Sunday, January 4, 2009

"...Build Confidence in the Creative Spirit."

I thought I'd share some Black and White conversion tips for the blog. For many, this is a simple philosophy but for a few of you, this may change your workflow design. I selected and cropped the image to focus in on the multiple solid colors. The colors in the crab alone make this image interesting enough for conversion. Take a moment and open the image. Look at the colors and acknowledge the transitions in color. I will get back to this later.

Looking at the histogram, I was hoping for a better dynamic range. A little highlight or specular twinkle would have helped. Oh well, at least there are some cool shadows.

If you opened the image, maybe you noticed the bird droppings, or dark cracks in the handle. What about the transition to from flat black to shadow in that same handle? How about the reflective blue upper mid tones in the brushed steel or the burgundy trim around the wheel? Did you notice the dark blue trim around the crab? Indeed a picture is worth a thousand words and I will stop here as the combinations are incredible.

In a basic conversion to grayscale, the image is converted at the push of a button. Unfortunatly, this one button, or one size fits all approach doesn't fit image I wanted. To me, this image was robbed of contrast and looks a bit muted.

The beauty of digital and amazing computer engineering allows us the opportunity to use this as a starting point for incredible options . So, I grabbed one of my primary software editors and began work on the image with the adjusting sliders. Now, you can adjust the sliders till the cows come home and eventually get where you need to be but planning this trip will get you there faster and with your creativity, knowing when to stop is important.

Ansel Adams, " No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit. "

So let me reveal myself to build confidence in the creative spirit. With this particular digital image there is some hard fast rules.
For example, this is an 8 bit RGB color image and when all three colors are the same value it produces 256 shades of gray. Within the saturated shades, you can create contrast and detail. You have a pallet of 256 colors, use them. I have placed a simple gray card at the bottom of this image, imagine this was a painters palate and 256 combinations were available.
Imagine dipping into the color pallet and painting. Start using the sliders and pay attention to the color details. In my work, I'd like to ensure the contrast captured in the color image is revealed.

When I was a kid, I was introduced to canvas painting, it was fun. I learned paint by numbers, and a little landscape painting. I find even those lessons apply to photography. For example, the Paint by numbers , taught me separation, contrast, and natural transitions of color. We are doing the same thing here, just with a different brush.

To apply advanced techniques, search out masters. I like the works of Vincent Versace, Brooks Jensen, and of course Ansel Adams. They are primary influences when it comes to dodge and burn techniques.

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