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Old 14/01/11, 18:33   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

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Hello Jaap,

Would you be able to summarize your recommendations for sharpening technique in your workflow suggested above? I'm still using a basic method (unsharp mask) then edit/fade and changing mode to luminosity. Very simple, I know, suggested by Scott Kelby. It seems ok but I wonder if you know a better method? I'd very much appreciate your guidance.

Mike
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Old 15/01/11, 00:47   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

I can only give a brief overview of a complicated and fascinating subject, I fear.

What you are doing is single-pass sharpening. Nowadays we know that , for maximum quality, we need a multi-pass sharpening workflow. If you apply single-pass sharpening you are attempting to account for image source, image content and output process in a single round of sharpening. Mulitipass sharpening takes account of the sometimes contradictory requirements of the different steps in sharpening.
To begin with we need a content optimized master image that can be used in further processing to apply creative sharpening and the finally sharpening for specific output.

Again, i will take the case for ACR/CS5 because that is what I am used to.

Always work at 100% or larger!

The object of this capture sharpening is to create an artifact-free ( as far as possible) optimally sharpened file to process further. The image content can be divided in three types:
high-frequency images ( think of a landscape with plenty of leafy trees, large amounts of small detail) and
low-frequency images ( portraits with smooth skin) and
mixed images.

The three require different approaches.

The main tool here is the radius slider: The higher the frequency, the lower the setting 0.5 to 1.0
Low frequency images require settings between 1.0 and 1.5 That is about the maximum you can use.

Typical amount settings would be 15-30 for M9 files, 5-20 for M8 files.

The obvious problem is the mixed image. Think eyes and eybrows/hair in that low-frequence portrait.. There are several approaches.

1. Set the radius to 1.0 and try to correct in Photoshop
2. Set for low frequency in sharpening and use the correction brush on areas that need more detail
3. Make two smart objects for different frequencies and blend with a layer mask in Photoshop.

You can (in ACR 6.0) create an edge mask using the masking sider. Enlarge to at least 100% and hold the ALT key whilst sliding. You can see where the sharpening will be masked.

Then you can bring back detail by using the detail slider in the same way. It is not a simple slider, because it influences a number of parameters. Never mind what it does, the results are quite visible.

Then you can switch back and use the clarity slider to enhance your settings. Don't forget you have local control with the adjustment brush.

When you are in Photoshop you can sharpen creatively by enhancing areas. You can either use the sharpening brush or make a layer, (over)sharpen it, use a layer mask and play with opacity. In general, always sharpen on a layer, to work non-destructively.


There is also the trick of setting USM to a radius of 50 and threshold to 1, using the amount slider for control (normally around 20) to get midtone contrast enhancement to bring out extra detail, but I digress
When you have the image to your taste you flatten it and go to output sharpening.

For printing you can use your Scott Kelby technique (*) and learn the optimum setting by trial and error or you can delve into the theory and set the sharpening haloes mathematically.
The avantage is that you have an optimally sharpened image to start with so you won't have any nasty surprises.

For the web it is different.
My favorite technique is to reduce the image size by 50% twice using bicubic and then reduce to a final 960 using bicubic sharper. maybe a 15-20 amount at radius 1.0 and threshold 0 for a bit of sparkle.


(*) Use Unsharp Mask to taste and go to "fade unsharp mask" in the edit menu and fade 100% on Luminosity

Have fun!

Lightroom works a bit differently, but I do not have the expertise to explain that clearly I hope somebody will chime in for LR or comments on the above so I can add this to the FAQ.
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Old 15/01/11, 10:53   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

Lightroom works mostly like you describe. When you are used to the ACR (the RAW editor upon opening a photo in photoshop), you'll get used to LR in a jiffy.

For sharpening you have the same tools, to be found under DETAIL. What I do (in simple steps):

1) I import a photo in LR with the standard primary sharpening (very low, just to get rid of the softness resulting from RAW).

2) I work the photo until it's "perfect" (all conversions, editing, even side stepping to CS, whatever) BUT (and this is important) WITHOUT any further sharpening.

