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Setting Black Point: tone and color



  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    As far as I know all you are setting is the black point. However, if all 3 RGB channels are at 0 there cannot be any color cast in the pure black. The rest of the image is a different matter.

  • Myrna Walsh

    Thanks, Brian.  What's the best way to set the black point? I've used the black slider in Tone and pressing J to watch where it just appears.  Also Effects>Curves. Haven't seen an eyedropper to do it automatically, but could have missed it. An eyedropper in Tone would be useful, like the one just below to remove color cast (white balance).  Many photographers start off by setting the black point--to give their photos drama and the colors, a richness. 

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    No, there aren't any eyedroppers for setting black or white points ala Adobe products. All we have are the tools you've mentioned.

    I start off with setting black & white points also. How I do it depends upon what the photo needs. Curves are a very powerful tool but they take practice to get control over them.

    Blending modes can also be a useful tool. For my landscapes I have a preset with 2 Local Adjustments with Luminosity masks, one inverted, to control the upper end separately from the bottom end. I also have 2 Tone Enhances with the same Luminosity Masks and their Blending Modes set to Soft Light. That adds a lot of contrast and saturation. I use the Local Adjustments to set black & white points and control what the blending modes did. I can also control the color Temperature and Tint of the shadows separately from the highlights. Oh yeah, I also set the Camera Profile to Camera RAW so highlights aren't automatically blown out.

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    I just started on this shot with that profile I described.

  • Myrna Walsh

    Gorgeous photo.  Especially the color colors on the hills/mountains and the sun's glow in the clouds.  This must be close to what you originally saw.  Where was it taken?

    If I follow correctly:

    1.You set Camera Profile to Camera Raw

    2. Create preset:

        a. Create two luminosity masks (top, bottom)

         b. Blend to Soft Light (for contrast and sat)

    Using the presets,  use Local Adj to set b/w points (and I assume the cont/sat.) Are you using the Tone sliders? This is the step that customizes for the particular image?

    I'm assuming you're not creating another Luminosity Mask to control Temp and Tint?  But doing that in Local Adjustments for each mask.

    Why did you choose not to use split toning? Or Color Balance which has  "tri-toning."? 

    Very interesting choices!

  • David Kick

    Myrna, you mention color cast several times.

    There is the Gray Dropper in Tone and Color to be used for this. From the User Guide: " Gray Dropper: Used to remove a color cast of an image. Click the icon to activate, then click on an area in the image that should be gray"

    If you can't find a gray are you might try an area that should be white and see if the result is satisfactory.

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    My Preset does the following:

    1. Sets Camera Profile to Linear RAW
    2. Adds 2 Tone Enhancer Effects. Both have luminosity masks, 1 inverted, and both are set to Soft Light Blending mode. This adds the contrast and saturation. I could do it in one effect, without any masking but having them separated gives me the ability to manage shadows separately from highlights if needed.
    3. Adds a Sunshine Effect.
    4. Adds 2 Local Adjustments, both with luminosity masks, 1 inverted. These are my primary controls for managing the effects of the soft light blending mode used in the Effects layers which are above Local Adjustments in the processing stack. The tone enhancer effects offer further, more subtle, fine grained control.

    Yes, I use the Local Adjustments tone sliders for setting the black & white points or I may add a Curves effect to handle it. It depends upon how dark the image is to start with. I set the black point with the Shadows adjustment and the white point with the Highlights layer. I can adjust the midpoints of the luminosity masks to control how much blending I get between the 2 layers. I can brighten shadows with the Shadows White slider without affecting the already bright sky or highlights on the mountain tops. I also use the controls in the Develop panel's Tone & Color. It all depends upon whether I want to make a global adjustment (Develop) or limit to a shadow or highlight tonal range (Local Adjustments).

    Yes, I am controlling Temp & Tint with the Local Adjustments and the luminosity masks I already have. There are also the Curves in the Tone Enhancer Effects layers if needed.

    I've never gotten a good handle on the Split Toning effect and I get what I need from my method. It's just personal preference.

    The preset is just a starting point to set the base look for the photo. More filters and masks will be added as needed for further processing. Here is what the finished image looks like after the above was sent to Topaz DeNoise AI. This one didn't take too much more work.


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