B&W Artisan Pro X
THERE’S A METHOD TO THE MADNESS – AND WE’VE AUTOMATED IT IN A B&W EDITING PANEL
Most photo editing software are a huge collection of features to choose from to edit your photos. Whether this is color editing, B&W editing, advanced editing or quick basic editing, it is the same large collection of tools that aren’t always the right tools for the right task with an unnecessary steeper learning curve. Then there are software plugins that can be used in Photoshop to give you even more features or simplify basic tasks.
We do it differently.
We create photo editing software for Photoshop (panels or plugins) that are unlike anything you’ve seen before. B&W Artisan Pro X is a start to finish tool that is designed to enable a proven method for B&W processing. A proven method, around which the panel has been designed and that guides the user throughout the process of creating high quality B&W images using presets that often replace dozens of technical sequences in Photoshop. The result is a personal and unique expression of the artist. Not a generic look or style.
[…]Panel X is a tour de force. Though I did not truly understand the sculpting parts of it until last nights session, you have created something that over the years I have had to do by hand with subtle D and B techniques […] Robert Clark
CREATING FINE-ART – A JOURNEY NOT A DESTINATION
For the demanding and serious B&W photographer, the ability of unrestricted personal and unique expression and high-quality B&W output, are the most important requirements in the artistic process. At the same time, many artists prefer to avoid the steep technical learning curve in PS in favor of the true artistic process. For those artists, we’ve developed B&W Artisan Pro X, that virtually eliminates the need for technical PS knowledge but not at the expense of spontaneous and intuitive creative expression.
Each step in B&W Artisan Pro X requires your individual, artistic input that contributes to a unique and personal end-result. It’s the effort, the dedication, perspiration, inspiration, and craftsmanship that goes into creating art that makes it a profound and highly valuable experience. Instant filters for a quick but mainstream result, deny all the important parts of artistic creation that make the creation an individual creation. They deny the personal journey and your individuality as an artist.
A PROVEN METHOD FOR AWARD-WINNING B&W PHOTOGRAPHERS
The last few years, there’s increasing popularity and appreciation of high impact B&W photos that depict a combination of high contrasts with deep blacks and high whites, and distinctive 3-dimensional depth perception in fine-art architectural photography. Here’s where it all started in 2010 when I published an image of The Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA that was different in 2 important ways:
1. Visually: the exaggerated, sometimes deliberately distorted 3-D depth perception and tonal relationships in, mostly architectural, manmade objects and the abundant and deliberate use of shadows to eliminate distractions and create a dark atmosphere with the eye being led to a distinctive bright high-light in the object
2. Workflow method: the approach was based on a transparent and structured method of B&W processing that I called iSGM that made B&W processing easy to learn and gave the user absolute and accurate control over shapes, light, and contrast in B&W.
Salk Institute 2010 (c) Joel Tjintjelaar – The image that became the blueprint and was at the inception of a visual style of fine-art architectural photography that has been widely adopted these days, together with the structured method of B&W post-processing that is used to create these images.
Both visual style and method have been adopted by thousands of photographers over the years, many of them becoming award-winning artists themselves, often learning the method and idea behind it from my workshops, videos or the eBook From Basics to Fine-art that I co-authored with Julia Anna Gospodarou, who was another seminal artist behind the increased popularity and the evolution of this style of photography and who developed her own method of B&W processing. Even though not everyone adopted our methods to come to the same results, it cannot be denied that they enabled and inspired a generation of digital B&W photographers to develop similar photographs and methods of their own. Methods that are essentially variations on the manual method that laid the foundation for the B&W Artisan Pro X panel.
B&W Artisan Pro X is not only the automated version of this method of B&W processing, to make it a more artistic and less technical process, but also a new step towards the liberation of artistic expression freed from the tyranny of technical prowess that has become too prevalent in photography. There’s always a method to the madness, even in art.