3) I make a virtual duplicate of the edited photo

4) I start my sharpening on this virtual, following the same logic Jaap just described.

In this way you always keep the unsharpened image separate from the sharpened ones: printing for screen asks for a different approach the sharpening for print (and for print you can even go to small print/big print, soft paper, toned paper, whatever). You use the unsharpened photo as a starting point.

Of course you could make a snapshot and return to that point every time you want to sharpen for a different output, but the you'd overwrite previous efforts.

We're getting off topic from Mike's original question about B&W conversion, but I'm going to have a look at Pixel genius photokit sharpener. I'll set up a new thread when I get to it.
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Old 16/01/11, 15:50   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

[quote=Marquinius;1574726]

Mike,
I've been looking at B&W for ages and tried about everything. I'm sure C1 is perfect, but I'm also sure that any other DPP-prog will do nicely if you know what you're doing. In the end it's all about starting with a good color photo and then do your personal magic, be it CS5, LR3 or C1............. And it can be my eyesight and monitor, but that photo (roll of hay in field) is too sharp! Look at those stubs in front of the roll!..........
/quote]

Hi Marquinius,

I quite agree, but it may be that one of these environments does a better job - even if the differences are subtle - or that I simply find one application easier to achieve the best I can get from the image and match the visualization I had in my head when I took the shot. I'm not sure yet whether that's a goal I can reach with these tests.

I've been working with CS2-5 for a while now, with LR2 and briefly (on and off) with LR3. LR3 has come along in leaps and bounds since version 1 but I don't need all the cataloging and importing / asset management complexity with what I do. ACR6/CS5 is my current environment, which works very well, but I'm trying to get the best I can, hence this effort.

You are, of course, absolutely right about the first image in the mini review. When I looked more closely at it, I had used one of the several shots I took in the session and had chosen that one for its composition and processed it thinking more about tonal values that focus. When I read your comment (I could have kicked myself) and looked at it again, I had obviously over-sharpened it to compensate for the main subject being out of focus. In fact it was accidentally focussed in the forgraound, which I then corrected in later shots. Doh

So, I have removed that image and replaced it with another, better example from the session; if not as strong compositionally, it is at least in focus!

Thank you for commenting - it was a good lesson in being more critical of the obvious and looking again at things before you press the button to publish.

Mike
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Old 16/01/11, 20:23   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

Mike,

I think the most important lesson I'm learning time after time, is that for every photo there is a special "best" solution. Oh, and you should see how many times I have kicked myself for not looking twice
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Old 18/01/11, 03:17   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

Gentlemen,

I've just finished a more in-depth comparison between Capture One Pro version 6 and Silver Efex Pro using a relatively tricky image. I would appreciate your view of the comparison.

You can find it here:-
Review of Capture One Pro 6 vs Silver Efex Pro for Black and White Images

Many thanks for persevering with this thread and adding your experience to the debate.

Cheers

Mike
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Old 18/01/11, 21:52   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

Mike,

I'd have to look at the photos a little longer, but the difference is striking. C1 has an almost duo toned cast with a very fine structure, while SEPro is pure B&W, but looks somewhat coarse.

For real comparison I'd have to see the prints, but I think that your conclusion is correct: C1 does very nice indeed.
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Old 20/01/11, 08:29   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

Gentlemen,

As a result of various feedback from several interested parties, I've just done the extra work to compare Capture One Pro 6 with an equivalent Black and White conversion workflow in Lightroom V3. It will take me another couple of hours to write up the effort but it's going to make an interesting read and worth a few minutes of your time to give your view on what will now be a three way review.

I'll post a link sometime tomorrow as soon as I've finished the write up.

Cheers

Mike
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Old 20/01/11, 23:20   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

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Hi All,

I've been working my way through various RAW processors, intending to find my preferred monochrome conversion environment among the most current offerings.

Recently, I came across the new version of Capture One - V6. In initial trials, it looks very good. Does anyone else have experiences of doing this kind of work in C1, that they could share?

