a geeky Photoshop receipe

These old photographs from the 1930's-40's were of fairly low contrast. I decided I wanted a rich tonal range from sumptuous deep blacks to clear bright whites. Rather than just use the contrast adjustment in Photoshop, the following technique gave me the results I was looking for. 1 The original low contrast scan. Despite the strong sun light and deep shadows, there is plenty of information within the image. Two duplicates were made of the picture within Photoshop.
2 One of the copies was converted from greyscale to RGB. Its colour balance was then adjusted to produce a sepia effect using values of +5, -13, -67 for the shadows, +25, +5, -25 for the mid tones and +43, +17, -28 for the highlights.
  3 The 2nd copy of the image was adjusted using the contrast and brightness controls to drop out most of the information in the brighter areas while darkening some of the shadows to pure black. This produced a high contrast image. It was then converted to RGB.
  4 The high-contrast image was copied and pasted over the top of the sepia one generating a new layer. On this black and white layer I chose the 'Color Burn' method of mixing the two images with an opacity setting of between 10-15%. This had the effect of deepening the blacks without losing any detail in the lighter areas of the picture, which would have occurred with a simple contrast adjustment.
      _return to old Bali or...
© david.atkinson@rmit.edu.au
6 september 1998