appear different from what is on the screen and that you should make multiple prints and then use the one that appeals to you as a template for future printing.  I don't see this in practice with a calibrated monitor and print viewing set up.

Yup, according to a few high powered pundits, soft proofing doesn’t work. I guess they got to Vinnie on this. It ain’t prefect, that’s true. But it helps in avoiding excessive printing.
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Andrew Rodney
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2011, 10:23:47 AM »
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I agree - I've seen George Jardine's tutorial and it is indeed excellent. I have also attended Vincent's presentations on the subject and sight unseen I would still pre-order the new book. He removed the B&W material that was in the first edition of his "Oz" book when the wrote the 2nd edition, because he intended a much more fulsome treatment on the subject of B&W, which he says merits a book of its own. Based on what I've seen, I'll take the risk of being disappointed, but I'd be surprised if I were. It's not a huge financial exposure: http://www.amazon.com/Oz-Kansas-Almost-Every-Technique/dp/0321794028/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317914385&sr=1-1
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2011, 11:17:10 AM »
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Yeah, can't say I agree with his 'print early and often' methodology.  Agree with Andrew that, while not perfect, soft-proofing saves a LOT of paper and ink.

He's only suggesting the 'desaturate' method as a starting point for people new to b&w conversions and does say that there are more complex (read better) ways of doing it. 

Have to say I just don't see what people are so chuffed about when it comes to SEP.  Yes, I have tried it and I don't find it does anthing I can't do myself.  It's obscenely expensive for what you get (like all Nik products).  But I guess they've paid enough 'celebrity photographers' to use it and shill for it so the masses buy it.  Like the swallows to Capistrano or maybe more like lemmings off a cliff.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2011, 11:52:50 AM »
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Yeah, can't say I agree with his 'print early and often' methodology.  Agree with Andrew that, while not perfect, soft-proofing saves a LOT of paper and ink.

He's only suggesting the 'desaturate' method as a starting point for people new to b&w conversions and does say that there are more complex (read better) ways of doing it. 

Have to say I just don't see what people are so chuffed about when it comes to SEP.  Yes, I have tried it and I don't find it does anthing I can't do myself.  It's obscenely expensive for what you get (like all Nik products).  But I guess they've paid enough 'celebrity photographers' to use it and shill for it so the masses buy it.  Like the swallows to Capistrano or maybe more like lemmings off a cliff.

I'd wait for the book before passing judgment on the "print often" business. He never mentioned that in his lectures. But I am also a firm believer in soft-proofing and won't be moved off that approach regardless of what any one says.

As for Silver Efex Pro - not clear in my mind who these "masses" are that fork-over 200 bucks based on marketing hype. My sense is that serious people download the trial version, try it and buy it if they think it adds commensurate value. What is good value to many other people may not be good value to you - this is subjective. As for doing all those things SEP can do in Photoshop without it - sure it's possible - after all this is a plug-in - but it depends on the value you place on time and convenience, such as instantly benefiting from the serious amount of time , experience and ingenuity Nik's developers put into this application. I also very much Lightroom's B&W capabilities, but Silver Efex Pro still adds value.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2011, 12:04:08 PM »
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Alan, he did not really recommend the desaturation technique. He said it takes you 85% of way "if you are just dipping your toe in" (i.o.w. for beginners). For Vincent, the last 15% is what matters. Vincent Versace is a deep thinker and a great artist and technician. I sat through two of his sessions on B&W conversion in previous Photoshop World conventions and I shall place an order for this book as soon as possible. I was watching for this announcement, so thanks for bringing it to our attention. Assuming the book will contain what he does in his presentations plus-plus, it will be one of these keepers.
I'll probably get the book as well since the price is reasonable.  It's hard to figure out what got lost in translation in the NYT piece since it presumably was an interview and perhaps the book is not as dismissive of other tools in LR and Photoshop.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2011, 12:16:13 PM »
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He combines lots of stuff to produce conversions with tremendous tonality, especially rich blacks and shadow detail in which he excels.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2011, 12:57:57 PM »
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He combines lots of stuff to produce conversions with tremendous tonality, especially rich blacks and shadow detail in which he excels.
Thanks.  I've pre-ordered it and look forward to seeing his approach.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2011, 12:58:53 PM »
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Mark, I've seen enough comments from people who've shelled out for SEP (or other Nik products, or other tools/plugins generally) without using the trial period to think that the marketing hype goes a long way.  
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2011, 01:35:43 PM »
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For me none of that matters. I respect the expertise of selected people in selected fields and I make up my mind about what software to purchase by trying it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2011, 01:54:57 PM »
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I haven't yet purchased SEP 2 but I have tried it and I like it.  It's not 'better' than Lightroom per se, but it does have some nice features that work for me.  Others are certainly welcome to disagree, but that doesn't change my experience one iota!   Grin

Mike.

P.S.  Another thumbs up for George Jardine's video.
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2011, 05:33:53 AM »
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+1 for George's video!

Does anyone else find that LR and ACR B&W conversions seem more prone to introduce or exaggerate noise in the image? I think it is easier to manage color conversion to B&W directly in LR but I feel like I get less noise with SEP2. Am I doing something wrong??

Jeff
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snoleoprd
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2011, 09:18:14 AM »
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I think I have to agree with Mark. I think SEP adds some value, yes it is possible to do the conversions in other ways, but if your time is valuable then SEP can assist you in getting there faster. I do think trying something like this is the way to determine if it works for you or is a tool you will use. I do not go by reviews.

There are also some good tips for doing conversions in Lightroom in a $5 ebook on the Craft and Vision web site. I like to learn from many sources and that gives me a set of tools to accomplish my vision.

I am looking forward to Vincent's book, I am currently working through the second edition of the "Oz" book. His teachings are just another tool for the toolbox.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2011, 02:37:04 AM »
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Does anyone else find that LR and ACR B&W conversions seem more prone to introduce or exaggerate noise in the image? I think it is easier to manage color conversion to B&W directly in LR but I feel like I get less noise with SEP2. Am I doing something wrong??
2 possibilities. most likely is you're not zooming in - LR doesn't show the fully rendered image when zoomed out, and the noise will be less visible or gone when you zoom in to 1:1 or output to print etc, or view the image in Library. The other is that LR has let you push a colour's rendition harder than you do in other software, but I'd bet it's the first reason.
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simdoc1
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« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2011, 06:20:01 PM »
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Wow, do I feel dumb! You were right - I was not zoomed in and I was simply seeing the artifact from LR not fully rendering the image. Thanks!!!! Now I have a whole new toy to play with!

Jeff
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