THE SERIES OF IMAGES THAT WERE AT THE INCEPTION OF THE VISUAL STYLE CREATED WITH THE MANUAL METHOD OF B&W PROCESSING
HOW IT WORKS – AN ARTISTIC APPROACH, NOT A TECHNICAL APPROACH
There are only a few basic functions and steps you need to create beautiful and artistic B&W photographs:
First make mental or physical notes what to darken or lighten, what to increase or decrease in contrast and detail and where to create the correct depth. And this is exactly what you do in the panel. See the Figure-Contrast-Depth infographic image below or see the Youtube video tutorials.
- Convert from color to B&W, by choosing the desired preset: neutral or more advanced or skip this and do it in color
- Darken or lighten areas, with D (darken) or L (Lighten) presets, varying from soft (D+ or L+) to strong (D+++ or L+++) darkening/lightening, within a target area indicated with a freeform quick selection. At the same time, Artisan Pro X automatically takes care it blends in subtly with the surrounding area
- Increase or decrease contrast and detail the same way as darkening or lightening areas you’ve indicated with a freeform rough selection.
- Create depth and create subtle transitions from Dark to Light or vice versa to create and enhance the perception of depth in a photo. This is done just by choosing a direction of light to dark transitioning and then darken or lighten with D or L presets.
Intuitive B&W Editing Panel
An intuitive B&W editing panel, developed by award-winning photographer and educator Joel Tjintjelaar.
Advanced B&W Processing Without technical knowledge
No need to acquire technical knowledge and years of practice in PS. This panel unlocks Joel’s advanced B&W techniques, from his iSGM method, with the single click of a button, sometimes triggering over 100 steps in PS. The artist retains full artistic control as the presets don’t have an ‘artistic effect’, but only cover the technical part of adjustments.
Create Depth & Special Effects *NEW*
Easily add 3D depth and presence to buildings, skies, seascapes or any other object using the built-in dynamic gradients. Or add reflections or streaks of clouds to your images using the Special FX menu. With 200 new built-in functions, and with the highly customizable Special FX, anything is possible.
Powerful Local Adjustment features
24 presets – Precise and fast local lightening/darkening, using automatic variable feathering (NEW with X), are enabled by quick, free-form selections with a lasso tool, and then clicking darken/lighten for subtle and seamless adjustments
Advanced Micro Zone Local Adjustments
154 presets – For advanced local contrast/texture adjustments, the Micro-Zone adjustments only affect the tones in the range you’ve selected within the target area using 16 bits advanced custom-built asymmetrical masks and dynamic feathering.
Mask Optimization Feature
The panel has an automatic mask optimization feature that will reduce fringing and halos substantially.
10 B&W conversion presets and 4 *NEW* random B&W generator presets
10 B&W conversion presets, from neutral to advanced fine-art presets that trigger over 200 signature steps in PS. Or use one of four random generator presets to give your images a unique look each and every time, or just to gain some inspiration.
22 Toning Buttons and 4 *NEW* random toning generator presets
22 single and split-tones based on Joel’s advanced toning method for unmatched subtlety. Or try out one of two new generator-presets to have a different random look. Also useful to color grade color images and acquire a cinematic look.
35 Luminosity Masks + 31 micro zone masks *NEW*
35 luminosity masks and 31 custom built zone masks covering the 11 tonal zones for far more isolation than regular zone masks. All in 16 bits.
B&W EDITING SOFTWARE BY B&W ARTISTS FOR B&W ARTISTS
B&W Artisan Pro X is the latest evolution of the B&W Artisan Pro software panels and is a panel for Photoshop for pure and unrestricted B&W editing. It is software designed by a B&W fine-art photographer, educator and highly praised expert on B&W photography, for other B&W fine-art photographers who need powerful but easy to use tools to support and express their artistic vision without any technical restrictions. The panel is designed for both beginners and experienced professionals in B&W photography.
