Skip to main content

The Art & Business of High-End Retouching

Lesson 26 of 32

Conversion to Black and White


The Art & Business of High-End Retouching

Lesson 26 of 32

Conversion to Black and White


Lesson Info

Conversion to Black and White

This image that we're going to show coming up is provided to me by my good friend ray cruz that regard photo dot com he's a fantastic beauty fortune, jer photographer and also does great architecture work. And he let me this beautiful file shot another face on camera and as you can see by the iike an extension which illustrates that it is from phase one now interesting people asking what's different screen, any f and c are too, and I q and always fantastic names to remember honestly it's, just proprietors based on what cameras shot from what that means is that let's say you have four shop version cs four and you bought five of the five mark three, even though it may be the same extension is five the marked one it's still not going to open and see. As for why? Because photo shop, stop supporting camera and see us for to include the new cameras mean you have to update which makes cc really easy choice, because then you could easily just read read every camera profile because it keeps upd...

ating automatically, you know, keep updating versions easy way to circumvent that so you have c c c c is for you have c s for, but you have a new camera and it cannot read on c s four well, for a shop has offered is a way to convert the cr two files or any of files or whatever camera you shot with into d n g what d n g is it's the same thing is you're all file, but it allows you to open in any version of four shop you can convert these raw files into dmg and archive them some clients let me dmg files because they are they have archived everything the angie so it kind of makes it a level playing field, but it's not necessary unless you have that issue going forward. So just one thing to think about because I had to get that question, why can't my camera files open or even is the re toucher if you re toucher should definitely upping the latest addition? Ok, brilliant now going back to our conversion the way that I want to demonstrate, um, doing black white conversions is a two step process. First, we got to do a really nice conversion using smart objects, and then we're going to be using my method to convert to black and white okay. Now, first and foremost with architectural images or at least with smart objects, I like to convert the image and a variable step method what I mean by that this first I'm going to make a conversion just for one particular area of an image sometimes what happens is if you adjust your camera, adjust your photo in camera raw it doesn't really good conversion overall but sometimes it doesn't make a realized conversion for say, the foreground or the background and it's sometimes really difficult to control so smart objects offer a really clean an amazing way to convert file the way that you see it so let me get started and show you so let's say I do one conversion as we have them before yesterday just by adjusting your exposure first go and set that back to default I'm going to push push back our black level and our wide level here and say that I really love the way the building here in the foreground has rendered and lets him going to increase over the clarity just for some mid tone contrast within the pains of the window and the dividers up here however, I don't like the conversion down here now it's very difficult even with your justin brush to manually undo that and that particular section so this is where smart objects take place because I also want to do another conversion safer the mountains over the clouds right? So instead of staying open image we're going to go ahead and whole shift how's guessing there for a second holding shift and clicking on open object so whole shift click on open object and the image loaded okay and what this means is when we look our little thumbnail it has a little icon which shows you it is currently a smart object and what does this mean in regards to raw file it means that if we double click on that thumbnail thumbnail being imperative word not the text the thumbnail you can come back into your editor how cool is that right come back in here all editor and make tweaks that's fine and that's finding great however the importance of this smart object is not so much that we can come back into the raw file on that layer it's that we can make a copy of this and do a rock conversion for a foreground for example and we can stack a million as many as we want so shooting saying a landscape so if you shooting outdoors or you want the background to this particular conversion without affecting the foreground of the model you can do that which makes it very makes it priceless rounds with you I've worked on a lot of files like that and they look beautiful okay someone hit okay it's not gonna change anything because we've kept everything the same and I'm going to make a copy of this smart object I'm going to say this twice it's not command jay and it's not duplicate layer you have to right click and you have to say new smart object via copy it has to be new smart object by copy and I'll tell you that difference if you didn't do that and if you hit say, command j and if you said all right now I'm going to make another exposure for my top player like okay, I won't do this what's gonna happen is the top and bottom layers are linked would that means is that the change made here is also made here that's kind of dumb I don't want to do that however what this means is that you have to have it set to new smart object buy a copy and what this does is it unlinked sit so that the changes made here are not made on the bottom layer? So now is where we can say let's make an exposure for background and our, uh, side elements here, so okay, great, we loved everything about these foreground and we're going to go back on dh tweak a little bit of our settings to compensate for what we want for the section here, so in this section here I'm just going to focus here I don't care what changes happen anywhere else. I will adjust my black point to bring out a little bit more, you know, um detail over here, maybe increased some more of the shadows aunt, perhaps even include increased the vibrance to bring more detail and color into the flowers and make the differences between the reds on dh, the pinks stand out much more and again love vibrance more than saturation and it's much more subtle, so I'll do that and tweak accordingly. I think that's all I really want to do, you could even go further and go into the individual color areas and say, increased luminosity of the flowers who shouldn't be not even more you do that or even shifted, so if you don't like pink, if you hate pink for some reason I don't know why you would, but you could shift it over or change saturation value you can get away is quite a bit using this technique, ok? Fantastic. Um now we can even, you know, make sure that our clarity is not set, which it isn't fantastic. Okay, so let's hit, okay? And so we came to see foreground, and now here is where how we apply this. We're going to use a mask, a