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Thread started 05 Jul 2008 (Saturday) 15:34
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EASIEST, FASTEST Mono Conversion with LOTS of Control!

 
Radtech1
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Jul 05, 2008 15:34 |  #1

Just thought I would share this with you if you are trying to peg down a quick, easy and powerful mono conversion routine. And I have tried them all, "Channel Mixer", "Black and White", the Fred Miranda Conversion routine, etc, etc, etc and I kept having a tough time balancing speed, power, and simplicity.

The method I came up with allows you to emulate an infinite set of filters with just one slider - so you can easily pick out what suits the shot best.

You can create an Action, but it is so fast, that it take almost as much time to run the action as it is to do it step by step.

1) Duplicate the Layer (Background Copy)
2) "Desaturate" the Background Copy layer and set the blend mode to Color.
3) Go to the Background (Bottom) layer and select "Image - Adjustments - Hue/Saturation" from the drop down menu.
4) Slide the "Hue" slider back and forth and notice how that affects the relative densities in the shot!

The cool part is this works in older versions of PS or Elements that don't have the "Black and White" choice for Mono Conversion! Probably works with GIMP, too! (Someone want to try it and see?)

I find that this works perfectly well for 99% of my mono conversions.

Give it a try and see if it works for you too.

Rad


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René ­ Damkot
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Jul 05, 2008 16:05 |  #2

Same works with two Hue/Sat adjustment layers: Top one set to blending mode "color", saturation all the way down. Bottom one set to "Luminosity", vary the hue. ;)


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Radtech1
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Jul 05, 2008 16:15 |  #3

René Damkot wrote in post #5854869 (external link)
Same works with two Hue/Sat adjustment layers: Top one set to blending mode "color", saturation all the way down. Bottom one set to "Luminosity", vary the hue. ;)

Yes, Yes!

In fact, it was a technique very much like that which served as my starting point. I refined it down from there to be more intuitive and straightforward - without needing to involve adjustment layers. But yes, you are right, you could do that and get the same results.

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René ­ Damkot
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Jul 05, 2008 16:26 |  #4

Come and think of it, it should work just as well with a top layer of black or white or gray. Whatever, as long as R=G=B...

Edit: Yep :)


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Radtech1
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Jul 05, 2008 16:41 |  #5

René Damkot wrote in post #5854969 (external link)
Come and think of it, it should work just as well with a top layer of black or white or gray. Whatever, as long as R=G=B...

Edit: Yep :)

I only tried black. The problem there was that some of the "colors" did not render with as complete of a spectrum of light to dark values.

Specifically, one of my test shots has a large a cyan/turquoise blanket. Using the protocol I described, that blanket could be adjusted from almost white to almost black. Using just black as the top layer, it came through with a much narrower choice of grays. From middle light gray (rather than almost white) to middle dark gray (rather than almost black).

I did not try a gray top layer, as the intention was simplicity.

I did not want to have an instruction to "paint a blank layer gray", which would leave the person unsure of how I define gray, and would have them then opening the paint-bucket subroutine, the color picker, etc.

All things considered, to simply de-saturate was the fastest, least complex route that I found.

Rad


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René ­ Damkot
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Jul 05, 2008 16:53 |  #6

It's a nice method... I'd have to think about what causes the differences beteen the different top layers.

Anyhow, back on topic: Thanks for posting ;)


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Az2Africa
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Jul 05, 2008 20:22 |  #7

Try ARC. Hit Convert to Greyscale. Turn the preview on and off to look at the dominant colors and move the sliders to get what you want. Simple and easy.


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Anke
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Jul 05, 2008 20:25 |  #8

Nice one! Can't wait to try this out. Thanks.