THE iSGM METHOD FOR SOPHISTICATED DIGITAL B&W EDITING COMPLETELY AUTOMATED
With this version X, Joel Tjintjelaar, the designer and internationally acclaimed photographer and educator, states that he has finally succeeded in automating his entire manual workflow, iSGM, into this software. A manual workflow that was developed by Joel in 2010 with the objective to completely control an image and create atmospheric and dimensional depth and has been adopted by thousands of B&W photographers ever since. Many of them have now become award-winning photographers and B&W instructors themselves. Now anyone can create the typical B&W photos that Joel is known for and have been emulated by many, with just a bit of practice with the panel. Your imagination is the only limitation.
THE POWER OF X
With the introduction of version X, the importance of steps/features has changed significantly, compared to all previous versions. The now by far most important feature since version X are the ‘Creating depth’, ‘Special FX’ and ‘Restore’ features that unleash the power, speed, efficiency, and subtlety of linear and reflected gradients, applied in a dynamic way, and always relative to the size and position of the selected part it is applied to. What was previously considered the most important features, Advanced Adjustments, and MicroZone adjustments, are now only secondary features, intended for fine-tuning tonality and contrasts
NEW DYNAMIC GRADIENTS AND DYNAMIC RESTORE – THE QUINTESSENCE OF iSGM FOR CREATING DEPTH
This software does what no other B&W editing software can do in an intuitive and easy way: creating dimensional and atmospheric depth using dynamic gradients and Joel’s method of ‘restore’ to shape lighting effects with the touch of a button, with unmatched subtlety and accuracy.
NEW SPECIAL FX FEATURE
Special FX is a new and unique feature to add highlights, pool or rays of light, any type of lighting effect, to objects like buildings or cars in a technically superior way. It completes and enables the concept of ‘creating depth and presence’ fully.
SMART ADVANCED ADJUSTMENTS WITH NEW DYNAMIC FEATHERING FOR INCREASED SUBTLE BLENDING
1. Advanced Local Adjustments with dynamic feathering: enable accurate and subtle local darkening/lightening by carefree and form-free indicating with the lasso tool the target area to be adjusted. The adjusted area then blends in subtly and smoothly with the rest. Version X improves on the already available accuracy and subtlety by using automatic variable feathering that changes depending on the size of the selection.
2. Micro-Zone Local Adjustment with dynamic feathering: the same as Advanced Smart Linear adjustment but now the local adjustments affect only a selected range of tonal values only, within the target area, to increase or decrease contrasts and textures, by using advanced 16 bits customized asymmetrical masks that work behind the scenes (no knowledge of luminosity masks is needed) for even more accurate and seamless tonal and contrast adjustments. Micro-Zone adjustments now also
- PS CC 2015.5 and higher
- Mac and Windows compatible
- Make sure that your computer can run the latest Photoshop version. See also Adobe’s website for specifics.
- The panel runs language independently.
- The B&W Artisan Pro X Panel v1.0.0.
- High-resolution original
tiffile of the Salk Institute photo with pre-created hard masks is included to practice with.
- Free technical updates.
- Easy installer.
- Quick Start Manual.
- Quick Reference Guide.
- Addendum with an overview of the B&W Conversions and Split Toning presets.
- Follow along videos on Youtube.
What’s New In B&W Artisan Pro X?
- Added a completely new and groundbreaking section called ‘Creating Depth’ using dynamic gradients. This allows the user to create gradients anywhere and in any direction he wishes accurately. More specifically: this is great for giving presence or depth to buildings, skies, and waterscapes, but the possibilities are endless. What this basically does is fully automate my iterative Selective Gradient Masks (
iSGM) technique. The user can now easily add depth or presence to anything, without going through the many steps and many weeks of practice the iSGM workflow would ordinarily require. Darkening or lightening with dynamic gradients is far more subtle than normal darkening/lightening and is THE way to determine the look of an image.
- Under the ‘Creating Depth’ section is also a section called ‘Special FX’. This allows the user to create clouds, reflections, highlights on objects or anything he wishes. These special effects can be used in any size, shape or direction the user wants and is fully customizable.
