Topaz Labs B&W Effects Plugin Tutorial


Black and White images have long been regarded as being a higher form of photography and an art unto itself. Part of that was that it once required a lot of darkroom work to get it right and secondly, you had to find a subject that worked as a black and white image. The second part of that is still true, but with technology today like Topaz Labs B&W Effects plugin, the first part is easy! It also let’s you play with an image to see whether or not it works in B&W. Topaz Labs newest update to their B&W filter has some great new features and the one I am going to be using a lot is the “Apply” button, which let’s you make the change without having to leave. This really makes it quick to add multiple effects. When I was looking at my images I found there were 3 distinct styles of images that I was converting. I found storms, graphical and problem pictures to be the most common for me. Well of course the occasional portrait…

Stormy Weather – Converted

For this image of storm clouds in Glacier Park, I wanted to add more drama to the mostly black and white image.
Storm over Glacier park photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Original Image

The first step was to simply use the Classic preset in the Traditional Collection.
Storm over Glacier park photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Topa Labs B&W “Classic” Filter Applied

The next step was to go the adjustment panel on the right and under Conversion I added a Color Filter. This gave me a bit of darkening in the trees and I found it to give the image more punch…
Storm over Glacier park photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Color Filter Applied

Color Filter Settings

Color Filter Settings

The last change I made in the B&W Effects plugin was under Finishing Touches, I gave the image a small vignette. I find the starting to point to always be too strong and so I used the slider to make the effect more subtle.
Storm over Glacier park photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Vignette Applied

Vignette Settings

Vignette Settings

After all of the processing, I wanted to take some of the grain out and I used Topaz Labs DeNoise 5 on the Moderate JPG setting. My last step in the process once I am happy with the results, I sign it…
Storm over Glacier park photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Cleaned up and Signed!

Here are couple more quick before and after images that I made with Topaz Labs B&W effects.

Graphic Image – Converted

As I said images with strong graphic elements make fun projects for conversion. Here is an old iron wagon wheel that I converted.
Iron Wheel and Red Barn photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Iron Wheel and Red Barn

Iron Wheel and Red Barn photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Converted with Topaz Lab B&W Effects

Toned Collection>Sepia II followed by Finishing Touches>Vignette

Problem Picture – Converted

I always loved this image from one of my earliest trips to Africa. It’s an old jpg that was pretty far under exposed and with modern software, I can do quite a bit more with it now. I wanted to make a kind of old time image that had some arty flair.
Hunting Cheetah photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Hunting Cheetah

Hunting Cheetah photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Converted with Topaz Lab B&W Effects

Van Dyke Brown Collection>Raw Umber then Creative Effects>Simplify and Finishing Touches>Vignette

Portrait – Converted

And finally here is a portrait that I converted with Topaz Labs. I used both the Adjust and the B&W Effects plugins and since I also PhotoFX Labs this is super easy…
Portrait of Tanya photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Portrait of Tanya

Portrait of Tanya Bible photographed by Jeff Wendorff

Converted with Topaz Lab B&W Effects

 Adjust>Stylized>Portrait Smooth and then B&W Effects>Traditional>Cool Tone Smooth

I hope this inspires you make some old images new again by re-processing them with Topaz Labs plugins. The one last bit of advice…don’t forget to play with the filters and effects. You’ll be surprised what you can do with a little effort and a lot of play!

Topaz Labs

Go and check out all of the Topaz Labs plugins…HERE. Learn more about the Topaz Labs B&W Effects filter…HERE. And since you have been so patient and read all of this stuff and looked at all of those pictures you can save 15% on your purchase at Topaz Labs with the code – JEFF15  

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