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The Black and White Digital Darkroom - part 4 of 1 2 3 4 5 6

by Paul Gallagher Published 01/02/2016


The Curves dialogue box now appears and consists of two axes which gradually transform from solid black to solid white and a diagonal line (See image right). One end of the line represents white and the other represents black. If we click on any part of that line and drag it up or down we will begin to alter the tones in our image. For example, if we push the line upwards we will lighten the chosen selected area and if we pull the line downwards we will darken the area we have selected. If we make an 'S' shape we will increase contrast and if we make a reverse 'S' shape we will lower contrast in the rocks of this example. With these simple controls we can do all that we ever did in the darkroom and we have an amazing amount of flexibility to explore all the tones in our black and white photographs. All that remains is to try this technique out as often as you can whilst altering the feather of the section according to the portion of the image you are intending to alter. If this process is followed you can, with a little practice, have a finished image whereby the tonal adjustments you have made, are not obvious, but the image has come to life during the process.

Advanced Settings
Monochrome specialists have always toned their prints to create subtle colour undertones to their prints. The Advanced print dialogue panel contains a colour wheel and alongside this are input boxes for 'Horizontal' and 'Vertical' values. These shift the base tone of the image. The ABW driver eliminates full cyan and full magenta inks from the printing mix but allows the use of yellow, light magenta and light cyan so that subtle tones can be created. This tool is subtle to use; a shift of 10 points Horizontal or Vertical creates a just detectable change in print tone so use at least five points when adjusting. Mike McNamee has created a ring-around image of the settings using values of 20 and 50 points around the colour wheel as a guide.

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1st Published 01/02/2016
last update 25/03/2020 12:33:21

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Updated 25/03/2020 12:33:21 Last Modified: Wednesday, 25 March 2020