- The user can shape and stylize lighting effects accurately using the new ‘Restore’ buttons. It was a simple but quintessential part of my iSGM manual workflow.
- The ‘Creating Depth’ section has a total of 200 new functions.
- The ‘Zones’ under ‘Luminosity Masks’ are now replaced with custom-built ‘MicroZones’. These zones come in steps of 1/3. This means, for example, that Zone 1 will consist of ‘Zone 1’, ‘Zone 1 + 1/3’ and ‘Zone 1 + 2/3’. The user now has the option to generate a total of 31 microzones instead of the previous 11. Also new is the option to delete the microzones.
- Added a B&W generator with 4 presets. The generator is based on handpicked values, giving the user a unique and different image each time it is used. The results of the B&W generator are non-destructive and always fully customizable.
- The ‘Default’ and ‘Strict’ buttons under ‘Advanced Adjustments’ have been completely overhauled and now work dynamically. The panel now recognizes the size of the selection and outputs a result accordingly with the right feathering for the right size. In previous versions, very big or very small selections would not give a result or an inaccurate result. This new feature makes sure you will always end up with a workable result.
- The ‘MicroZones’ are also completely overhauled in the same sense as the ‘Advanced Adjustments’ buttons. This means that automatic variable feathering has been included in this section as well and every single part of the image, no matter how big or small the selection is, can be adjusted per zone.
- Added a Split Toning generator with two presets. Just like the B&W generator, the values are handpicked giving the user a unique, a different, and a useable result each time the generator is used. The results are non-destructive and always fully customizable.
A BIG THANK YOU to Joel. I have been following Joel for a long time silently since I am just a hobbyist and own his magical B&W Panels that I use for my personal creations, as I learn to use them in my limited time. I would like to say a few words about something very special that happened today. Kindly excuse the length of this.
It’s very rare that something truly honest like this happens in today’s world. It so happened that I had upgraded to the Version X a few days back but missed to apply the discount coupon. When I received another reminder on the expiry of the Version X offer via email today, I popped an email to Joel saying that I had paid the full amount. There was an immediate response with an offer of
Finest Service! Cheers!!!
I spent some time looking at the upgraded panels and watching and readings tutorials. I have been using the quick selection for quite some time but just the basic mask selection. I didn’t really manage to fully master the refine part. I would like starting using the artisan more frequently, especially the adjustments, in view of faster and more accurate post-processing. All I can say is: brilliant! Congratulations, you made an amazing job which goes well beyond of being a photographer. I would like to suggest something. Probably this is just me getting older and dumber but I think that what would support even more these fantastic products is a single thorough comprehensive spoken tutorial for each of them, focusing especially on what I think are the most valuable parts, meaning advanced/microzones adjustments in the artisan and refine in the quick mask, showing what is doing what on the image, the differences, and maybe keeping the behind the scene theories in a separate document. While you have a number of resources for the artisan, I find the non-spoken videos for the quick mask too fast for my aging brain. There are several resources for the artisan in the dropbox but maybe they could be consolidated. Again, this is just me, I am sure other people can pick it up much faster than me, but I think that these are brilliant software, venturing in areas where nobody, without having the resources of Adobe, has ventured since Ansel Adams. I think they are revolutionary.
I have used the Artisan Pro panel extensively now, and not just for FineArt images, but to enhance and improve all sorts of B&W photographs. To 1) quickly and accurately bring out very subtle details in precise areas of shadows, 2) to pull down highlights that my printer cannot find enough info to fill the print area with ink (greater than 210/255 in my case) and 3) create a hugely improved final result, particularly when trying to produce a balanced set of b&w tones across 3 shots to be presented as a group, is a godsend. Without this panel I don’t think my patience would have been robust enough to attempt this in Photoshop and/or Lightroom alone. This is an indispensable tool for me now. Highly recommended. My thanks to Joel and his team
Joel your new panel is amazing, I just did some quick edits with it. The way to select subtle parts in an image and play with light and shadows is brilliant. I was on my way to get more and more used to your ISGM2 method, but with your new panel, processing is much easier. I must admit that for ‘big’ corrections on the sky I used a gradient, but that’s more due to the fact I have to get familiar with the new panel. In other words get the right effect with the lasso tool. As I am used now to look first to the correct luminosity mask(s) and apply a gradient.
