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Creating a dramatic black-and-white landscape

From: Photoshop CS6 for Photographers: Camera Raw 7

Video: Creating a dramatic black-and-white landscape

I don't know if this happens to you in your own photographic journey, but for me there are times when I take pictures and I really like the photographs, but then eventually I just kind of grow tired of them. But then there are other pictures, like this one here, that you take and you don't initially like, but then as more and more time passes, they just get better and better. You enjoy them more and more. And I really like this picture. I think it's the leading lines. Also it was the experience of being out there in the desert and all of the wildflowers and the sky and the clouds.

Creating a dramatic black-and-white landscape

I don't know if this happens to you in your own photographic journey, but for me there are times when I take pictures and I really like the photographs, but then eventually I just kind of grow tired of them. But then there are other pictures, like this one here, that you take and you don't initially like, but then as more and more time passes, they just get better and better. You enjoy them more and more. And I really like this picture. I think it's the leading lines. Also it was the experience of being out there in the desert and all of the wildflowers and the sky and the clouds.

And with this picture what I want to do is I want to create a dynamic and really engaging black-and-white conversion. This is where we can really get creative with how we use the HSL controls and also our other controls, like the Adjustment Brush. So let's see how we can convert this image to black-and-white. First, let's select the Targeted Adjustment Tool for the Grayscale Panel and let's again use that shortcut just to practice it. On a Mac it's Shift+Option+Command+G, on Windows that's Shift+Alt+Ctrl+G, or if you forget the shortcut you can just click on this icon here and then choose Grayscale Mix.

Now that we've done that, the first thing that I need to do is to deal with the sky. All of a sudden I don't like the image. It doesn't work at all for me, because the sky is too bright and compared to the ground being dark, it's just kind of lost. I don't know where to look. So here if we click on the sky and drag down, you can see that it's moving my blues. Now, you may think, well, why not just reach for the blues? Well, we might not want to do that, because if we click and drag near the horizon, notice that it's also darkening the Aquas. I didn't realize that this was one of the colors in the sky, and you can see how that's working near the horizon.

And so sometimes by using this tool can help us target different areas of the picture. Next, we can click around here, I can go ahead and click on the grass and I could darken that or brighten that. What I actually want to do is I want to change this a little bit so I have a nice brightness level there. Then I'm going to click on the path. I want to try to change my overall path, but as I do that, it's also affecting the hills in the background. So what I need to do is I need to paint in some adjustments into the path. To do that, let's use the Adjustment Brush. Here I will press the K key. Once you've selected the Adjustment Brush, go ahead and click on the Plus icon for Exposure and then drag this over a little bit and let's also increase our Contrast. Next, scroll down.

We want to turn on Auto Mask. You can do that by pressing the M key or by clicking on this icon here. For the Flow, we want a relatively low Flow amount, and then a medium amount of Feather. Next, we are going to go ahead and click and paint across this path, and what I want to do is paint back and forth in a way that I can brighten this up, because for me this is really what a lot of the photograph is about. It's about this area of the image and about how the eye is drawn into this. It's almost like you want to go down that road and see what lies ahead. Here I will press the Left Bracket key to make my brush smaller to kind of get back down here into these areas.

Right Bracket key makes it bigger and I'm just going to keep painting in these adjustments. And because I have such a low flow, I need to go back and forth from side to side to make these adjustments. And so I'll just kind of go back and forth and make those. We could also increase them by clicking and dragging that Contrast up and increase our Exposure as well, so I should say we can increase the adjustments there. In doing that, that's now starting to work for me in an interesting way. I'm going to bring up some Clarity. That will bring in some nice texture into the path, and then lower my Exposure a little bit. Well, now that we have done that, if we click on the Preview icon, you can see here is our before.

We use to think that path really let us in, but now, whoa, it's like all of a sudden it really literally is. The next thing you might want to do with an image like this is do some either brightening or darkening in different areas of the photograph. So let's press the N key to create a new adjustment. Then in order to simplify our settings here we'll just click on the Plus icon for Exposure. Then scroll down, and with my overall Flow amount, I want to take this even lower and then make my brush a little bit smaller. And by having a small brush what I want to do is just start to bring out a little bit of the highlights I'm seeing in a few areas of the picture, make my brush even a little bit smaller and then zoom in on the picture, so press Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus.

And by zooming in, this will then allow me to kind of paint in a little bit of brightness here. And what you want to do a lot of times with black-and-white photographs is you want to build a little bit of sense of dimension or of drama and by brightening or darkening different areas of your photograph you can do that. It makes it feel a little more dynamic or like there is more depth. So these brush strokes, I'm just kind of going along some of these lines I'm noticing, painting these in, and a lot of this work may not seem like it's really even worth it, but I think it is. Here we'll zoom out a bit.

