I would like to learn how this look (link below) is developed. Of course the content/subject matter & lighting are most of it, but the skin tones and contrast in photoshop are what I'd like to learn about ...It seems to me that I should break the look down into components:
1. The skin color & texture - I found a tutorial in the Edu tab that shows me how to smooth it with Frequency Separation which is great. But the skin color if you d/l one of the images & open it in PS, & read it in the Info palette is about equal values for C,M,Y & 0 for K. How can one use an adjustment layer to create & then repeatedly get the same col look? I tried a new solid col fill layer to no avail.
2. The contrast - I guess there are various ways to crush the blacks...levels, curves, but the one I'm keen to learn about, in this context, is the Gradient map adj. layer. Or am I off the mark with this?
3. Saturation -I guess a Hue/Sat layer would be the obvious, but it has been suggested that the photographer/s use a high contrast (lith) black & white duplicate layer above the bkground (& change the opacity/blend mode).This may solve both contrast & desaturation. How do you make such a layer?
I think I get it ... The first thing they reminded me of were black & white images with a colour overlay ... lith printing makes even more sense
The difference is, when you increase contrast and crush blacks like that, with a colour image, you get radical shifts in saturation ... so instead you do it in B&W, then overlay a low *contrast* colour image (which gives you flatter colours)
And the colourised comparison makes sense too, because colourising is about painting flat colours onto (usually) high contrast images
In practice? Perhaps in your RAW editor, make a contrasy, lith-esque B&W conversion (compare with their images converted to B&W), then do a low contrast colour conversion ... In Photoshop: B&W layer underneath; colour layer on top with Colour blending - adjust Opacity to control colour strength
I think you could get the processing side pretty close doing that - you could use a Saturation Mask to check you've got the same saturation characteristics
helmutn wrote: Benski, I think you have a plan there - some direction at last and certainly worth experimenting with....let's see what 'develops' !
To see the kind of b/w 'lith' print, do you think my effort can be compared to theirs by taking one of their col images and converting to b/w - there are so many ways to change from col to b/w?
(not sure what a saturation mask is but maybe you mean a hue/sat adj. layer with a layer mask?)
Yeah, exactly, and the way I'd convert to B&W is with a Hue/Sat layer (Saturation -100) but set it to Colour blending ... just gives you the tones as they are
I'd match the B&W look first, then work on adding the colour
And a Saturation Mask's a really useful preset to have for your Selective Colour filter ... Turns an image into a strange B&W thing, with the whites representing saturated colour, and black desaturated ... So you can analyse how your image is handling colour vs another image ... You get your Selective Colour adjustment layer; set to Absolute; on all the Colours in the dropdown menu, set the Black slider to -100% ... on White, Neutral and Black, set it to +100%
Converting to b/w-
I took the example portrait image that Dean linked to above and d/l it. By applying a Hue/Sat layer>sliding the master slider to -100> & setting the blend mode to Color, it should as you say give me their b/w tones as they are. Well, surprisingly the b/w image is very smooth and full toned, and not at all what one may have expected - a very high contrast 'lith' type of b/w image.
Layering Col version above B/W-
Blend mode set to Color> I did this with one of mine and yes the the amount of desaturation is adjusted with the Opacity.
It may be a function of the actual skins, the make-up, the lighting, but even when the opacity seems to be a similar amount of desaturation, the relationship between CMYK on theirs compared to mine is very different. In the d/l sample, the CMY are of almost equal value.
The saturation mask -
This is very interesting, I'd not come across this before. I made it and saved it as a a Selective Col adj. layer preset. But I'm not really sure how to "read" it effectively ? My own test compared to their sample image are "roughly" similar looking except in their image the girls lips are white i.e very saturated. Other than that...