Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Your Perfect B&W Print
Ansel Adams called the print “The Performance.” OP shows you, in-depth, how to use Photoshop to get your image ready for the best performance possible.
Using this workaround, to preview the sharpening, hold down the Command key and press Z. This is the keyboard shortcut for Undo. The first time you press the Z, the 3 changes to 0.1; pressing the Z again reverts it back to 3. The value 0.1 is, in effect, the “before” view. When the radius has 0.1 in it, the image has no visible sharpening (Fig. 13).
Looking at the image at 100% magnification, increase the Radius by 0.5 until it looks sharp. Use Command Z to preview. Once we’re happy with the sharpening on the screen, press OK. We’re sharpening for output to an inkjet printer. When you look at this image at 100%, it should look coarse and oversharpened. Use the Opacity of the Sharpen layer
to reduce the amount of sharpening.
With the Sharpen layer selected, we want to add a layer mask. Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide Selection. As you can see, the mask is an inverted black-and-white version of the image (Fig. 14b).
I finished the image with some toning (Fig. 15). I used a Solid Color adjustment layer with the color settings of R:111, G:102 and B:54; keep in mind that my working color space is ProPhoto (Fig. 16). You should find a tone that works well with your images. I set the Blending mode of my Solid Color layer to Soft Light and created a Luminosity mask on the Solid Color layer.
In no way is this the only workflow for black-and-white images on their way to be printed, but I’ve found that it works well. Please take from this what makes sense for your own workflow.
Ming Tshing is an educator, a photographer and a digital-imaging specialist. He has been photographing in the United States and Asia since age 16. You can find Photoshop Actions dealing with the Midtone Contrast and Sharpening adjustments covered here at the link files.me.com/mtshing/dvkrg1 E-mail Tshing directly at email@example.com.
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