Next, create a new adjustment by pressing the N key. This time I'll go back to my Exposure slider up here and I'm going to press the Minus sign. I just want to decrease the Exposure in a few places. And again, I'll just go through and make a few little darkening adjustments here, brush strokes, darkening up some of these hillsides, trying to build up a little bit of that dimension and drama, and just kind of having fun with that. Alright, well let me zoom out. Now that we have made all of these different adjustments, we can press the V key to hide those different pins and then we can press the P key, or we can click on the Preview button to look at our before and after, and you can see how what's happened is all of a sudden the whole image, it's like it has more kind of life to it.

My darkening effects look though a little bit too strong. So I'll press the V key and I'll target that pin. You can see these brush strokes here, they're a little bit too much, actually those are the brightening ones. I need to go to this one, there are my darkening effects, and those are a bit too strong. So here I'm going to diminish those by taking that back; I don't want quite as much of a darkening effect. I also don't necessarily like this one on the hillside, so I'll click on Erase and then I'll get rid of that one over there. Well, now that we have made these wonderful adjustments to this picture, the next thing I'm going to do is go back to my Basic Panel.

So press the Z key or select the Zoom Tool to exit out of the Adjustment Brush and then click on the Basic Panel. Finally, we want to add some overall Clarity to the picture, also some overall Contrast, deepen some of those nice dark Shadows that we have there, work on our Exposure just a touch here as well and recover some of our Highlight detail. And by making some of these adjustments what we are able to do here is just kind of control some of these final elements of the picture so that now we have this deep and rich and engaging black-and-white conversion.

If we click on the Preview button, you can see, well, here is our before and now here is our after. And now here in seeing this black-and-white conversion, I realize there's one more thing I want to do here. I want to darken up some of the sky and also some of the clouds. So let's do that by using our Graduated Filter. We can click on the Graduated Filter icon. Then next thing I'm going to do is click on the Minus sign for my Exposure and I'll click and drag that down. I'll also decease the Highlights value here, and in doing this I want to darken up this area of the sky, so I'll go ahead and click and drag across the sky.

This will then allow me to create a little bit of a deeper sky there and also recover some of the details that I'm seeing there in that part of the image, so here we can modify the overall Exposure and also the Highlights. This then just allows us to kind of darken up that area of the photograph so we have little bit better detail there, in that part of the picture. Alright, well, now that we have that, I'll click on the Zoom Tool, that wraps up our work on this image. And as you can see here with this photograph, like with our other photographs, it really was the combination or the integration of working with the HSL controls, with some of our other panels and tools, which led us to creating this compelling black-and-white photograph.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Photographers: Camera Raw 7
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers: Camera Raw 7

