Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Color Contrast in Monochrome

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place!

Today we’re going to talk about using digital filters for black and white, and color contrast to bring our vision to our images. We’re going to walk through a few different colored filters in our RAW conversion software.

Referring to Canon’s Digital Photo Pro for our software portion, we see that the first thing is to set our picture style to monochrome. After doing that, you’ll notice that color tone and saturation sliders change to filter effects and toning effects.

Once we’re into monochrome picture style, set your white balance to color temperature and play with the slider a little. This will give you some idea of your sensor’s spectral response to color. For instance, raising your temperature from 5200 to 10000 may give a giant boost to your brightness, showing a larger response to red. Lowering it to 3000, seeing a boost would indicate a greater sensitivity to blue and green.

Now that you have some idea of its response to colors and temperature, we can understand how to work our monochrome images for maximum effect. Select the first filter choice as we drag our slider, yellow, and adjust your color temperature. Going either way with your temperature shows a slight shift in brightness throughout the range. As we get lower in temperature, we have less lightness, and more as we raise the temperature.

Selecting an orange filter shows a more pronounce version of the yellow filter’s response, due to an increased presence of red in the light being allowed through the filter, or in our case, allowed to impact the image by software. Moving on to red, we see great swings throughout the temperature range. At 2500, we see our greatest darkening and at 10000, we probably see something washed out and so high in contrast to be unusable.

Going to our last filter, green, we see almost no change as we shift through the temperature range. Since light is composed of all the colors, but most of the time less of the green, we see less impact. Green has a more pronounced effect in film photography than digital, though.

OK, now we’ve seen some pretty cool ways to improve on our vanilla black and white conversions. Let’s move to some interesting ways to use those filters. Select standard for your picture style. Selecting your RGB tab, you can choose between luminance, red, green, or blue. As we cycle through the colors and make adjustments, we end up with a pretty scary image. The color is ugly and unnatural. No that you’re someplace you think might work well with a colored filter, select saturation in the RGB tab and drag the slider to 0. Without saturation, there will be changes in lightness and brightness, but no real change.

Going back to your RAW tab, select monochrome, and choose your filter. Select color temperature. Once your color temperature is about where you want it, go back to the RGB tab and start playing with your color and lightness sliders. Notice how things change as you drag them around? Well, once you have your image about where you want it, you can either save it or finish it here. The reason for going into the color sliders goes back to our discussion on color theory. By adjusting our color curves, levels, and contrast, we can make some very nice black and white images with our initial RAW conversion.

Once you have your image about where you want it, you can save it and open in another editing program, like Paintshop Pro and split the image into CMYK or RGB layers and adjust it even further, or just play with your curves or layers creating a combination that suits your vision, message, and intent. Another nice option is to create a hand painted look or feel. We’ll talk about that in a future post.

I hope everyone is on the road to a great week and has plenty of opportunities to concretize your vision. Happy shooting and have a wonderful week, Hohenfels.

Don’t forget to post any of your images you’d like to see here at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too! Don't forget, we're on Google+, too!

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