Filter Friday – Infrared
I love shooting with an infrared converted camera. It creates wonderfully dramatic landscapes. If you want the dramatic infrared look with the white foliage and dark skies, you must use a converted infrared camera. Unfortunately the infrared files that come out of a converted camera have mostly red tones. To get the great black and white infrared look, you need to convert it. Desaturation can be done in your raw conversion, but usually it does not have the control I strive for, containing great detail, film grain and contrast.
Instead of using the raw conversion, I choose to convert my images using Silver Efex Pro 2. This program gives me lots of great choices for my conversion. To make it easier to work on my infrared images, I have created a custom preset for Silver Efex Pro 2. This custom preset has the contrast, brightness and detail needed for an infrared file. The custom preset also emulates the film grain normally found in infrared film.
Below is a regular infrared file before using Silver Efex Pro 2 and my Custom preset.
First, go to the internet before opening Silver Efex Pro 2, to download the new custom preset that I created for infrared conversions. Click on this link to download: http://www.niksoftware.com/addons/index.php#/janice-s-infrared/0/11/new-to-old/0/0/page:1. Then click on Download.
Open the file you plan on using in Photoshop or Lightroom.
After downloading the preset, open Silver Efex Pro 2. Go to the upper left hand corner of the interface and click on the Show Preset Browser button (1). Then click on the Custom button (2).
The final step to importing the preset called Janice’s Infrared is to click on the Import button found at the bottom of the Preset panel (3). Go to your download and click on janice-s-infrared.np. Click Open and the preset will load into Silver Efex Pro 2 under Imported Presets, (4). You will find that the Janice’s Infrared preset is now in your imported presets list. Click on this preset, (4), and it will apply the Preset to the image.
From there I can make changes to enhance the image using Control Points as needed. On this image, the central ball court got lost with similar tones, so I darkened it using a Control Point on the raised bed. I also kept the trees from being affected by placing Control Points on the trees without adjusting them. These Control Points, called Constricting Control Points, anchor the trees so they will not change.
As a personal touch, my preset has a nice rich warm tone on the image. I use it to give the image character, which is derived from the stones that I saw while photographing at Uxmal.
If you would prefer a pure black and white image, just click on the check mark next to Finishing Adjustments. This will turn off the toner and leave the image black and white.
Creating a Soft Glow
Infrared also has a unique look that is soft and glowing. To achieve this, I go to Color Efex Pro 4 and use the Classical Soft Focus filter, (5). I will set this filter at the following settings (6):
- Method Soft Focus Method #1, (default setting)
- Diffused Detail 0%, (default setting)
- Strength 76%
- Brightness -100%
Save this as a new Recipe if you would like to use it again on future infrared images. I call my recipe Infrared Soft, so that I can just click on it and instantly have the right settings. To make this more dynamic, I place one Minus Control Point in the deepest shadows of the building in the lower left hand corner, and then place a Plus Control Point in the lightest part of the trees, (7). This gives a glow to the whites while keeping detail in the dark areas of the image.
After Filters are applied.
Share an image on Google+ and tell us what filters you used, either a digital or glass filter or both, and tag your image #filterfriday curated by +Laurie Rubin. We’d love to see how filters have helped to enhance your images!