black mask alter option, click on the mask and now we're going to click our blur brush and we're gonna brush away using our flow demonstration say, three percent or so gonna bring in gently to control just how much we want let's use a higher flux. I think what we did was quite nice, generally speaking and with trains on in awful quick in a second, I'll go always the back switch on and off you get exposure just for that area where we applied those cities there I'm going to do one more maybe for the mountains or the sky just to add that final element there okay before you go any further but you get the idea so I'll do new smart object by copy from the background stack it on top now I'll start over from the section um I think I quite liked how the mountains a rendering in regards to not making them too dark maybe I'll increase some of the white and highlights so is the white first on duh c here we will go in and I'll do the sky and mountains together just so that we can you know progress with time but typically you do both individually we will take our awkward and blues oh no that's not good turned into mario colors right there for a second we're going to go in and just situation our blues little bit maybe tone down the loo eminence this also how you get a lot of really good tweaks with dark skies for example we'll go back into our general exposure increased the white point we can bring out the closet a bit maybe keep the clarity of it less andi lastly will probably increase some of the overall vibrance okay maybe something like that again this is a personal taste you know being on whatever you like and now we'll do the same thing alter option, click on the mask and I will quickly just bring it in for the sake off, demonstrating what it does, and as you can see, I'm not really using any pentacle or I'm not getting in there and getting super precise because, again, a little bit of overflow very gently isn't going to affect my image very much at all notice that result, but if you're you're a stickler for you can feel free to spend the time to pen it out and have fun with that. So essentially we started out with a new exposure that we liked for our foreground, and then we want to build on that and create this effect that we like, and that way it allows us to get the look we want this is great for shots that have a lot of contrasts and shifts when sunsets happened or sunrise happened, or she outdoors and blown our areas, you can increase this dynamic range selectively to make it look like you shot with the camera that has much more dynamic brains and actually does there's a good way to treat people uh, it's also a good way to use for landscapes, but anyways, this set so beautifully for our black and whites because it really brings out the prominence. Of every particular area in the exact way that we see in our minds remember the reason why photo shop is critical? Is it bridges the gap between what was shot and what we saw in our minds that day, right? That's why we process files essentially is to make sure we're communicating what we see as artists. So this is another tool to get you there. Let me brush in a little bit of mountains in the reflection of the glasses. Well, that's, what you say, lower flow. Just bringing back moving gently. Okay. Fantastic. I'm gonna go ahead and save this image. See, we'll save it under the same archive as a smart objects. So we have a conversion. Doesn't look hdr but still has a realistic effect. Ok, now is where we begin our blocking. My conversion for the sake of time. Uh, let me go ahead and just flatten this real quick for processing and saving and so forth. Now, what typically happens with black and white is there are a couple of ways to, um, work on black on images. You can essentially click on the bottom here. We havejust with theirs, and some people like to use the black and white slider. But over here you're kind of at the mercy of the individual colors and image where you say ok, I'm going to just the reds but the reds are determined based on whatever you shoot it's not going to be a very precisely to control where to adjust what? Okay it's a great starting point maybe but it's still very randomized it's not going to essentially you know give you the amount of control that you want particularly now this is great for a lot of intention, intents and purposes but we can do a little bit better than this because with this you can then say that all right I have a good base exposure and then you can use a curve to essentially add points on your history graham so you can use point on your curve too then determine if you want maura emphasising your shadows or mohr emphasising your highlights or more emphasis in your mid tones giving you a little bit more control over all the full tonality of the image you can see here that do really crappy masking job I should not say crabby really terrible masking job along the fringe and you still bitter ghost thing and this will be pronounced because I emphasize thie sky tio um you know the transition here which is okay because it is just in theory remember that I'm not doing this on purpose now again when you stack multiple methods together allows you to really control the look and feel of your black and white just based on whatever area you want to emphasize or bring up so you can say I want the issue much more subdued in my highlights or you can bring it up further and add more contrast the image by pushing pure hearts further or your mid tones being a little darker and so forth and so on that's also great I'll show you one other method that I think you guys are really gonna enjoy I hope you do um just based on using channels so what channels are we going to show you? A quick is under window and channels you will see that you collectively have what is known as your rgb channel or your compass it image of all the colors that are shot but the way the rgb mode work is you have three separate channels you have all the information which is blue or contains blue shop as essentially white or bright and green does the same thing and red does the same thing. So if you notice the flowers had a lot of red and pink in it it's showing up quite well white and bright meaning this is where most of the red is contained now the funny thing and this actually threw me for quite a while is when you look at this r g b channel and look at, say, the ground which is white or you know close to what is possible I would essentially be confused as to why is that it's showing up white on each of these channels? Because you know blue, green and red are not consistently there but from my understanding what it means is that when you think of you know bacterial science class is white light essentially contains all the colors contains red, green blue you know magenta roy g biv order that came remember that awesome it contains everything so that is why it's also show your white within the clouds or the ground from my understanding at least so why is this really important? Why who cares right? What is the matter? Why is getting all scientific and technical well, when you look at these individual channels they come up with their own black and white renditions very much like the smart