Silver Efex Pro B&W Conversions

Discussion in 'Black & White' started by bensonga, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. bensonga

    bensonga Well-Known Member

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    Building on the posts by Ed and Jurgen.....I'd like to start a thread to share B&W images converted from color using the Nik Silver Efex Pro software.

    Ideally....each person would post both the color and converted B&W image with a little description of any pertinent Silver Efex Pro settings etc, so we may all learn something in the process (as well as enjoying the images shared). I would suggest that images taken with a Hasselblad camera (film or digital) are encouraged....but certainly not required.

    I'll start it off with this image which was one of two I submitted for the LUG 2011 Yearbook (Leica Users Group) recently. I had decided I wanted to submit two B&W images with a strong visual impact, characteristic of the subject matters which interest me most often. One was shot on B&W film, this one on Velvia 100 and converted to B&W.

    I had tried some relatively straight forward BW conversions using the PS CS5 Channel Mixer and some with Silver Efex Pro2 preset filters, but decided I wanted a more graphical, harder edged look for the LUG Yearbook....so I opted for this image, created using the SE Pro2 filter "Film Noir-2". This is just a straight forward conversion.....no other special tweaks were employed. I'm still a beginner re the power of SE Pro2!

    Comments and critiques are most welcome.

    Gary Benson
    Eagle River, Alaska

    Hasselblad 501CM, CFi 60mm lens, Velvia 100.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jotloob

    jotloob Well-Known Member

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    Hello Gary

    Great you started this thread , and I too hope , that more users will share their experience with converting digital color images into B/W .
    What comes into my mind is , that B/W images are also subject to fashion trends . Therefore , there is not really a "wrong conversion" but rather a conversion to the personal preferences .
    I too hope to learn from others experience and also found , that if you have many years of B/W experience , it is rather easy and very handy to work with SE PRO . Far better than with PSCS or Power Retouche . I have worked with both but am not really excited .

    jotloob
     
  3. jotloob

    jotloob Well-Known Member

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    Gary

    That is a very graphic interpretation and I think , with that object the B/W turns out rather good .

    Here an architecture object which you can hardly reduce to a graphic image , because the image "lives" with the clouds and their various gray tones .

    View attachment 6798 View attachment 6799

    RODENSTOCK APO-GRANDAGON 4,5/45mm + CFV-39 ISO100 at f=11 13mm vertical shift.

    jotloob
     

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  4. Ed Bray

    Ed Bray Well-Known Member

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    Great idea for a thread, it will be threads like these that may get a bit more traffic to the forum, which will be no bad thing.

    I am planning on using my Fuji X10 a lot for mono shooting so will be using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to give me the feel of film.

    Just as an aside, You must be logged in to see this link. have an offer on at the moment that if you buy Nik Silver EFex Pro you can get a free upgrade to Pro 2 until Feb this year. I did this from the UK and saved about £60 on the price of buying Pro 2 direct.
     
  5. swissblad

    swissblad Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, this is a great thread.

    I'm hankering for some good B&W images.... so I'm looking forward to seeing more work and also sharing some of my efforts.

    Best,

    Sinuhe

    PS - See my post about Digital Silver - has anybody used this service - it seems intriguing - a digital image enlarged by laser on conventional silver halide paper!
     
  6. Fliger747

    Fliger747 Well-Known Member

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    I hope we get some good stuff out of this. I tried the silver effects pro demo and wasn't impressed as I had hoped to be. Probaly 95% of my work gets converted from raw to B&W. Not a fair evaluation as I would like someone who is proficient with it to show what it can do (that photoshop cant) .

    Interesting that B&W is still around since digital, since it is arguabaly more difficult than color currently. I have no interest in copying the look of some dead film.

    Cheers. T
     
  7. bensonga

    bensonga Well-Known Member

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    Nice B&W conversion of that tower Jurgen! Is that a grain silo of some sort? Do you remember any of the details re the SE Pro2 conversion for that image?

    Gary
     
  8. bensonga

    bensonga Well-Known Member

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    Well, these are not Hasselblad images.....but hopefully will be of interest regardless. I worked these up shortly after installing SE2 for use in a Digital B&W print exchange. Once again, I was looking to create an effect or look that was a little hard edged, industrial, sort of ominous.....even though the photograph was taken at midday, at the back of a supermarket just around the corner from my office in a very benign environment!

