Email: Password:   

Not a member yet? Join Now!   (Forgot your Password?)
Tech Talk
PixArtWeb Tech Talk Forum Public ForumAdvice ForumTech Talk Forum
 From:  Message:
Wed, 29 Aug 2007 22:34:28 EDT
Converting to B&W

Our latest Theme Challenge (B&W photos) gives us an opportunity to explore various techniques used in converting a color image to Black and White.

Many digital cameras include a B&W feature, or you can use your photo processing software to do a gray-scale conversion, but these are usually "one size fits all" approaches and may not give you the best results.

Betty's recent photo submission "B&W Butterfly" is a perfect example of how B&W conversion can dramatically affect the image.

Here's the original in full color (Courtesy Betty Whitson):

Notice how the white butterfly stands out in the photo, distinct from the pink flower.

With a standard B&W conversion (using Paint Shop Pro), the pink in the flower converts to a very light grey, nearly matching the butterfly wings. The result is quite nice, but very different from the color version as the butterfly seems to get lost in the flower:

However, what if the photographer wants to retain the distinct individuality of the butterfly?

One way is to change the pink flower to a darker gray, rendering darker tones than the butterfly's wings. Tools such as Photoshop's B&W adjustment layer allow the photographer to selectively desaturate different colors so that, for example, pinks and reds stay darker than other hues.

In this example, I pulled down the red channel to blend the flower into the background, making the butterfly stand out:

This is just one possible approach of course, (and some folks may prefer the first version) but it illustrates the versatile nature of B&W photography. And we're just touching the surface! :-)

Michael Whitson
Thu, 30 Aug 2007 10:36:33 EDT
Re: Converting to B&W

Nice bit of info to show how the differnet layers of color can be affected when one plays to change the overall out come of the picture.
Mon, 17 Sep 2007 3:11:58 EDT
Re: Converting to B&W

That's interesting how that altered the photo. I have to say of the three I like the first black 'n' white Betty made of it the best myself, but it's nice to see all three together like this.
Back to Forum

  All photos are Copyright © by their respective owners