Adobe Photoshop Black and White Digital Photograph Conversion Using Curves

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Digital Photography Tips on Adobe Photoshop for Converting Stunning Black and Whit Images

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  • 1. iPhotoCourse.com Photography TutorialsAdobe Photoshop Tutorial - Dodge and Burn Using Curvesfor Monochrome Images

2. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAWLegal Disclaimers, Copyrights, and End User RightsThis document can be re-shared provided that no alteration has been made to this originalarticle.Originally published at http://www.iphotocourse.com/photoshop-dodge-and-burn-using-curves-for-monochrome-images/You may not claim this article or modify this article for republication or distribution.Copyright Notices2010-2012 iphotocourse.com - All Rights ReservedNo portion of iphotocourse.com or its associated sites may be reprinted or modified in anyform without prior consent.Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 2 3. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAWTable of ContentsiPhotoCourse.com Photography Tutorials ..................................................... 1Adobe Photoshop Tutorial - Dodge and Burn Using Curves for Monochrome Images... 1Legal Disclaimers, Copyrights, and End User Rights ................................. 2Copyright Notices .................................................................................................................. 2Impress the World With Your Monochrome Images Using These Dodge &Burn Techniques ................................................................................. 4 Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 3 4. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAWImpress the World With Your Monochrome ImagesUsing These Dodge & Burn TechniquesWhile there are many methods to convert colored images to monochrome, the initial result is hardlysatisfying. Much like traditional black and white film images, the images usually require some darkroommagic to bring out the best in those images, the same can be said with digital images.The most common art to master is to learn how to dodge and burn your monochrome images to createstunning contrast and tonality. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom both allow you to performdodge and burn enhancement but Photoshop offers more control and customization.If theres a digital image that deserves some time for post-processing, it will be monochrome images.Digital image files allow you to have infinitely-variable fine-tuning with instant image feedback, which isa far more flexible way to create monochrome magic compared to a chemical darkroom.For this tutorial, well be using Curves Adjustment Layers for dodge and burn adjustments. As Ivementioned previously, there are many ways to do this, but for this tutorial, well be using two curveadjustment layers, which offers a lot of flexibility for adjustments.As Ive mentioned previously in our Lightroom monochrome conversion article, the key to a goodmonochrome image is to choose the right photo to begin with. Some images are just better in color,while others are just screaming to be devoid of color, in time, youll have a feel for which image worksbest for monochrome.Lets get started. Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com4 5. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAWWorkflow for Stunning Monochrome Images 1) Select your color photo. Ive chosen this old photo that I took in Chinatown, Singapore as there are a lot of tones between the bright lights and darkness of the night. The angular buildings and signs offers good contrast as well. 2) To have a feel of what the image may look like in monochrome, just desaturate the image first as a preview. Press CTRL-U to bring up the Hue/Saturation adjustment menu and drag the saturation slider all the way to -100.Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 5 6. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW If you like how it looks, then go ahead and continue working on this photo. Undo the desaturation by clicking cancel or CTRL-Z (if youve closed the Hue/Saturation window already).3) Now that were back with our colored photo, convert your photo with your favorite monochrome conversion technique or plug-in. In this example, I used a simple gradient map adjustment layer for the monochrome conversion. Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com6 7. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW This is what came out.4) As always, we need to set our black and white points in our image. To do that, we create a Levels Adjustment Layer first. We click on the little black eyedropper icon and click the area in your image where you want your pure blacks should be. Then click the white eyedropper icon and select your absolute white point. In this sample, I chose the sky in the upper right corner as my pure black, and the brightest part of the 2nd-story window as my pure white. Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 7 8. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW5) Once we have our desired monochrome image we can start dodging and burning. Well be using Curve Adjustment Layers for this tutorial. First, create a dodge layer. This is an adjustment layer that will lighten the areas of the scene you choose to isolate later on. I renamed the layer as BURN, for easy reference.Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 8 9. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAWAs you can see, all I did was drag the center-most section of the diagonal line straight-up toabout midway between the top and the mid-point.We dont want the whole image to be bright, so lets hide this under a mask first. See that littlewhite rectangle in your Burn adjustment layer?Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 9 10. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW We need to invert that to make it a black mask (which hides all the effects of that layer). You can do that by simply pressing CTRL+I on a PC or use CMD+I on a Mac, the rectangle will now turn black and your image will return back to what it originally was prior to the curves layer.6) Now we need another layer to darken certain parts of the scene. We basically do the same thing as the Burn layer but instead of lightening the image, we darken it. Again, create another Curves adjustment layer and label it as DODGE. This time, drag the center point of the diagonal line straight down. Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com10 11. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAWAgain, we select the layer mask rectangle and hide everything for now.Now we have two Curves layer named Dodge and Burn. Time to do some dodge and burnmagic! Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 11 12. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW7) Lets start with the Burn layer first. What this layer does is lighten certain parts of the scene wewant to put more contrast on against its darker surroundings or lift up darker shadows.Click on the Burn layer and select the black rectangle mask icon weve made earlier.8) Select your brush tool and choose a soft-edge (0 hardness) brush and set the brush opacitybetween 15-30%.I prefer using a lower opacity as it allows me finer control when painting over the mask.9) Press D on your keyboard to reset your color palette to white/black then press X on yourkeyboard until your foreground color is set to white. Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 12 13. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW10) Start painting the areas you want to brighten up with your white brush. What youreessentially doing is revealing the lighter tones caused by the adjusted curve in your Burnlayer. The white that you see in your layer mask is the revealed areas, while the black are thehidden areas not affected by the adjustment curve.For this exercise, you can see which areas received a lighter tone from our burning process.You can see that I brightened the light reflections on the sidewalk and road, street signhighlights, the passing bus, and the building near the top left corner.Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 13 14. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW 11) Well now do the same to darken certain areas of the scene by working on the Dodge layer. Again, select the layer mask and start painting with a white brush. and we get thisAs you can see, the sidewalk shadows were darkened, as were the building windows, the shadowsunderneath the awnings, etc. Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com14 15. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW12) As a result of our two curves adjustment layers (dodge and burn), we now have this image.We can end right here, but its not very refined. If youre curious, these are the areas where werevealed the darker areas for this layer.You can see that the transition of the edges are pretty abrupt in the smaller sections of the mask, wecan soften that effect by blurring the layer mask edges itself. Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com 15 16. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW13) We will now blur the layer mask of both the Dodge and Burn layer just to soften thetransition of our mask. We do this by using the Gaussian Blur tool (Filters >> Blur >> GaussianBlur).The amount depends on your image size, the sharpness of your mask edges, etc. Try toexperiment with the values and check the preview.14) Lastly, I reduced the opacity of both Dodge and Burn layer to about 60-70% and were done,just flatten your image and save.Copyright 2012 David L. Tong http://www.iphotocourse.com16 17. Lightroom Recover Highlights, Overexposure, and Colors from RAW This is our final image.For more tutorials in photography post-processing and other digital photography tips, visithttp://www.ip