objects you can then control where you want what so say that I really loved the fact that the sky was, you know, quite deep in the red channel and you can say, you know, I really love the way the blue channel made the foreground pop and each of these areas have their own special characteristics and I wanted to bring each of those elements into one composite image to create a stunning black and white that had the best rendition from every channel couldn't get that through curves I couldn't get that to the black white or just one layer there's on ly one way to really do that and that was through channel mixer and if you guys have never used child mixer before it's really fun you can mix these channels together to create a really cool I'll show you that right now so coming back to our image that we've composite together from our smart object I'm going to go back and click on rgb making sure it's not black and white yet I'll go to my adjustment layers and click on my c channel mixer or just one layer so here we go essentially chose you rgb and show you the red channel has hundred percent the red zero green and zero boom as it should be because each identify identifiable area shows you that green is one hundred percent and red is at zero on blues that zero because we're in the green channel however these little presets here give you black and white presets so it instantly loads the black and white look that the rgb had for each channel. So what does this mean? It means that we can combine channel also and stack them together the other really cool part about this is it has other channels too like in from it and it kind of I don't know what that has makes it look kind and fred not really cool looking but cool sounding and also gives you orange filters which is kind of like in between between red and yellow essentially and gives you all the options so again the cool part about this is say that I'm going to start with my boo my green I'm gonna buy everything just generally speaking just to see what kind of what I liked red filter yellow filter go back up there second again just to get a second look uh okay, so the red filter I really like the way the flowers were being produced with the black my conversion so I will now invert that and then I'm gonna take my brush just really quickly and they're pretty say twenty percent and I am going to mask the foreground and what this is going to do is gonna play that version into that element so I'm going back there and maybe even within this guy here because I've always been very I guess you could say interested in high he kind of looks and high contrast we have have more white prominence within black and white so it allows me to create that balance after the fact without worrying about what it is that I'm shooting so if you have a different preference for ratio is like if you prefer more shadows or more black areas it allows you to then find manual control to your taste whatever areas that you like okay, fantastic. So we have essentially are foreground here and we do one more and now the way that this works is if I do another child mixer every time that I create another preset it's going on ly fill in the areas that we haven't masked out yet it's not going to read oh, go over this again it's going to save us time and just fill in the gaps and so now I'm going to go back and go through all the other ones they make sure which what do we do here? The red filter ok, so into the red older again because we already know we have that one there set so I like, I think I quite like um the yellow filter for the clouds and some of the reflections are here so it's going to that so invert that really quickly and again I'm just kind of really quick just illustrate and I'll do some of this the cloud reflection in the building as well and there we go okay, great and so this over here, baby and again the cool thing is because every time we had another one on top it just fills in the rest of like a coloring book so it doesn't have to be so precise if she inclined not to be okay now I mean, we just erase some of this from building here and as you can see, I'm changing and brush size and white and black to erase and hide from the mask collectively, which has saved me a ton of time is why shortcuts are very important on dh here we go, it's like a cooking channel, should just bring the final product, you know, at the end like show bunch of ingredients, just like here you go, here's my final product. All right, now we'll do one last one under our channel mixer. We had red and yellow so far. Now let's say that we have for red no blue, which is actually quite yummy and nice conversion green is going to freak this conversion as well. Since the mountains are quite green and obviously red and yellow, we've done see a green filter it's probably something I'm probably just stick with for this, this one you can see what even within the green filter the mountains here pay attention that it changes quite drastically based on the blue filter as lot more contrast with same time it's much more natural brings a lot of detail because a lot of the information is in the green channel. So again, here are the three channels collectively put together to make a custom black image, and if you want to tweet this even further, you khun dodging burn to emphasize areas as well so say that I messed up here I can say you know what I want to essentially just burned real quick so as this quick action it's set up my libourne layer here quick on my mask this action is also included within the balance as well so I'm going to emphasize how to go over that again because it is there and instead of three very easily so I'll set my float a one percent I'll start burning some of this in again and I'll start burning some of the sky between the clouds here is where blend it's become really important because say you're in a hurry and you start burning everything in you spill over into the highlights what you can then do is use a blend if to make sure that it's not going to be built into the highlights over the blend if and then I will simply drag this over here you see it's doing that funky thing across the cloud again like in the face of the image so it will be a process right here because I can see that something about the border clouds all altar option split it and there you go it feathers in quite nicely and so this did is essentially just burned in some of the detail and the guy dragged you pass it down if you want or under some bits if it's too much and then do the same across the board with other areas, and they can add a whole bunch of different effects. You can start dodging and sorry, in contrast, sharpness, and get a particular look that you absolutely love for your black and white. Damon leo says. This is brilliant. I always had trouble getting channel mixer conversions to look great in all parts of a photo. Absolutely, and I always had problems with this, because I love the way the channels looked, but not everywhere. And it's it's set up for a really nice based conversion, and then from there you can use standard black and white, took techniques and tools. You do whatever you like, but this sets up a perfect before their conversion, like

