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dalippe

How to post-process 2500 ISO B&W

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Here we are:

Better results with original DNG, of course!

If you liked my PP version, please send me the DNG and I will try to do my best!

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Hi' Brent,

 

I'm impressed! Would you be willing to give a little more detail on how you achieved it?

 

I'm still struggling with the the shift from film to digital. Frankly, I'm increasingly frustrated by my seeming failure to get a grip on post-processing and I need all the advice I can get!

 

Maybe its something to do with old dogs and new tricks ....

 

Steve'

 

Steve,

 

I opened the image in ACR and increased the black level and exposure to increase the contrast a bit. I also used the ACR noise reduction sliders at full 100%. I then opened the image in CS 3 and used the Neat Image at a very low level. A lot of people, myself included, don't like the way noise reduction makes skin look plastic. I think this can be somewhat alleviated by applying a grain layer (as below), but the bottom line is that there is no perfect solution for an image with this much noise.

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Brent and Maurizio:

 

Thank you both for taking the time to try to fix this shot!

 

You came up with similar solutions and after reading previous posts, I had a thought to try the same-- first reduce noise, and then add back in some grain. How did you both add grain? Did you use the noise filter in PS? Actual scanned grain like a previous poster provided links to? I think, seeing both of your results, that something like this will provide the best solution for these admittedly very difficult-to-rescue shots. The one thing I don't like in both posts is the strong grain on his wife's face. I think when I try this myself over the weekend, I'll paint a little more opacity over her face in the layer mask. Or perhaps use an inverse of the image itself to put more grain in the shadows than in the light areas.

 

Maurizio, thanks for the offer. It is very generous of you to be willing to spend even more time helping me. I will be happy to send you the dng and look forward to seeing what you can do with it (and more importantly, seeing how you do it!). What is the most convenient way for me to send it to you? Can you receive such large email attachments? Please PM me with an email address or other information for sending it.

 

Thanks!

 

David

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Brent:

 

How do you open a Jpeg in ACR?

 

You open Bridge, highlight the image, then select "Open In ACR." You can actually apply a lot of the same controls to the jpeg as you can to a RAW file. You should be able to do the same in Lightroom.

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Brent and Maurizio:

 

How did you both add grain?

 

I just used the noise filter in PS, but painted it just over the faces with the history brush rather than apply it to the whole image.

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Brent:

 

How do you open a Jpeg in ACR?

You can set it to always open JPG's in ACR or right click, on PC, and select open with ACR.

Actually there are 2 setting for opening JPG's in ACR. One in Bridge/ACR options and the orther in PS CS3.

I like using the PS CS3 ACR because then you can go back to Bridge. If you set Bridge/ACR to open JPG's then you don't have the option of Alt+Tab,ing back to Bridge.

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You open Bridge, highlight the image, then select "Open In ACR." You can actually apply a lot of the same controls to the jpeg as you can to a RAW file.

 

I didn't know that. I was never happy with bridge's speed and prior to Lightroom, I would use Photo Mechanic to send selections to Photoshop.

 

Robert

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I don't like the plastic look of Noise Ninja either. I always fade it at least 50% if I use it. I tried the photo with Alien Skin Exposure 2's Black and White film filter using TriX pushed one stop and it looks very film-like. I don't know how to post photos here though?

 

Tina

Tina Manley- powered by SmugMug

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With Noise Ninja, you have to back off on the smoothness and amount sliders and then play around with the USM settings to avoid the plastic look. It also works much better on the original file, rather than a small jpeg.

 

Robert

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I don't like the plastic look of Noise Ninja either. I always fade it at least 50% if I use it. I tried the photo with Alien Skin Exposure 2's Black and White film filter using TriX pushed one stop and it looks very film-like. I don't know how to post photos here though?

