Colours into tones 2

In the second part of this exercise I needed to take a portrait image, convert to black and white and then lighten the skin tone without changing the rest of the image’s tone too noticeably. The image I have chosen shows a multitude of colours and this may have been easier to do with a portrait that was less colourful. Of course, this is part of the learning process, in which I need to learn to read the colour and tone in order of the scene to get the best image for conversion to black and white. The image was captured in the RAW format.

Colour original

The colour photograph shows the initial colouring to give an idea of what colours would be changing once they were treated. I then converted the colour image into standard black and white as in the previous exercise.

Standard black and white conversion Lightened version

Standard black and white conversion                                                                          Lightened version with annotation

This gave a smooth combination of tones, the face and hands being pale but with detail. I now needed to adjust the colour channels to lighten the complexion. The channels that I found worked best for the change of the tone of the skin were the red and yellow channels, these being the colours closest to the skin-tone and lighting for the portrait. This meant that the green channel could go untouched leaving the bulk of colour into tone untouched. The final image, at first glance, looks quite similar to the first with the noticeable exception of the face and hands. However, I can see several areas that have also changed and have highlighted them in the image. In the main it is the red channel which has changed the background somewhat.  The pink detail over the right hand shoulder of the subject has blended in to the background. The red Chinese characters over the other shoulder have also lightened (as in the umbrella in the first exercise) and are now inverse to the background. The effect is quite subtle but at the same time can make a vast difference to the reading of the final image. The subject now looks rather anaemic and frail and the detail has been lost from the face making her seem quite ghostly.


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