Class Description

One of the biggest challenges a photographer faces is the amount of time spent on retouching images. Creating a beautiful high-end finished photo requires the right tools and techniques — but the process doesn’t need to dominate your workflow.

Join international retoucher Pratik Naik, owner of Solstice Retouch, as he shares his secrets for creating beautiful photos in less time. You will also learn the business and marketing side of retouching — everything from working with clients to creative branding opportunities.

During a live photo shoot, Pratik works with photographer Felix Kunze, demonstrating how photographers and retouchers can work together to craft a final product that exceeds the expectations of both parties. You’ll learn every single step of the retouching process by watching as Pratik turns Felix’s raw photos into high-quality images.

Whether you’re a photographer who wants to present high-end final images to your clients, or you want to break into the world of retouching, Pratik will provide you with the skills necessary to be the best at your craft.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 14.2, Adobe Lightroom 5



Really wonderful course, thanks. May I suggest a fantastic idea for maybe those who purchase the course? It would be extremely useful to be provided with a summary of the content of each video segment, perhaps a 30-60 second video with written 'dot-point' sheet at the end of each segment, to be reviewed at a later time. It just takes too long to replay each video to get the important messages. The notes provided by Pratik were a step in the right direction but they need more detail of what was presented, including tips and tricks, in each segment. In this way, once having watched the entire course, you could go back and review the nitty-gritty aspects of each segment quickly and efficiently. These quick 'summary' clips could make up a separate 15 minute video, recapping in detail the hard-core content of the course, without interruptions from questions. This would be extremely useful and hopefully not take the presenter too long to film. I feel this would be a wonderful 'added value' aspect of buying the course, as it would not be available for for free viewing. It would certainly encourage me to buy more of the available courses. Keep up the great work at Creative Live! I have stopped my Kelby subscription and just watch you guys now!! Well done!! Peter Bourne Australia


Pratik has been a revelation and a revolution at the same time, even kinda a benediction because of its huge generosity to show us such an efficient and powerful workflow. His genial approach turns impossible things into possible. What amazed me most, was Pratik ability to see further the shot and take the best of it to reach the perfection. The original photo is still there, very recognizable, but through a precise and meaningful workflow, it becomes eye-catching, high quality, high impact. Pratik is a wonderful person, very genuine, high talented, with a sophisticated sense of the aesthetics and arts. This course changed drastically my way to look at photoshop and at the retouching techniques. Thank you!!

user d3cdf7

I have been a retoucher since 1992 and a commercial photographer and I am amazed at the wealth of information Pratik is teaching us. Love his great sense of humor. Yes, retouching takes me way into the early part of the morning...up to 4 am. I've learned to listen to Books on DVD from the library which help my attitude much better. Several degrees behind me and I know I was meant to make a difference with portrait photography. NO ONE wants reality, especially at elder ages. So I continue to learn to retouch professionally and not use a quick retouch filter which renders a fake look. I may incorporate a light retouching filter, but I find I must always do some manual retouching first, in order to have the appearance look real. Which is the old first rule to retouching itself. In the film days, I use to make my own texture screens in order to create more beautiful faces. My photographer friends would ask for my help in using them, when they had blurred an important celebrity shot. The texture screen would help spread the dots and give the appearance of your digital noise now. The results were the image looked more focused Thank you Pratik Naik, for being so generous with your techniques. I am interested in how to price out retouching jobs, as I have been told I give my retouching away with my photography. Thanks,, Jeri Goodwin-Akari cherished moments photography in walla walla, WA