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Irreverent
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Jul 05, 2008 20:36 |  #9

Nice idea, although I'd have to take issue with the claim of it being the easiest and fastest ;)

The main issue I see with it is that although you can change the look of the b&w by moving the Hue slider, the relationship between tones remains the same. For example, when you move the hue slider, the Greens in the photo will get shifted by the same amount as the Magentas get shifted. While this might be fine a lot of the time, the reason I like the chanel mixer/black and white approach is because it gives you control over the relative tone levels of each colour in the image.

Of course, if you don't need this control, then this isn't an issue.

Still, nice to see people using Photoshop in creative new ways :)




  
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Radtech1
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Jul 05, 2008 21:43 |  #10

Irreverent wrote in post #5855934 (external link)
...although you can change the look of the b&w by moving the Hue slider, the relationship between tones remains the same...

Tru'dat.

Just like a filter on the lens, which is the type of control I was trying to emulate.

I never claimed all the control, just lots. My intention was sharing (besides sharing something that works for me) was to interest the relative novice PS user. People who never did anything more than Desaturate because all the sliders in Black and White were too intimidating (let alone the channel mixer!) When they see, real time, how easy is it have a say in how the Mono conversion looks - well, think back to the time you started to tell Photoshop what to do, rather than the other way around.

It is easy, and fast, and it does have lots of control. But not total.

Rad


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Az2Africa
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Jul 06, 2008 01:00 as a reply to  @ Anke's post |  #11

I posted this in the other B&W thread. All the conversion done in ARC. Sharpened in CS3 with high pass filter>overlay. That's it.


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condyk
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Jul 06, 2008 06:25 |  #12

Ooooh, that's nice Terry. I love B&W. I just use the B&W options in Bibble before I export the RAW. Quick and easy and lots of flexibility.


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Az2Africa
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Jul 06, 2008 07:50 |  #13

Thanks Dave. Raw allows you to go to greyscale and still add tones to get a sepia look or other shades. I don't do a lot of layers if I can avoid it.!:lol:


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René ­ Damkot
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Jul 06, 2008 10:30 |  #14

Irreverent wrote in post #5855934 (external link)
The main issue I see with it is that although you can change the look of the b&w by moving the Hue slider, the relationship between tones remains the same. For example, when you move the hue slider, the Greens in the photo will get shifted by the same amount as the Magentas get shifted. While this might be fine a lot of the time, the reason I like the chanel mixer/black and white approach is because it gives you control over the relative tone levels of each colour in the image.

Ehm, not sure I get your meaning here...
If for instance with the channel mixer you add more green to the mix, the greens will get lighter gray, and the magenta's darker, right?

In PSCS3 and ACR4 you have the B/W option. This isn't availiable in CS2 however.
Haven't tried it yet, but I assume that could be emulated by using this method and a few seperate Hue/Sat adjustment layers, for different colors.

If someone with CS3 has some spare time and is willing to try it out, I for one would be interested ;)


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Irreverent
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Jul 06, 2008 12:15 |  #15

Good catch René, I should have only mentioned the tonal control options available in the B&W adjustment layer (which is what I almost exclusively use for BW conversion in CS3).

Haven't tried it yet, but I assume that could be emulated by using this method and a few seperate Hue/Sat adjustment layers, for different colors.

Well I guess you *could* (I'd even go one step further and suggest using the indivdual channel sliders rather than the RGB composite channel in the same adjustment), but how does this fit in with the notion of the method being quicker and easier than opening up just 1 adjustment layer, and making all your parametric changes from there? ;)

I'm not trying to knock the technique, because I really like people finding new and creative ways of achieving things with software - I still remember the time when I thought I'd discovered a new trick for increasing local contrast by duplicating a layer, desaturating it and changing the blend mode to "overlay" :D

All I'm trying to say is that to my mind, not only does the B&W or Channel Mixer method give you at least the same amount of control (more in the case of B&W in CS3), but I would also argue is intuitively easier because it requires fewer steps to implement, all your control remains in one dialogue box, and the controls remain parametric and adjustable (assuming the use of one single adjustment layer).




  
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EASIEST, FASTEST Mono Conversion with LOTS of Control!
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