One of my favorite features in the new Topaz B&W Effects is the integration of Topaz Adjust’s Adaptive Exposure, which I’m sure you’ll agree helps add a whole new dynamic to black and white enhancement. Now, for those that may be new to Topaz, Adaptive Exposure allows to you add more localized contrast to your image. The tools included in Adaptive Exposure make it easy to enhance texture, detail and depth throughout your image – great for brining flat images to life!
Now, seasoned Adjust users may already know that working with Adaptive Exposure requires balance. Over-applying settings will often enhance any existing flaws or artifacts in the image and can also introduce new noise and unwanted artifacts. These side effects can include noise, halos, grain, grittiness, splotchiness and a grungy type of effect. While grunge can often be a neat effect to have it (at certain times) is also good to know how to avoid it.
So here are my top 3 tips to help you avoid these unwanted side effects during your B&W Effects workflow – while still producing awesome images!
1. Always, start with a clean image. Eliminating any existing noise or artifacts from your image will help reduce the presence of noise later on in your workflow and will produce better final results. So, be sure to process your image through DeNoise or your other noise reduction program before getting started.
2. Parameter Balance + PDI. Delicate balance of Adaptive Exposure and Regions is key to getting a great look, so be sure to adjust both of these sliders incrementally to produce the best results. A significantly high value for both of these sliders (adaptive exposure and regions) can produce grungy and harsher-looking effects in your image. PDI (short for process details independently) is option that I almost always use when I process images in B&W Effects and Adjust. This handy option (located at the bottom of the Adaptive Exposure tab) processes your exposure and detail adjustments separately.
Enabling the PDI will still give you that instant pop in detail, depth and exposure, but it will also help eliminate these grungy effects and render smoother effects…especially in areas like sky and water. By default it is enabled, but you can also disable it anytime by unchecking the check box. However, if you are wanting to create a gritty, grunge type of look then enable this option.
3.It’s all in the details. Powerful detail enhancement tools have also been included in B&W Effects’ Adaptive Exposure tab. The Detail Boost slider should always be used in moderation. The default value for this parameter is 1.00….I’ve found during my workflow that I rarely go over 1.25 Over-applying this parameter can often create noise and other undesired effects. Also, don’t be afraid reduce this parameter to eliminate smaller details – for a smoother look.