Join Lynda.com for an in-depth discussion in this video Film photography, part of Celebrating Photoshop: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective.
(lyrical music) - As Photoshop celebrates it's 25th anniversary, I think it's worth the time to look back, and see some of the roots of the tools that you use everyday in Photoshop. For a lot of you, you may have never seen a traditional dark room. This is where the black and white process has been done for a long time. I'm Konrad Eek, and I've been doing professional darkroom work for over 40 years. What we're doing is making a black and white print.
In the old days, bridge was a contact sheet where you'd take your negatives and make essentially thumbnails of those. You'd study the thumbnails to decide which ones were worth enlarging. We've already done several tests to get to where we are right now, and with this image, I'm kind of zeroing in on what would be a final print. We're going to start with a base exposure that I've determined is pretty good for the entire area of the image. And while I'm making that base exposure, I'm going to dodge part of the image.
Dodging, I'm sure you've seen the dodge tool in Photoshop. It looks somewhat like this. It's just a piece of wire. I've used a piece of black tape to cut out the shape of the area I want to dodge, and technically what we do when we dodge is we selectively reduce the amount of white that hits the paper. What that does, if you reduce the exposure, cutting back the amount of light, you reduce the density of that area on the prints. So we're dodging to lighten an area of the print.
So I'm going to start off with my ten second base exposure, and I'm going to dodge for about two seconds of that in one area of the print. (lyrical music) - You count that off in your head going one-Kodak, two-Kodak. Okay, now that it's all, I've done the dodging in my base exposure, I want to do some burning and increase exposure. So I'm going to add light to a couple of areas of the print to darken it. I'm sure you remember the Burning icon is the little shielded-hand, and what I'm going to do is block the light from the enlarger as I turn it on, and then I'm going to get my hand in position and selectively add light.
You know, sometimes this is more done intuitively and by feel. And then the last thing I'm going to do is a gradated burn which would be comparable to doing a levels adjustment with a gradation in your mask. I know this doesn't look like the gradient tool but it is black and white. And once again I'm going to do this just with a count in my head. (lyrical music) - And by bringing it down and back, what I did was create a grading across the top of the paper.
From here, we've finished our exposure, now we go into the developer and what the developer's doing is turning the exposed silver halide crystals into black metallic silver. This is what makes the image appear. There's not a comparable tool in Photoshop for this, and that's why I still like the magic of the darkroom. (lyrical music) - And here in the developing process, one of the things that I'm always struck by when I do traditional photography, I've grown very accustomed to seeing the results of my edits in real time in Photoshop, and as computers have gotten faster and faster, you don't have to wait for those little grey progress bars anymore.
You know, when Photoshop first came, we were, all of us in the industry, were kinda going, "yeah, right, like this is going to change the way we work." While we're still working on in the hum of the safe light, I want to show you another thing that you wouldn't be able to see once we bring up the room lights. First the version of the zoom tool for focus, this is actually a grain magnifier. It's got a magnifying glass essentially that looks through a mirror that is very precisely positioned to mimic the surface of the easel right here, and it enlarges the silver grains so that I can actually see them and focus them knowing that when the silver is in focus, the image is going to be as sharp as possible.
And we don't have a sharpening tool in the dark room, so exact focus is the most important thing that we can get. You can see this image here, I've done tests on this and the problem I have is the sky is way to bright in relation to the foreground. This happens a lot, particularly when you're shooting at altitude. This came from an image I shot in Colorado several years ago. Photoshop has amazing contrast control tools. As you go from a color image to a black and white image, this would be a tremendously easy fix.
We could just click a slider on the sky, the blue of the sky, and drag it to whatever tonality we wanted. If we were affecting something else in the image, we could just select that away and not change it. We can't do that in the darkroom, but we do have a blunt instrument that accomplishes almost the same thing. I'm going to take something to use as a spacer, and place that right in the middle of the image, and then I'm going to put a piece of white card-stock here, and I'm going to create a burning mask.
And so I'm just going to trace along the edge of the treeline here. And think of this as a selection tool. I do most of my selecting using the pen tool which can draw very accurately. Heaven knows, there's so many selection tools you can use in Photoshop. What we're going to do with this when we're done in here is we're going to go out and sit down at a table with an Exacto-knife, and we're very carefully going to cut this mask out. Why look! Here's a perfectly cut burning mask.
We'll take this mask, and remembering what height we started, we'll start the exposure time, quickly bringing that to level, pull it in and then gently jiggle it and then bring it back up in and out. And that little jiggling motion that you're doing there, that's equivalent to feathering the edge of a selection cause what we're trying to do is we want to burn in the sky for almost twice the exposure that the foreground area has to get them to balance out well, but if we just hold this in place, we'll probably get this little halo of either too dark on this part or too light in the sky.
And so by going in and feathering it, it accomplishes just what you do by feathering a selection in Photoshop. So, we're going to go ahead and make that exposure, and then we'll take a look at the results of the two images we've talked about. I wanted to share with you the results of the two images we altered through techniques that are now represented by Photoshop tools. Here you can see the first print, the work print that I had of the waterfall. There's really very little textural information down here in the whites.
These areas are kind of blown out. You leak out the frame here. Where, when we made the... And overall, it's just a little bit light. We made the adjustments and you can see, it's got a little more punch just cause we darkened it, but I really like the sparkle in the grass here and we held on to that by the dodging that we did. In burning in the information here, it's almost like we used a recovery tool to recover highlight information like you do with a raw file. Cause it was there on the negative, it was just quite dense.
And then you can see, in adding the gradation, we've brought a lot more strength to these leaves here to kind of hold in the corner, and we've really stopped that kind of bright white leak out into the side. So I think they were pretty successful edits. Going to the other one where we used the burning mask, and you can see the exposure values in the foreground are really pretty good. We've got a good tonal range, a nice sense of light, but our sky is just a series of cotton puffs with no definition. So, by carefully masking the foreground, we've left it exactly as it was, but then we've gone ahead and added a lot more density in the sky and a lot of textural information in the clouds that we didn't have before.
And so, what I would do on an image like this, if I like this, I would keep the mask and the negative and my notes on the process in a folder all together, so if I went back to repeat it, I could repeat it. It's a lot easier in Photoshop where once you get to the finished image, it's Command S. Remember that, Command S. You don't have to take notes, all your metadata is recorded. If you work in Lightroom, you don't even alter your original source file.
It just has a little suitcase with all your data in it. You know, I have a darkroom that was filled with pencil nubs from all the notes that I recorded, and as I go back and re-explore these old images, it's interesting to look at the developers that I used that are no longer available, all the changes that have happened. So I think the thing to me, the way I see Photoshop more than anything... At the beginning, it was a little tool in my photographer's tool kit, and now it's one of the most powerful tools in my camera bag.
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