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Thread: Best way to convert colour to monchrome?

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    Ausphotography Regular enseth's Avatar
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    Best way to convert colour to monchrome?

    I'm after recommendations for converting colour to monochrome. My recent efforts using desaturation produced rather flat, grey photos. Suggestions are most appreciated.

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    Perpetually Bewildered
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    What pp software do you have enseth?

    As you've found, desaturation alone often results in a fairly flat image. However desaturation followed by a boost in contrast sometimes gives a reasonable (although usually not the best) result. I sometimes use this as a quick way of determining whether an image is suited to mono conversion.

    I generally do conversions in LightRoom. It has a panel for B&W which has sliders that allow you to determine how each colour is converted. For example blue objects in the original can be made to look either light or dark in the converted image depending on how you position the "blue" slider (e.g. to lighten or darken a sky). LR also has various mono presets which sometimes offer a good starting point. (You can get third-party plug-ins as well, such as the Nik stuff). Additionally in LR you can also add split-toning effects which can look quite cool in some instances (although strictly speaking no longer "monochrome" of course).

    I think the conversion in PS is similar but I haven't used it since recently upgrading. (My previous version - PS Elements v4 - didn't have a 'Convert...' function so needed to be handled in a few manual steps).

    To get the most out of monochrome images they sometimes need to be "dodged and burned" at specific parts of the image. There are various ways of achieving this - it might be worth searching for some online tutes if interested.



    Cheers.
    Phil.

    Some Nikon stuff. I shoot Mirrorless and Mirrorlessless.


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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    If you are working in photoshop the b/w adjustment layer allows you to select the tones for each individual colour and gives quite good results. A gradient mask is also a good method.
    More ways than one to skin the cat in photoshop.
    The age of entitlement isn't over, it's just over there where you can't get to it.
    When several possibilities exist, the simplest solution is the best.
    "There are no rules" Bruce Barnbaum, The art of Photography
    Graham


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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Enseth. I think you'll find that there is no "best" way, if you mean a single, effective way to convert to B/W.
    It will depend on your starting image, and what you want to achieve in the conversion.

    It is often loosely bandied that such and such an image would look good in B/W. I think that may raise some unachievable
    hopes that there is a generally straightforward process involved.

    Well, all I can offer is to use some editing program to split your image into its component RGB channels, setting them to be viewed
    as greyscale images. Select one or a combination of them for a final result.

    In Photoshop, this is done via the Channels palette and the "Split Channels" command.
    Am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Ausphotography Regular Brigitte's Avatar
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    Results do depend on the image and the method that works on one image may not be as effective on another. Trial and error and more trial and trial and error. Keep a record of what you do and use it as a guide when work on other images.
    Apply either curves or levels when you have completed the conversion to give the image a bit more punch. Keep trying and have fun!
    Last edited by Brigitte; 02-07-2014 at 4:30pm. Reason: slow to press send button

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    What camera/file type are you working with?
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Ausphotography Regular
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    Thanks for the replies people. Some further research yesterday revealed just how many different options there are for monochrome convertions. I have both Lightroom & PS so I'll have a play with those looking closely at Channels.

    What camera/file type are you working with?
    I have a Sony a99 and usually work with Jpegs.

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enseth View Post
    Thanks for the replies people. Some further research yesterday revealed just how many different options there are for monochrome convertions. I have both Lightroom & PS so I'll have a play with those looking closely at Channels.


    I have a Sony a99 and usually work with Jpegs.
    You should learn to shoot RAW if that is available in the Sony a99. Just has more information to start with.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    OK, if it were Nikon I could have suggested a few other options.

    But, as I've have a quick look at Lr's ability .. I'd say just start with their pre loaded monochrome options!
    Of course that's just a starting point, which I have to say is one aspect of Lr that I liked a bit.

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