    So here is the original color image, my first SE2 conversion (High Structure Harsh filter) and the image I finally settled on and used for the B&W print exchange (Film Noir-1 filter).

    These conversions probably could have been done by someone very knowledgeable and proficient in Photoshop, although I'm sure it would have taken much more time than simply using SE2. I don't pretend to be more than a relative novice at PS, so for me, SE2 is well worth the cost and minimal effort requred to get interesting results.

    I am very happy with the final image here. Although the subject was very mundane, the final print closely matched the image which was in "my mind's eye" when I took this photograph. That doesn't happen very often for me.

    Gary

    Canon 7D and 50mm macro lens
     

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  9. bensonga

    bensonga Well-Known Member

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    I was curious to see if I could link to a larger size image stored on a different forum/server (my Flickr Photostream).....so I'm giving this a try.

    Gary

    You must be logged in to see this link.

    It worked!.....so in the future, I'll include links to larger sizes of the images which get posted here.
     
  10. Fliger747

    Fliger747 Well-Known Member

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    A nice result! With cs4 and above the B&W conversion is very simple. One makes a new B&W adjustment layer and simply moves the sliders such sat to bring out the tonality that is desired. For instance today I was in downtown Anchorage and took a vertical panorama (only 2 shots) of the Hilton Hotel. A winter scene with a arctic blue sky and nice warm low sunlight. The cyan and blue sliders can be moved to darken the skies and increase shadow contrast. The red and yellow work to exactly control the degree of value of the warm sunlight on the tower walls and glass.

    Very easy, mostly a matter of deciding what you want!

    I would post the before and after here except I have to run out the door to head to Hong Kong.

    Thanks for sharing the photos.

    Regards. Tom
     
  11. downstairs

    downstairs Member

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    If you use a Mac, You might like to compare RPP (Raw Photo Processor) for conversion. The colour sliders and tone controls are delicate and you can get about any B&W effect you want. RPP uses floating-point math so it cannot compete for speed but it surpasses anything else for tone.
    However, is it not cheating to digitally simulate the noble limitations of traditional B&W?
     
  12. jotloob

    jotloob Well-Known Member

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    No cheating

    I would not call it cheating , because for those , who shoot digitally only , there is no other way , than using a B/W converter software , no matter which software brand . (except the only monochrome digital back available)

    I was shooting B/W film for more than 40 years and developed all films , 6x6 and LF 4x5 inches myself and did my own prints up to 60x80 cm .
    Since a couple of years I shoot digital only and have discovered color , and was fascinated by color .
    Now I have come to a point , where I feel a kind of return to the roots .
    (my roots :))

    I think , we should not fall into a competition between the different B/W converters but rather enjoy B/W again and learn of each other , how to create good B/W images .

    There are currently running two threads with the B/W topic . How could we get these two together not to dissipate the ideas and contributions ? ? ?
     
  13. fotografz

    fotografz Well-Known Member

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    Nik Silver Efex Pro-2

    Hi all, I've been working with this program for some time now. Have converted maybe 3 or 4 thousand digital images with it (probably more) ... I do a LOT of B&W wedding images, so you get pretty familiar and fast with any program that way. If I had to do this many individual conversions in PS alone it would take forever, and probably not look as good ... better I should kill myself ... LOL!

    I have it loaded into the filters section of PSCS5, and into Lightroom 3. The difference is that with PSCS5 it produces layers, and when used directly in LR it does not make layers.

    PS layers allows you to decrease the opacity of the B&W Nik layer as an overlay on the full color original to produce muted color effect, or to run Nik twice or three times concentrating on certain tonal areas, then blending the layers. So for quick conversions, I use it in LR, and for more extensive work, I use the "open in PS" option in LR, then open the file in Nik to work with PS layers.

    Here's a demo of a portrait titled "Angry Man" shot with a H3D-II/31 ISO 800 @ 1/60, HC-150 @ f/4.5 ... in this case converted in PSCS5 using layers.

    I've shown three finished shots: the original color ... a layered one showing a 30% Nik B&W overlay ... and the full Nik B&W conversion.

    The three screen grabs show my general B&W work flow while in Nik Silver Efex Pro-2:

    Window 1 shows an initial selection of a preset located on the left side ... in this case, "Fine Art". You can click on any of these to see the effect real time. (My most used preset by far is Push Process-1.) IF one of these presets doesn't work, I then explore the film types on the right side dialog window (Red Arrow). I almost always further modify either the Preset or the Film Type.