117 video lessons · 12254 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 9m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Should I use Camera Raw or Photoshop?
      3m 22s
    3. What is Adobe Camera Raw?
      3m 45s
    4. Using the exercise files
      54s
  2. 21m 13s
    1. An overview of Bridge and Bridge preferences
      3m 19s
    2. Setting Camera Raw preferences
      3m 9s
    3. Exploring RAW vs. JPEG or TIFF files
      4m 3s
    4. Choosing a native raw file or a digital negative (DNG)
      4m 25s
    5. Converting or saving to the DNG format
      6m 17s
  3. 29m 36s
    1. Project overview: cover photo shoot
      1m 33s
    2. Auto-toning and correcting white balance
      2m 19s
    3. Cropping and composing
      3m 21s
    4. Enhancing color and tone
      2m 44s
    5. Removing distractions
      3m 58s
    6. Sharpening and noise reduction
      2m 59s
    7. Converting to black and white
      2m 11s
    8. Adding a vignette
      1m 45s
    9. Making a localized correction
      2m 53s
    10. Creating snapshots of memorable looks
      2m 1s
    11. Re-editing camera raw settings
      1m 38s
    12. Working with multiple adjustments
      2m 14s
  4. 15m 2s
    1. Navigating the interface and the toolbar
      2m 15s
    2. Exploring image-adjustment tabs and panels
      1m 32s
    3. Using the histogram
      5m 12s
    4. Previewing the before and after of different adjustments
      2m 43s
    5. Working with multiple files
      3m 20s
  5. 29m 28s
    1. Opening raw files in Bridge
      4m 35s
    2. Opening JPEGs and TIFFs in Bridge
      4m 43s
    3. How to open a photo in Photoshop and skip Camera Raw
      1m 47s
    4. Accessing Camera Raw from Mini Bridge
      3m 9s
    5. Resizing in Camera Raw with workflow options
      6m 35s
    6. Opening an image as a Smart Object
      3m 3s
    7. Saving from Camera Raw
      3m 17s
    8. Creating a duplicate file
      2m 19s
  6. 11m 19s
    1. Recomposing with the Crop tool
      2m 58s
    2. Clarifying your voice by cropping
      3m 20s
    3. Straightening and cropping
      2m 54s
    4. Cropping creatively
      2m 7s
  7. 9m 9s
    1. Improving color balance
      4m 21s
    2. Color correcting with white balance cards
      1m 48s
    3. Using the White Balance tool and controls
      3m 0s
  8. 18m 32s
    1. Deconstructing the basic adjustments
      3m 33s
    2. Correcting overexposure
      2m 52s
    3. Correcting underexposure
      3m 13s
    4. Making exposure enhancements
      2m 52s
    5. Recovering highlight and shadow detail
      3m 38s
    6. A speed tip for making basic adjustments
      2m 24s
  9. 14m 14s
    1. Demystifying Clarity
      2m 36s
    2. Increasing Clarity
      3m 52s
    3. Understanding Vibrance and Saturation
      1m 50s
    4. Improving color with Vibrance
      3m 52s
    5. Making creative color adjustments
      2m 4s
  10. 11m 48s
    1. Learning about the parametric and point-tone curves
      4m 4s
    2. Using the parametric-tone curve
      2m 19s
    3. Using the point-tone curve
      3m 22s
    4. Creating a unique color look with the point-tone curve
      2m 3s
  11. 15m 38s
    1. Introducing the Spot Removal tool
      3m 42s
    2. Removing distracting background elements
      3m 12s
    3. Removing blemishes on a face
      3m 29s
    4. Removing dust on the lens or the camera sensor
      2m 58s
    5. Removing red-eye
      2m 17s
  12. 51m 20s
    1. Introducing the Adjustment Brush
      6m 18s
    2. Correcting exposure
      6m 23s
    3. Working with Auto Mask
      4m 16s
    4. Changing the background color
      4m 30s
    5. Changing the color temperature
      3m 15s
    6. Making multiple color and tone adjustments
      5m 47s
    7. Enhancing the color, tone, and sharpness of the eyes
      5m 11s
    8. Whitening teeth
      3m 20s
    9. Brightening shadows and darkening highlights
      2m 51s
    10. Creating a black-and-white effect
      5m 36s
    11. Removing moiré patterns
      2m 19s
    12. Creating Adjustment Brush presets
      1m 34s
  13. 10m 0s
    1. Enhancing the foreground and background of an image with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 7s
    2. Reducing exposure with the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 0s
    3. Exploring creative effects with the Graduated Filter tool
      2m 53s
  14. 13m 23s
    1. Exploring noise reduction
      3m 27s
    2. Applying input sharpening
      4m 9s
    3. Using the Basic and Detail panels together
      3m 33s
    4. Edge sharpening an architectural photograph
      2m 14s
  15. 12m 53s
    1. Introducing HSL
      2m 8s
    2. Enhancing color and tone
      2m 7s
    3. Using the Basic and HSL panels together
      2m 24s
    4. Removing colors with HSL
      3m 1s
    5. Making color changes
      3m 13s
  16. 21m 57s
    1. Using the black-and-white controls
      1m 44s
    2. Exploring simple black-and-white conversion
      6m 17s
    3. Using multiple panels to create a black-and-white image
      6m 17s
    4. Creating a dramatic black-and-white landscape
      7m 39s
  17. 11m 1s
    1. Exploring traditional black-and-white toning
      3m 19s
    2. Adding split toning to color photographs
      3m 49s
    3. Creative toning of a color photo
      3m 53s
  18. 16m 49s
    1. Removing extreme distortion with a lens profile
      2m 2s
    2. Working with the manual Lens Correction controls
      2m 33s
    3. Improving a portrait with lens corrections
      3m 26s
    4. Adding a darkening vignette effect
      1m 28s
    5. Combining lens corrections with creative cropping
      3m 35s
    6. Adding distortion for a creative effect
      2m 29s
    7. Correcting chromatic aberration and defringing
      1m 16s
  19. 15m 10s
    1. Understanding the effects controls
      7m 8s
    2. Adding film grain and darkening edges
      3m 56s
    3. Cropping and brightening edges
      2m 32s
    4. Creating a defined edge
      1m 34s
  20. 9m 29s
    1. Introducing the Camera Calibration panel
      3m 41s
    2. Creative color with the Camera Calibration controls
      3m 25s
    3. Exploring camera calibration resources
      2m 23s
  21. 5m 14s
    1. Introducing presets
      3m 19s
    2. Exploring free and fun ACR presets
      1m 55s
  22. 10m 19s
    1. Quick raw processing of multiple files
      2m 21s
    2. Applying raw processing in Bridge
      2m 34s
    3. Recording an action
      3m 37s
    4. Batch processing multiple images
      1m 47s
  23. 7m 52s
    1. A creative color mini-project
      5m 12s
    2. Using Camera Raw controls in a non-traditional way
      2m 40s
  24. 6m 24s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 25s
    2. Camera Raw and Lightroom
      4m 19s
    3. Goodbye
      40s

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