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04-12-2010, 04:59 PM   #16
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Not to be a spoilsport, but back to the subject...

I now shoot RAW with my K20D but I often set the Filter Effects to Monochrome, and pick a filter (and tweak the Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness parms). The RAW data is unchanged but those settings show when I chimp the shot, and are the defaults (which I usually override) when I develop the shot in PentaxPhotoLab. The settings give me an idea of what to expect if I add an optical filter. And if I do add a filter, I may change the Effects settings to accommodate it.

The other way to switch to monochrome is, don't eat peyote before watching old TV shows. Peyote always adds color. You don't want that. Eat unsalted potato chips instead. They're pretty dull.

04-12-2010, 05:09 PM   #17
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Jeff, sorry but I have to disagree: B&W conversion isn't just a matter of desaturation and then making changes. There are dozens of conversion methods, and playing around with desaturation is the least effective. And since I'm raining on your parade, without malice I assure you, the train track image is sepia, or something like it, but it's not B&W.
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04-12-2010, 05:09 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
The one in Jeff's post. I was just making fun though.
Sorry, been a little irritated lately by things completely unrelated.



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04-12-2010, 05:14 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Jeff, sorry but I have to disagree: B&W conversion isn't just a matter of desaturation and then making changes. There are dozens of conversion methods, and playing around with desaturation is the least effective. And since I'm raining on your parade, without malice I assure you, the train track image is sepia, or something like it, but it's not B&W.
Brian
Every one is free to disagree but I can assure you that photo was completely desaturated and adjusted. Back in the days when I was doing wet b&w prints, Sepia toning Was a method used, with black and white prints. You can rain all you like but my parade rarely gets wet



04-12-2010, 05:35 PM   #20
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For a start, a RAW file is always going to give you more head-room to obtain a better result than a jpeg.

Digital black and white conversion tools in order (in my opinion obviously) from worst to best:

4. In camera - camera decides conversion settings and uses inferior in-camera software.

3. Desaturation - gives little to no control over shades, looks washed out and gets banded easily.

2. Black and white conversion sliders - gives good control over shades from different colours, allows use of coloured filters or any combination of colour-to-shade conversion.

1. Nik Silver Efex Pro. Full slider control, plus minor and overall contrast, structure brings out detail, great for selective conversion control. Can introduce a nice grain if you like, or has a load of well-known B&W film pre-sets, as well as 'zone system' overlays if you're into that. Best black and white converter I know of.

Last edited by CWyatt; 04-12-2010 at 05:44 PM.
04-12-2010, 06:28 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWyatt Quote
1. Nik Silver Efex Pro. Full slider control, plus minor and overall contrast, structure brings out detail, great for selective conversion control. Can introduce a nice grain if you like, or has a load of well-known B&W film pre-sets, as well as 'zone system' overlays if you're into that. Best black and white converter I know of.
I don't doubt that this plugin is good, but those extra things (grain, structure) are not related to the mono conversion itself. They are "value added" features one could get from other places. Just saying.
04-12-2010, 06:34 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I don't doubt that this plugin is good, but those extra things (grain, structure) are not related to the mono conversion itself. They are "value added" features one could get from other places. Just saying.
Yes I think you're right.
I've also read there's nothing you can do with Silver Efex you can't technically do just with photoshop. That may well be true but it's super easy, fast and gives very, very good results. The 'structure' and 'local contrast' sliders, two of the best tools around in my opinion, probably combine a lot of photoshop tools into one very effective control.
04-12-2010, 06:39 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
[I]the train track image is sepia, or something like it, but it's not B&W.
Brian
I think you can consider "sepia" as B&W.
During the days of film or should I say when film was new and shot with big boxes with lens, the photo produced was not purely balck and white and most would actually turn to sepia with age.
It is only now that we can manipulate B&W into sepia that we consider it as completely different from strictly B&W per se.
We even consider sepia as duotone nowadays.