 

Tina

Tina Manley- powered by SmugMug

 

Hi Tina,

 

Thanks. I would very much like to see your results. To post, click the "manage attachments" button a good bit below the box where you type your message. A new window will pop up. In that window, click "choose file" which will bring up a dialog box allowing you to pick your file. Then hit the upload button. You can then choose click the "preview post" button just under the box where you enter your text to confirm that photo upload succeeded.

 

Note that there are limits on the files that can be uploaded. For .jpg: max 244.1 kb and max 960 pixels in either direction.

 

BTW, you put my already black and white version into Alien Skin? I thought it was usually better to put the original color photo into Alien Skin. Of course that wasn't an option for you... Also, did you use Noise Ninja prior to Alien Skin?

 

Thanks.

 

David

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Hi David,

I opened the picture in CS3, I regulated the levels, and applied the contrast curve that I usually take for B/W works (I've got a set of 10 different curves).

After that I opened a scanned grain paper on a second layer and set the desired opacity (in this case it was 100%).

 

Hope this help...

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Hi, David -

 

I figured it out and the photo is posted. You can use Alien Skin on B&W as well as color. I'm sure using the original file would have given better results than working from a small jpeg! There is a wide variety of film treatments to choose from in AS. I like TriX with lots of grain for a film look. I did use Noise Ninja to remove some of the digital noise, but faded it to about 30%. The whole process hopefully replaces digital noise with film grain. I can certainly understand not wanting to use flash.

 

Tina

Tina Manley- powered by SmugMug

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You also really have to figure out how to do local corrections in PS. In the old days it was called dodging and burning - seems to have fallen by the wayside with the advent of digital.

 

Lasso the faces, refine the edge, and then correct the levels and or curves. Use a soft light layer to burn in the background a bit more so the focus is more on the couple.

 

LR will get you out the door but PS is where the real work gets done. Best to convert the color in LAB or with a program like Alien Skin. The LR b&w conversion is junk imo.

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David,

 

As they say, you can't get blood out of a stone. But the background noise is the most distracting, so I would start there and blur it. PS has many ways to do this. I'd copy the background layer and apply a Gaussian or surface blur. Then add a mask to reveal the faces. You could then add a little natural noise back into the background. And maybe a little local contrast and noise reduction on the faces.

 

I don't have time to try this now, but that's where I would start. -- John

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Depends a bit on the image, but I've found that just tweaking the individual color levels in the CS3 Black and White filter works very well. The recent 2500iso shots on my flickr account were done this way and then added contrast using curves.

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You also really have to figure out how to do local corrections in PS. In the old days it was called dodging and burning - seems to have fallen by the wayside with the advent of digital.

 

Lasso the faces, refine the edge, and then correct the levels and or curves. Use a soft light layer to burn in the background a bit more so the focus is more on the couple.

 

LR will get you out the door but PS is where the real work gets done. Best to convert the color in LAB or with a program like Alien Skin. The LR b&w conversion is junk imo.

 

Charles,

 

Thanks for the suggestions with which I certainly agree. While I'm far from a PS virtuoso, I do know how to do local corrections and intend to do so with this image. In fact, there is quite a bit of global correction to be done here (more contrast, etc.) But the area where I really need advice is in taming the noise-- I don't usually shoot the M8 at high ISO and simply don't have much experience in that regard.

 

Thanks,

 

David

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Depends a bit on the image, but I've found that just tweaking the individual color levels in the CS3 Black and White filter works very well. The recent 2500iso shots on my flickr account were done this way and then added contrast using curves.

 

For removing noise or just for getting tones where you want them?

 

David

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For removing noise or just for getting tones where you want them?

 

David

 

A bit of both actually, I usually start with the yellow in any skin tone. Pull it up until just before you start to notice the 'grain' becoming visibly light. Then work the others, if you pull them all the way down or up you can see the right place. Generally a few of them end up at a very similar level. I'm sure this would work even better if you used masks to apply different settings to different areas, but it can become tedious.

 

I like this method because it doesn't involve any blurring at all. I turn off sharpening and all noise reduction in C1 when converting, then do the BW conversion as described in CS3.

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