I just processed a photo, you and your team did a very well job. It’s unbelievable how subtle transitions between the different tonings can be created. And so easy, it’s a very powerful tool Joel. Thank you for sharing and making this panel available to the world.
Hi Joel, that panel is excellent. I still have a lot to play with to understand. The 8 videos are very helpful. It makes your work easier and you can let your imagination run free. I find the Tonal-Option very successful. Very good work the new panel BW Artisan Pro.
[…] From there the file is taken into Photoshop, I do not use Lightroom at any stage during my edit. In Photoshop I run the Nik ‘Define’ Plugin to eliminate any small areas of noise which may be present. I then convert to monochrome. To do this I use Joel Tjintjeelar’s B&W Artisan Pro Panel, using the standard neutral setting. That panel also affords me a host of other excellent editing options. It is quite possibly the best £25.00 I have ever spent on my photography.[…]
Quote from an interview with Jim Graham in LEmagazine.
I downloaded the panel yesterday, what an amazing piece of work! its still incredible! I like the new toning presets a lot, but especialy the new sections, which allows a very fast post processing and most of the time without creating accurate masks, what is always horrible. I really like the panel!! could you make a short tutorial where we can see some more steps than in the actual videos? I ask for a specific reason, I’ve edited an image which I’ve already edidet with ISGM technique, the result with Artisan was still great and in a very short time. But I would like to see, how you combine the new functions with your isgm technique, because I like those reflecting metall look, which comes from the reflecting gradient, a lot. here is a part from an image where you see the difference […] I tried it in the way how you have described, and it works fine and especially fast. For example creating a vignette is still amazing with the smart linear adjustments (based on an accurate sky selection), no need for iSGM what takes some time also for a vignette. Here is the result, I’ve made all with smart linear or the micro zones, only the bright reflecting of the “grid” from the building was done with iSGM. but looking forward for a complete workflow tutorial.
I purchased the new panel and am impressed with its ease of use and results. Great job!
The B&W Artisan Pro panel is a great tool that saves a lot of time. The update that offers the possibility to keep the selection is really a plus. One can dream that the panel can allow to integrate certain shades of grey predefined as for example silver grey, metallic grey etc in a click in a selection but it is certainly easier to imagine than to program
in data processing. In any case the B&W Artisan Pro is now my tool of construction, creation as well for the black and white as for the color . Well done master Tjintjelaar
Joel: Panel X is a tour de force. Though I did not truly understand the sculpting parts of it until last nights session, you have created something that over the years I have had to do by hand with subtle D and B techniques. To subtlety craft the light around a building or shaped is so much easier to think about now and when I am in the field just responding to the light falling on shapes. Now I can craft that, tweak it, refine it to what I saw. That part of the panel is just brilliant and I so appreciate the work and thought that went into it. Just wanted to let you know that. hope you are well! Bob
Yesterday I tried the BW Artisan Pro panel, and it showed to be excellent. I experimented with different types of photos, architectural and portraits, also scanned 4×5 inch BW negatives (file sizes up to 400MP), and it worked fast, accurate and very subtle. The panel itself is clear, uncluttered and intuitive. I would like to encourage every genuine BW photographer to try this BW Artisan Pro panel. Bravo, Joel
I’m a nature photographer and I’ve had the B&W Artisan Pro for a week now. It’s incredible. The blending it does from my selections is amazing. It brought detail back to my dark shadows that I’ve had a really tough time with previously. Well done and thank you for this.
Joel, thanks for publishing this plug-in. There’s a certain elegance to the approach you’ve used – enabling beautiful subtle adjustments!