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Black and white conversion

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by manju69, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. manju69

    manju69 Mu-43 Veteran

    493
    Jul 1, 2011
    Stroud, UK
    Pete
    Hi, this has probably been asked elsewhere, but the search function on the site is not being helpful! So, I have been seeing some great black and white shots on this site, and looking into it around the web, I see that the nik software silver efex is rated the best by everyone.... But it is a lot of money for an enthusiastic amateur. Are there any alternatives? I read about avoiding shooting in B&W on the camera (E PL1)

    I will probably be getting aperture 3 soon but the presets they have seem limited...

    Any guidance would be appreciated...
     
  2. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    manju69... LightRoom 3 has presets and presets and preset of all kinds, for days and days, available for free on the web. You might consider that option.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
  4. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    807
    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Aperture also has skads of free presets available.

    Nik has good prices for students (got a brother/sister/child/niece/nephew in school?)...
     
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I've posted this before.... but this is a little tutorial that I did for creating B/W in Aperture. Its not the answer to everything... but does represent my personal workflow, and does indicate the fundamental controls that you need to understand to get started.

    Silver FX is very good... but with the exception of adding film grain, it merely makes the adjustments that appear in most image editing programs more accessible

    [ame=http://vimeo.com/13075833]An Aperture Tutorial on Vimeo[/ame]

    K
     
    • Like Like x 4
  6. I think that was Olli.
     
  7. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    807
    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Hadn't seen that video, Kevin. Thanks for posting! I now have a Scottish brogue to go with the pictures...
     
  8. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Interesting..tempting when I hear so many good things about these programs, but a decent chunk of change when it seems I can play around in LR for the same outcome. Just a time saver I suppose. I think I'll use the money to put towards lenses and accessories. ;)

    Hopefully this doesn't hijack the thread, but are there a lot of good free LR presets? I haven't used that many..not even sure where I would start looking.
     
  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    You're right - sorry...
     
  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    thanks tom

    hopefully the scottish brogue makes a refreshing change from the bored rambling mumblings or hyperactive awesomful comment that seem to be the voice of online tutorials :)

    K
     
    • Like Like x 3
  11. In terms of justifying cost:

    I figure that if I bought a brand new camera it would save me about 0.2s in autofocus time every time I press the shutter.

    With Silver Efex (or similar plugin) I save at least a minute, and often much more, every time I process an image. That's assuming that I could even achieve the exact same effect of my favourite filters, which I'm not sure I could at my current level of knowledge.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    532
    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Mark
    I'm with Nic. The presets in SEP2 are nicely done and I find the controls quite intuitive. I never could get the hang of manipulating curves tools manually. Good and painless digital black and white is worth a lot to me. This took me a minute or two to produce.

    [​IMG]
    Raumati Beach by Mark Bowerman, on Flickr

    Here's some real APX100 by way of comparison. This neg took longer to scan than the SEP process.

    2041867330_6bbd66fd4a.jpg
    Driftwood, Paraparaumu by Mark Bowerman, on Flickr
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I'm totally with SEP. And certainly, if the cost of SEP is not a problem... go forth and multiply! I use it myself and love it.

    But the OP was specific about avoiding the cost of SEP. And grain aside, one can achieve some fantastic results with free LR3 presets or making your own presets in LR (or Aperture). In fact, I recommend this approach, at least initially, so one can learn what controls create what results. Even with SEP, one can improve the results with judicious use of LightRoom (or Aperture) controls.
     
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I was doing all of my B&W conversions in Aperture before I tried SEP. I couldn't believe how much easier it was and, hence, I was getting better results (not just quicker, better). Once I got a few photos looking like I wanted to in SEP, I tried to duplicated them just using Aperture. Some I got, some I couldn't get, but even the ones I got were so convoluted in terms of how I finally got to them that I never would have gotten to that result just using Aperture. There's really a fairly large difference. And convenience is part of it, but that convenience makes it easier to try different things and I, at least, end up getting better stuff out of SEP than I ever did working only in Aperture. In fact, I've recently been going back and working on some of my shots from the summer of 2010 in SEP2 - Id only ever seen them from Aperture before - and I'm finding all kinds of nice stuff there.

    If you don't want to spend the money on SEP, I'd try the Topaz program - its only $30 for another couple of days. But if you can manage the Nik stuff, its worth every penny (not just Silver Efex, but the Color programs and NR are really good too and I'd bet the HDR program is too, if you're into that sort of thing.

    -Ray
     
  15. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Google free Lightroom presets. Lots of hits! Also, author Matt Kloskowski of NAPP has a Lightroom blog that has a lot of really good presets along with tips for getting the most out of Lightroom. Also check out www.presetsheaven.com.
     
  16. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    I posted a conversion comparison on my blog today comparing three processes, Photoshop, SEP and Topaz.
     
  17. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I rarely shoot B&W or want B&W. When I do, I use GIMP( free photoshop equivalent sort of thing). It doesn't quite have presets like others do, but for me when I want to do B&W on an image, I usually want to tweak it pretty good, so I don't mind taking the time and playing with it.
     
  18. wildcat

    wildcat Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Apr 7, 2011
    I've been using the Topaz B&W for the last week and plan to buy it at $30 within the next day or two. It is a great value at that price. Loads of presets but always the ability to fine tune to what you want. Once I get more familiar and have more time, I plan to develop a few presets of my own within the program that I can then batch-apply.
     
  19. manju69

    manju69 Mu-43 Veteran

    493
    Jul 1, 2011
    Stroud, UK
    Pete
    Thanks everyone. Very helpful blog Grant. I just had a quick play with Topaz B&W (which works in iphoto by the way) and while it's a bit clunky, it does more than I can get my head around now, so think i'll try it out (and it's is only $30!), and if I get into conversions then I may splash out on SEP one day (or find a student friend/relative). I love this forum - a wealth of useful advice!
     
  20. michaelfinch

    michaelfinch Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Sep 24, 2010
    Lancashire, England
    Mono conversion

    Hi all. Here's a colour pic (film original). Feel free to convert to B&W giving it your best shot. I'm most interested in what NIK software can do without going too OTT.
    For the record I took the snap about 10 years ago. It is a rural hardware store in Lancashire, England. Apart from a recent lick of paint and general maintenance it hasn't changed much.
    I've sized down for this posting from my original scan which prints at 20in x 20in.
    Cheers
    Michael
     

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