Category Archives: Workflow

Another Example of False Infrared Colour

GX1 Infrared image converted with a red blue channel swap to create a false colour
GX1 Infrared image converted with a red blue channel swap to create a false colour

In my last post I shared an example of the false infrared colour technique and explained how it was achieved. I also confessed that in general I don’t like the effect, although in some cases it does work well. I thought it would be good to share another example that I think works reasonably well (although not as well as the previous post)  although I will admit that I still prefer the traditional black and white conversion.

This example is a little more stylised than the previous image and was created by first converting the image to colour before applying a Fuji Provia Slide Film simulation in Exposure 6. This was then further edited with a boost to the Vibrancy slider and a negative Clarity to give the soft effect. My reasoning for these adjustments was to prepare the image for conversion to black and white but I found I quite liked the colour image.

When converting the images with the Channel Mixer it can seem a bit hit and miss. It appears to help if you have both sky and foliage in the image. With a Red/Blue channel swap such as shown here the sky will turn blue and the foliage will go red. Most other areas (in landscapes) tend not to be affected.

You can improve the results by picking a white balance point during RAW conversion which causes the foliage to take on a blue tint. Typically this will leave the sky with some red tint and when the channel swap is made with the channel mixer the red tint in the sky turns blue and the blue tint of the foliage turns red.

Also try to avoid images which have been shot in the shade (such as tree lined country lanes) as you won’t get such a good effect. You really need direct and strong sun to make this work well.

Hope this helps anyone who is also struggling with Infrared false colour.

Infrared conversion from my GX1 Infrared camera
Infrared conversion from my GX1 Infrared camera

Olympus OMD EM5 Colour Profile

Captured on an Olympus EM5, converted in Lightroom using new color profile and tweaked in Nik Viveza
Captured on an Olympus EM5, converted in Lightroom using new color profile and tweaked in Nik Viveza

I admit that it’s been a while coming but I have finally managed to shoot the XRite ColorPassport in suitable lighting conditions to generate a profile for the Olympus EM5. To be honest, I didn’t expect the new profile to achieve much as the EM5 produces good colours already and in any event, Lightroom includes a few alternate profiles. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I generated this profile and tried it out in Lightroom. The images are noticeably stronger and more natural than using the Adobe Standard profile. I also like the new profile more than the other options that now come with Lightroom for this camera.

If anyone uses Lightroom and an Olympus EM5 (shooting in RAW format) then you can download the colour profile for free from my Lenscraft web site.

How did it look at the start?

An interesting conversion using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2
An interesting conversion using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

After I posted this black and white image taken from near the summit of Great Gable in the English Lake District a number of you wanted to know what the starting image looked like. Well here is it.


Starting image prior to processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2
Starting image prior to processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

Looks great eh and you can immediately see how I turned it into the finished version above (only joking). If you can’t and want to know how I achieved the conversion, take yourself over to my Lenscraft website and register as a member – don’t worry it’s free. This entire conversion will be detailed in Summer 14 newsletter which I will be publishing shortly. Members receive an email notification when the newsletters published. You can also be sure that I won’t spam you as I HATE spam email.

Friday Image Tutorial

GX1 Infrared image
GX1 Infrared image

The tutorial describing how I created an A2 version of the Friday image is now live on Lenscraft. You can download it using this link

There is quite a useful technique described of how to create an edge mask to prevent noise reduction damaging edges.

I hope you enjoy.

Friday Image Step by Step

Step by Step Friday Image
Step by Step Friday Image

I had a request over the weekend to provide further details about how I did the Silver Efex conversion for the Friday 003 image. So here is a high level breakdown of the work.

Step 1 – Start with the end in mind

This involved looking at the image and understanding how I wanted it to look when finished. I won’t go into too much detail here as you can see the finished conversion so you know what I had in mind. I will point out though that I sometimes make notes and rough drawings to help develop an idea before I jump in with the processing.

Step 2 – Create the base image

This involves making adjustments in Lightroom or whatever RAW converter you have to produce the best quality starting image. Quite often this involves contrast and colour adjustments that will help the ultimate conversion to B&W. For example by making all the colours stronger I can separate them better when I convert the image to black and white. You can see the starting image below.

Friday 003 - Step 1

Step 3 – Clean up

Here I removed the red boat on the right side as it was distracting. I then applied Nik Dfine to remove any noise in the image followed by Nik RAW sharpener. This produced the starting image for the conversion which you can see below.

Friday 003 - Step 2

Step 4 – Nik Silver Efex Conversion

I start with the Neutral preset as I know what my finished image should look like and I also understand how to create this. Sometimes it can help to review the presets if you aren’t sure what you want to do.

First I apply a Yellow filter to help darken the sky and lighten the ground slightly. I also increase the filter strength to 100% from the default 50%. It’s then time to emphasise this effect even further using the Soft Contrast slider and a setting of -40%. You can see the result below.

Friday 003 - Step 3

This has achieved a good balance between the foreground and the sky but overall the image is too light. I use the Dynamic Brightness slider at -50% and the Amplify Black slider at +20% to address this. The result is shown below.

Friday 003 - Step 4

Next step is to make the sky more dramatic so I make a selection with a group of control points. I then increase the Structure and Amplify Black sliders to +20%. The result is shown below.

Friday 003 - Step 5

Next I add a curves adjustment to darken the lower 2/3 of the tonal curve. The resulting image is shown below.

Friday 003 - Step 6

My final step in Silver Efex is to add in some grain. I gave up with the grain sliders at one time but recently they have been improved and are now quite good. I use a grain setting of 400 which is quite fine. I used to shoot using Kodak TMax so quite like the fine grained films.

Step 5 – Dodge and Burn

In the previous version of the image I used Nik Analogue Efex to add a vignette and film boarder (admittedly it was a slide film boarder but I liked it). In this version I dodge and burn in Photoshop to produce the image at the very start of this post. I also tweaked the contrast further using another filter called Contrast Master from PhotoWiz. I made these final changes differently because I took more time over the edit, deciding I wanted to make an A3+ print of the finished image.

I hope people find this helpful. If you want to know more about Nik Silver Efex or Photoshop, I will make a quick plug for my books which you can find on Amazon. There are further details of these in the blog menu for anyone who is interested.

New Image Factsheet for Download

Want to know more about how this image was produced, then download the free Image Factsheet
Want to know more about how this image was produced, then download the free Image Factsheet

I’m sure some of the regular readers will recognise the image above as I have posted it in the past. My reason for posting it again here is to let you know that the image processing fact sheet to accompany this is now available for free download from the Lenscraft website.

Download Image Factsheet Now

The factsheet explains a little about how the image was captured and then describes the post processing techniques I used to produce the final version above. If you want to see the starting image, it’s also in the factsheet.

I hope you enjoy.

Image Fact Sheet Launched

Captured on an Olympus OMD with 14-45mm Panasonic lens. Converted to Black and White using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2
Captured on an Olympus OMD with 14-45mm Panasonic lens. Converted to Black and White using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

Something I said that I would do a few weeks back was to explain more about how I created this image, as well as explain some of the creative decisions I made. Well, I have put all the information into a new Image Fact Sheet, which you can download for free from my Lenscraft website. You don’t even need to sign up as a member (although it would be great if you did – membership always has been and will be free).

I hope you find the new fact sheet useful. I plan to publish more of these in the future and will announce them here when I do.

Have a good weekend everyone.