I have my first impressions in a mini-post at Capture One Pro 6 for Black and White Photography First Impressions Has anyone else tried its new B&W facilities?

Mike
Mike,
As for the gondolas, obviously, blacks and reflection have much more density and totally noise-free in CS5 version. Much better, clearly.
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Old 21/01/11, 01:02   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

Hello Jaap,

Thank you very much for a most helpful overview of your recommended approach to sharpening workflow. I was aware that my basic method wasn't making the most of the opportunity. I had read many articles on the subject including various advanced approaches to splitting the image into frequency based separations for a selective approach to high and low frequency detail as you suggest but never have sat down to experiment.

Your approach does not seem overly complex but embodies all the best practice I've read about. Thank you also for the tips on multi step downsizing. I looked that up in Bruce Fraser's Real World book and it was also in the supporting documentation to PK Sharpener which I have now been exploring. All triggered by your reply above, which I'm sure will inspire others to follow your lead.

Thanks again

Mike
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Old 23/01/11, 00:03   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZagatoV12 View Post
Gentlemen,

As a result of various feedback from several interested parties, I've just done the extra work to compare Capture One Pro 6 with an equivalent Black and White conversion workflow in Lightroom V3. It will take me another couple of hours to write up the effort but it's going to make an interesting read and worth a few minutes of your time to give your view on what will now be a three way review.

I'll post a link sometime tomorrow as soon as I've finished the write up.

Cheers

Mike
Gentlemen,

Albeit somewhat later than I anticipated, here is the final element of the now three way comparison between Lightroom 3, Capture One Pro 6 and ACR6/CS5/Silver Efex Pro in the task of converting a RAW file into a final black and white image.

The latest article in this 'head to head' can be found at:-

Review of Capture One Pro 6 vs Lightroom 3 for Black and White Photos

The tests have been quite an eye opener, particularly in respect of workflow and ease of use. The exercise has been helpful in answering my original questions, but I would very much appreciate your views.

Incidentally, if anyone would like to have the original DNG file to conduct their own conversion, and check my own conclusions, I would be happy to make it available.

Cheers

Mike
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Old 23/01/11, 18:14   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

Hi Mike,

thanks for your test! Great work.
I use C1 BW when it should go fast, but go for Silverfast, if I have time and need the best result... but I am still on C1 5.2.x, as 6.x seems not to be stable...

A few month ago a long BW-Test came up in one of the German photo magazines... and the winner was TrueGrain - TrueGrain Overview

I did not try it myself, but the pictures looked very well....

Regards, Kay
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Old 23/01/11, 18:48   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

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A few month ago a long BW-Test came up in one of the German photo magazines... and the winner was TrueGrain - TrueGrain Overview
TrueGrain is actually my favourite.

it just doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other programs so a lot of people don't find is as sexy to use... but the tones are lovely and the grain edible. and it is actually much more powerful than it looks on the face of it.

one caveat, though, is that it strips my exif data. i always keep the RAW and all that, but thought i'd warn people beforehand... also, if you bring it back into PS to do some touching it up, it is in grayscale so change it to RGB immediately so you don't lose layers if you want to use filters.
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Old 23/01/11, 22:18   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: Capture One Pro V6 - Is it the best for Black and White Work?

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Originally Posted by coup de foudre View Post
TrueGrain is actually my favourite.

it just doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other programs so a lot of people don't find is as sexy to use... but the tones are lovely and the grain edible. and it is actually much more powerful than it looks on the face of it.

one caveat, though, is that it strips my exif data. i always keep the RAW and all that, but thought i'd warn people beforehand... also, if you bring it back into PS to do some touching it up, it is in grayscale so change it to RGB immediately so you don't lose layers if you want to use filters.
Gentlemen,

Thank you so much for taking part and for the information. I am not familiar with Silverfast or TrueGrain, so I'm much obliged for the guidance. I will look them both up now.

Incidentally, If anyone would like to share their own conversion of this test image I would be very happy to make it available.

Cheers

Mike
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