04-12-2010, 06:42 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWyatt Quote
I've also read there's nothing you can do with Silver Efex you can't technically do just with photoshop. That may well be true but it's super easy, fast and gives very, very good results. The 'structure' and 'local contrast' sliders, two of the best tools around in my opinion, probably combine a lot of photoshop tools into one very effective control.
There is something to be said for that, of course, especially if they give you a way to save presets, as I am sure they do. In Photoshop I have become adept at Actions for the same reason. Every common thing I need to do, no matter how many steps, is one click away.

I find the B&W Adjustment layer to work very well. In tricky situations one might want to mask off parts of the image and apply different conversions to them.
04-12-2010, 06:45 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWyatt Quote
Yes I think you're right.
I've also read there's nothing you can do with Silver Efex you can't technically do just with photoshop. That may well be true but it's super easy, fast and gives very, very good results. The 'structure' and 'local contrast' sliders, two of the best tools around in my opinion, probably combine a lot of photoshop tools into one very effective control.
I am no master at it, but I found that the best way in PS is to convert from RGB to greyscale is by adjusting the RGB channels in Monochrome mode (check box) via the channel mixer (Adjustments), which also allows you to adjust the contrast and brightness for each channel, either before, after or during assigning the % level for each channel.

I have no idea for final end-user monitor viewing whether it matters at ALL if you convert the final file to greyscale, and my guess is no--especially since I've ran into some weird web situations where a site and/or program just explode trying to understand a JPEG that isn't RGB.

I understand people doing conversions like this via color saturation commands, but if they're not applied to the individual channels individually, I don't understand the theory behind that.
04-12-2010, 06:50 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
In tricky situations one might want to mask off parts of the image and apply different conversions to them.
Masks frighten me.
04-12-2010, 08:00 PM   #27
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Jeff, Gerry If you think its b&w and run it through any kind of digital color correction, the brown/purple colors are deleted and you have b&w.

Sepia is a B&W print additive process that started out the pigment made from a cuttlefish applied to the B&W print. Latter it was replaced by a three-step wet development silver halide process , other times various dyes and chemicals were used including ferricyanide were used, but generally it it was an unpleasant and unhealthful process. However, all digital conversion, no matter the software, uses a variation on the basic duo-tone additive system of applying a tone to an image. It's many things, and used on the right image and done well, it can be a wonderful treatment, but sepia isn't B&W,
Brian
04-12-2010, 08:04 PM   #28
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Ira, another way to go is using PS Channels. Go in and scan through the RBG channels, find the one with the best contrast that fits the subject, copy and paste it into a new layer. They by playing around with curves for that layer, then the opacity/fill in various modes, you can get some good conversions with excellent tonal range. And for those who use Silver Efex (quite simply the best conversion plug-in available) you can blend the Channel-based conversion with the Efex layer and do some very interesting stuff,
Brian
04-12-2010, 09:26 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Jeff, Gerry If you think its b&w and run it through any kind of digital color correction, the brown/purple colors are deleted and you have b&w.

Sepia is a B&W print additive process that started out the pigment made from a cuttlefish applied to the B&W print. Latter it was replaced by a three-step wet development silver halide process , other times various dyes and chemicals were used including ferricyanide were used, but generally it it was an unpleasant and unhealthful process. However, all digital conversion, no matter the software, uses a variation on the basic duo-tone additive system of applying a tone to an image. It's many things, and used on the right image and done well, it can be a wonderful treatment, but sepia isn't B&W,
Brian
Fine. Have it your way....

04-13-2010, 07:25 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Ira, another way to go is using PS Channels. Go in and scan through the RBG channels, find the one with the best contrast that fits the subject, copy and paste it into a new layer. They by playing around with curves for that layer, then the opacity/fill in various modes, you can get some good conversions with excellent tonal range. And for those who use Silver Efex (quite simply the best conversion plug-in available) you can blend the Channel-based conversion with the Efex layer and do some very interesting stuff,
Brian
This is unbelievable, but I swear:

As I was posting that last night, this "idea" came to my head as well. (Don't have the Efex though.) In addition, couldn't you actually convert it to CMYK as well, to give you an extra channel to play with?

But let's say just RGB--you would simply add 3 layers, one channel for each, and delete the background image?
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