    Window 2 shows the further modifications to the Fine Art preset that I had chosen. These are all located at the top>down in that right side dialog window starting with Global adjustments. In this case I increased the structure a little, hardened the grain, and lowered the yellow sensitivity to hold the camera right side of the face. In addition, I then did local adjustments using the Control Point tool ... one of the most sophisticated local adjustment tools of any post program I've ever used, and is what really separates this program from PS, and many other ways of converting B&W. One adjustment is shown, but I did 4 different areas.

    Window 3 shows the Finishing Adjustments done with tools located at the bottom of the right side dialog window. In this case I chose to adjust the silver toning a bit to simulate Selenium Toning, and then added an art border.

    Sounds long when you write it all out, but only takes 5 minutes once you get the work flow down pat. That's because it is all right there in one window.

    However, as with all software ... Practice makes Prefect : -)

    Questions?

    -Marc
     

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  14. Ed Bray

    Ed Bray Well-Known Member

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    Really like the full edited version.
     
  15. bensonga

    bensonga Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Marc! This is exactly the kind of information that many of us will be able to use, explore and put to work quickly. After applying the presets from the left side of the window (I had mistakenly called them filters), I wasn't quite sure what to try next. I can't wait to give some of your workflow tips a try now. I do all my processing in PS, so I'm also interested to learn about changing the opacity of the layers.

    Gary
     
  16. fotografz

    fotografz Well-Known Member

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    Want me to show you how Gary ... or do you already know?

    -Marc
     
  17. bensonga

    bensonga Well-Known Member

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    I've never done it (adjust opacity of the layers) before, so if you have the time to show me/us how....yes, I would really appreciate that info too! Have to admit, I haven't worked with layers much at all.....only to apply contrast curves in B&W images.

    Gary
     
  18. fotografz

    fotografz Well-Known Member

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    Well, I just discovered that I can't take a screen shot of the layers pallet, so I'll just have to walk you through it.

    1) Open a color file in PS. Go to Windows in the top menu, scroll down to Layers and click on it.

    A small dialog window will open showing the file you just opened. There will be a little eyeball next to it.

    2) Back to the open file ... if you have Nik, then do a conversion. When Nik is done, the open file will go B&W, and there will be a second B&W version of the file in the layers pallet. Click on the eyeball and the B&W overlay on the open file will disappear, click on/click off.

    3) Now right above all that in the Layers Pallet are a couple of sliders. With BOTH eyeballs clicked on, select the B&W layer in the dialog box to highlight it. Now use the top slider to reduce the opacity of that layer.

    Simple dimple.

    You can do this with multiple different B&W conversions from Nik overlaying the same color file. Select individual files in the pallet, and you can work on just that layer ... even use the eraser to get rid of parts to let the layer below it show through.

    When done, you can save it with layers or you can flatten the file as is by going to Layers in the top menu and scrolling to flatten file. Note all the other commands under Layers ... in some cases you can combine certain layers into one, and still have other layers separate.

    There's a lot more, but that's enough for now, and good for a majority of applications.

    Here's a quick example I did ...

    The color version, the Nik B&W layer, then the Nik layer opacity reduced for an old photo sort of look.

    -Marc
     

    Attached Files:

  19. jotloob

    jotloob Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Marc

    Simple dimple :) . . . . I have never done any correction to the opacity of any image .

    but . . . . 3) Now right above all that in the Layers Pallet are a couple of sliders .

    I can not find any slider there ! ! !
    What am I missing here or what am I doing wrong or do we have to set an other option under the "window" list ? ? ?

    jotloob
     
  20. fotografz

    fotografz Well-Known Member

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    J, no opacity title with a box that says 100% at the top of the layers pallet at all? Try pressing F7.

    What version of Photoshop are you using?

    If you mean there is no slider, that is revealed by pressing the little arrow next to the 100% box ... you can use the slider or enter a percentage number in the box.

    The opacity slider only works if you have made a layer. The original file shows in the pallet, but is NOT a layer, and is locked. BUT the Opacity tool should still be there just grayed out until you have made a layer.

    Here's a video that shows the Layers Pallet.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2WYM5xCw2k

    -Marc
     

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