Saturday, 21 May 2011

Colour: Project - Colour relationships

Exercise: Colours into tones in black and white

Aim: The aim of this exercise is to show how black and white tones can be controlled by the use of coloured filters.

Approach and results:

I chose to use jpeg images in Photoshop so that I could alter the colour sliders or select the preset filter options.  Having ‘played’ with the sliders I then chose to use the set filters for the exercise as these presumably represent existing filter standards?  It is interesting to note that in replicating the filters, Photoshop did not just boost the chosen colour.  Taking blue as an example, reds, greens and yellows were reduced whilst cyans, blues and magentas were raised.  I expected some levels to be reduced in compensation but wasn’t sure which ones.  It would be an interesting comparison to do the exercise with the camera set to black and white with coloured filters on it.

I spot metered on the grey card and lit the still life with a single wireless flash and softbox.  As this was a technical exercise I didn’t spend too much time on composition, choosing to concentrate on the colour.  However, I chose flash as my test shots using daylight were dull, rather flat and unevenly lit.  Flash gave even lighting, vivid colour and depth.

The web images below are not entirely representative of the results.  They are all darker than the originals.  This is something I find continually when using the blogging software.

The most dramatic effect was made using the blue filter.  Applying the blue filter made the blue towel much brighter but turned everything else almost black.  I'm assuming the reason for this is that there is no blue in any of the other objects.  The other filters are not as dramatic because the objects contain a range of overlapping colours and shades.  There was very little difference between the red and yellow filters.  Yellow made the red pepper and the flowers slightly brighter than the red filter.  The green filter brought the brightness of the green pepper closer to that of the red pepper giving it equal emphasis in the frame.

Altering colours using Photoshop in the past I have found any particular colour can have a range of other colours that are not obviously visible.  For example there is usually a lot of yellow in a green landscape so adjusting green does not have as dramatic an effect as adjusting yellow.

The grey card remained consistant except for the blue filter.  There is an element of blue making up the grey in the image.  I zoomed in to pixel level on the grey card and there are faint hints of blue that will have been affected by the filter.



Blue filter

Green filter

Red filter

Yellow filter

Learning points:
It was useful to note what changes Photoshop used as defaults for different filters.
It was also useful to learn how I could control the tones of any of the colours in the image altering the viewers focus on the different objects in the frame.
You can narrow the bands of colour controlled by the sliders in Photoshop if you wish to be very specific e.g. raising the orange slider can affect the red and yellow depending on how close they are to the orange.

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