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Selenium Toning B&W images


raven4ns

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Hello,
Are there any members that tone B&W images? In particular, I am looking for photographers that use a selenium tone that leaves a subtle purplish tone in the same manner that Ansel Adams used. He used a wet lab but I'm hoping to accomplish something similar using PS. A selenium tone increased the density of the blacks but also increased the richness of the mid-tones while leaving the highlights basically alone. I will deviate somewhat from his method by turning the highlights to a slight off-white to reduce their impact on the overall image.
If anyone has experience in this kind of toning please contact me. I would very much enjoy seeing some of your work plus ask some questions about how you accomplished it. Thank you.
 

Mogsy

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Ah this take me back to photography lesson in college where we done exactly the same in a wet darkroom!

I don't have access to PS at the moment, Im sure I tried this a while back and used a couple of photo filter adj layers (1 purple 1 slight hint of brown.) with opacity reduced to taste to achieve the desired effect. Also with a few usual adjustments to contrast/levels etc as well.
 

Mogsy

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Actually scratch that, I've just tried it and it didn't give the desired effect as of course photo filter affected the whole image, below example using a colour balance adjustment layer just affecting the shadows/midtones.

D.jpg
 

raven4ns

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Thank you, Mogsy, for your response. I was trying to accomplish the selenium tone using Paintshop Pro but couldn't because my computer skills are so weak. Years ago, I was trying to get the tone using duotones but health issues prevented me from continuing. It wasn't too bad but it still wasn't what I wanted.
At that time PS had preset duotones one of which was a purple. The purple had a nice effect but I needed to effect the selenium tone on the blacks and mid tones while leaving the highlights alone. The highlights I wanted to make them a subtle off-white to reduce their impact a bit on the overall image. By working on the blacks , and the midtones separately I felt it would give me the look I was after. That look was dense blacks and richer midtones similar to an Ansel Adams selenium print. I love the richness of a selenium B&W image. Whether I will be able to capture this look or not is problematic.
Your image of the woman and child is very close. Once i get PS installed would you mind sending me the recipe on how you did that, please? At least it would give me a close point to start from. Thank you again for your post, I appreciate it very much.
 

Mogsy

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I seem to recall PS having a preset filter called selenium? I don't know though, I may be completely wrong here, maybe I'm getting mixed up with sepia!

Of course see below screenshots of settings used for this, definitely a tweak here and there and you should come up with what you are looking for.
SS.jpg

I thought I would try this again and push it a bit more on one of my seascape images, I do think with this processing though less is definitely more although as always this will come down to personal taste.

SB1.jpg

No problem at all, good luck and be sure to post the finished result and let us know how you get on.

Cheers
 

raven4ns

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Hi Mogsy,
I agree, less is more, which is what I found as well. Thank you for your kindness, I appreciate it very much. At the bottom of my signature is an address to a few of my images, if you scroll down you will see an image of twisted metal and a piece of rope(the last image I think). This is as far as I got with my toning using duotones but as you can see it is too heavy handed. The purple needed to be more subtle and restricted to the blacks and midtones. Your image is much better, more subtle and restricted to the two areas I mentioned. With the highlights being an off white this should focus attention to the midtones and to a lesser extent the blacks.
If I can achieve the look I am striving for I will be very pleased. As an amateur I only have to please myself, thank goodness...lol. Mogsy, you have been very helpful and I sincerely thank you. This will help a great deal to give me a running start compared to what I thought I was facing.
 

thebestcpu

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Hi raven4ns
You can easily get B&W toning using a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer.

Here is a link that gives the details on the approach and also how to customize the gradient to achieve what you desire. The link does mention selenium yet I don't think it is necessarily what you want since you don't want as much in the highlights yet I think it would be an excellent starting point. Hope this helps

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/how-to/enhance-photos-photographic-toning-presets.html

John Wheeler
 

raven4ns

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Thank you very much, Mr.Wheeler, I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my post. With the kindness shown me by fellow members, I am hopeful to be able to achieve my goal of a quality selenium print. I love the look of a well done B&W that has that toning. It's the richness of the print that takes my breath away and has had me saying "I wished I could do that", now maybe I can!
If possible, I think I will need to work on the blacks, midtones and highlights separately. As long as the blacks are dense there won't be much to do with them and the purple hue will look after that. The mid tones need to be rich looking and l'm not quite sure how to achieve that while the highlights need a subtle shift to an off-white to reduce their impact on the overall image. I am excited by the possibility of actually creating a decent selenium. Once I am happy with the end result I intend to have them printed and hung in my home. Thank you again for your kindness.

Tim
 

thebestcpu

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HI raven4ns

You're more than welcome.

As posted by many contributors to this thread, there are many approaches to achieve your goal and with a little experimentation I bet you find an approach what works well for your needs.
Enjoy

John Wheeler
 

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