For the annual OP Black-And-White Particular problem, it’s becoming that we take a look at software program that may enable you take probably the most management over your black-and-white photographs. Regardless of all of the advances of digital pictures and imaging, photographers, and notably nature photographers, are nonetheless drawn to the particular look of black-and-white. The software program corporations have taken notice, they usually’re producing higher and higher instruments for controlling your black-and-white photographs.

Whereas Photoshop presents highly effective and versatile instruments for creating and fine-tuning black-and-white photographs out of your shade originals, there are a lot of different choices obtainable. (For a take a look at learn how to use Photoshop to create the last word black-and-white picture file for producing fine-art prints to be framed and held on the wall, see Ming Tshing’s article “Your Good Black-And-White Print” on this problem.) Every of the software program packages we cowl on this article presents a novel set of choices and controls to allow you to provide an exquisite end result.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
The instruments obtainable in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (www.adobe.com) are fairly much like these obtainable in Photoshop, and particularly, inside Adobe Digital camera Uncooked, together with the flexibility to regulate the luminosity based mostly on shade values inside the picture. To make the method even simpler, you can also work instantly on the picture. Merely activate the on-image adjustment function and level to an space of the picture you need to lighten or darken. Drag upward to brighten areas outlined by the colour worth you clicked on and downward to darken.

Along with these comparatively primary controls, Lightroom contains split-toning controls that permit you to add particular person shade tints to the picture based mostly on luminosity, with one shade affecting the brighter portion of pixels and one other shade affecting the darker portion.

To make your work in Lightroom even simpler, it may be useful to put in (or create) presets that produce results you want. Many presets can be found from quite a lot of sources, however writer Jack Davis created one of many higher collections for black-and-white; it’s obtainable as a free obtain from onOne Software program (www.ononesoftware.com).

Alien Pores and skin Publicity
Publicity from Alien Pores and skin Software program (www.alienskin.com) is primarily centered on enabling you to simulate the looks of all kinds of movies (each shade and black-and-white) along with your digital photographs. So whereas it isn’t offered as a black-and-white software, per se, it may possibly most actually be used successfully for that objective.

By way of adjusting the black-and-white conversion, the controls offered by Publicity are comparatively customary, representing a good diploma of management over the particular tonality of the ultimate end result. For these seeking to mimic the look of movie, the choices for including grain to the picture can’t be beat. Apart from merely permitting you to regulate the dimensions of the grain construction, you may alter how a lot grain texture is seen within the highlights, midtones and shadows within the picture. You can also alter the “roughness” of the grain construction, which creates a extra gritty look, if desired. As well as, a push-processing management means that you can simulate the extra distinction among the many grain construction that might be achieved when movie is push-processed.

The controls for simulating infrared are strong. Going past the easy notion of accelerating the luminosity of areas of the picture that had been inexperienced (and yellow), Publicity contains controls for reinforcing shade distinction from the underlying picture to be able to maximize tonal separation within the closing infrared model, in addition to controls for the opacity and unfold of the halation impact (the ethereal glow seen in lots of infrared photographs).


Apple Aperture
The controls supplied by Apple Aperture (www.apple.com) for black-and-white conversion are much less strong in comparison with what’s obtainable with different software program. The one choices for an precise black-and-white conversion embody the flexibility to use a shade filter impact that alters distinction and to regulate the luminosity of the person purple, inexperienced and blue shade channels. Past that, the one obtainable controls for fine-tuning the impact are the final tonal changes that may be utilized to any picture, together with shade photographs. So, whereas Aperture is a robust software for picture administration, it actually isn’t a professional-level software for creating and controlling black-and-white photographs.

Auto FX Mystical Tint Tone Coloration
The Mystical Tint Tone Coloration bundle from Auto FX Software program (www.autofx.com) is aimed toward offering all kinds of fascinating results to your photographs, together with black-and-white photographs. The software program doesn’t overwhelm you with too many controls, and the controls which can be obtainable allow you to use a inventive black-and-white conversion and train a good quantity of fine-tuning to the picture.

When you’ve chosen a preset to make use of as the idea of your adjustment, you may go about fine-tuning the controls that have an effect on the black-and-white conversion. The Enrich and Deepen controls are of explicit profit, permitting you so as to add density to the darkest areas of the picture to be able to enhance the richness of the general impact, whereas on the identical time preserving superb particulars in these areas.

Mystical Tint Tone Coloration additionally means that you can add a number of layers to be able to stack results onto the picture, along with using masks to use your changes to particular areas of the picture.

Nik Software program Silver Efex Professional
Silver Efex Professional from Nik Software program (www.niksoftware.com) is a robust software for creating and manipulating black-and-white photographs. The software program’s solely mission is black-and-white. To get you began shortly, there’s a collection of types included. These fashion presets transcend the extra pedestrian choices, mimicking the impact of a black-and-white movie seize utilizing a Holga digicam, the impact of a pinhole digicam, solarized results, movie push-processing and far more.

Silver Efex Professional presents great management over superb particulars of the black-and-white conversion. For instance, the Construction management means that you can enhance or lower native distinction inside the picture to boost or suppress superb particulars, respectively. You can also refine settings to assist protect particulars within the excessive highlights or shadows so these areas might be protected against any aggressive changes you could apply.

The Coloration Filter controls might be notably appreciated by photographers who’ve labored with coloured filters, both with black-and-white movie captures or when printing within the moist darkroom. Not solely are you able to apply a purple filter to boost distinction, for instance, however you can also choose a particular hue and power for the filter, offering significantly extra flexibility than was ever attainable with black-and-white movie pictures.


Silver Efex Professional additionally presents superior focused changes by way of the usage of Management Factors. Whenever you add a Management Level to a particular place within the picture, that space is analyzed for shade, tonality, element and placement. Whenever you alter the dimensions, brightness, distinction or construction for that Management Level, it’s working intelligently, affecting solely areas that match the looks of the purpose you recognized and inside the vary you’ve specified.

For the photographer who desires to train most management over the method of changing a shade picture to black-and-white, Silver Efex Professional is effectively price a glance.

onOne Software program PhotoTools
The PhotoTools bundle from onOne Software program (www.ononesoftware.com) could be considered extra as a software for making use of a preset look to your picture, fairly than as a software for fine-tuning a black-and-white conversion. Nonetheless, the software program contains a big selection of presets that produce glorious results, together with an excellent simulation of a platinum print look, which many photographers can respect.

Tiffen Dfx
Dfx from Tiffen (www.tiffen.com) offers a variety of filters and particular results, amongst them results that permit you to create a black-and-white model of your picture. The assorted comparability preview shows are notably useful with Dfx, however for the black-and-white aficionado, the true energy lies within the seemingly numerous sliders within the Parameters management after selecting a black-and-white preset as a place to begin.

The adjustment choices begin with primary controls that embody the flexibility to custom-tailor a shade filter that simulates the impact of simply such a filter you may use within the moist darkroom, with far more flexibility.

Dfx contains in depth controls for altering the diffusion glow on the picture, the colour results you may add after the black-and-white conversion and particular results akin to bleaching that simulate processes obtainable within the moist darkroom. You can also apply focused changes to your picture by way of the usage of masks.

Dfx presents a big array of fantastic results that might be of curiosity not just for producing black-and white photographs, but additionally for a lot of different inventive pursuits.

Tim Gray has authored over a dozen books on digital pictures and imaging for photographers, together with the best-selling Photoshop CS4 Workflow. He additionally publishes the Digital Darkroom Quarterly print publication and the Ask Tim Gray eNewsletter. Particulars could be discovered at www.timgrey.com.

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