Making a Toned Monochrome Image

Simon Allen,  from Dumfries Camera Club,  talked to us on 19 December about his techniques to make many of the stunning images he showed us. He was kind enough to let us have copies of notes for two of his techniques.
The first is the conversion of a colour image to a subtle toned Monochrome. Here, Simon explains how he does it.
  1. Open colour image of your choice in Photoshop.
  2. Select Image → Mode → Lab Color.
  3. Open Channels palette: Window → Channels.
  4. Click on lightness channel. The lab, a and b channels will be switched off.
  5. Select Image → Mode → Grayscale. This will leave only a gray channel in the open palette.
  6. Holding down Ctrl and Alt, click on the thumbnail image in the channels palette. This will select all pixels between white and mid gray. If you have a version of Photoshop with a Histogram palette, this will be clearly shown.
  7. However, we wish to select those pixels representing black to mid gray. Therefore go to Select → Inverse.
  8. Open the layers palette: Window → Layers.
  9. Change image back to colour file: Image → Mode → RGB Color.
  10. Select Layer → New Fill Layer → Solid Color. A New Layer box will open, click OK. This will open the Color Picker. Click on a colour of your choice. The exact colour is unimportant at this stage but, if you desire a warm tone, click on a red part of the spectrum or, if you prefer a cool tone, select a blue part of the spectrum. Once a colour is selected click OK. Your image will probably look rather washed out at this stage – don’t worry.
  11. On the Layers palette, click on the little downward facing arrow in the blending mode window. This is the box at the top left of the palette which will presently be at ‘normal’. Click on Multiply from the drop down menu.
  12. You now have a toned monochrome image.
  13. If you are unhappy with the colour, contrast or tonal quality of the image (or simply wish to experiment), these can easily be altered.
  14. Double click on the coloured thumbnail shown in the uppermost of the two layers in the Layers palette. This will re-open the Colour Picker. Simply click anywhere on either the large graded colour box or on the vertical strip spectrum until you achieve the desired result. Click OK.

The second of Simon Allen’s techniques is about how to convert a colour images to Monochrome Infra Red using Photoshop

  1. Open colour image of your choice in Photoshop.
  2. Convert to monochrome using Chanel Mixer. Tick the monochrome box and adjust the three colour channels to obtain the best conversion.
  3. If the image looks a little flat, increase contrast using a Curves Adjustment Layer. Moving the top point of the curve a little to the right and the base point a little to the left will have the effect of brightening highlights and darkening shadow areas. A reasonably contrasty image is desirable for creating the infra red effect.
  4. To reproduce the characteristic graininess of an infra red image, create a new adjustment layer and fill it with 50% gray by going to Edit→Fill→50% gray (chosen from the use box). Then add noise Filter→Noise→Add Noise (ensuring that the Monochrome and Gaussian Blur boxes are ticked. I would initially suggest a setting of between 40% and 60%. Finally, change the blending mode on the layers palette to Soft Light and adjust the opacity of the layer to achieve the desired effect.
  5. To re-create the glow around highlights that infra red images tend to exhibit go back to the background layer and create a duplicate of it. Apply Gaussian Blur Filter→Blur→Gaussian Blur with a suggested setting of around 30 pixels. Adjust the opacity of this layer until the image adopts the appearance of an infra red print.
  6. Final adjustments  to contrast can be achieved by the use of a Curves or Levels layer. The dodge tool set on ‘highlights’ may also be used to improve the glow in highlight details, such as foliage and other greenery, as often seen in infra red images.

Thanks to Simon for letting us have a copy of these notes 


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