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Changing a photograph to black and white using the LAB action

From: Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features

Video: Changing a photograph to black and white using the LAB action

We're going to take a look at a small, yet nonetheless really quite fascinating and fun new feature inside of Photoshop CS5, which allows us to quickly convert our images to Black and White and add a little bit of a tone to these photographs in a pretty unique way. Well in order to take advantage of this new feature, we need to navigate to our Window pulldown menu. Here, we're going to go ahead and select Actions to open up our Actions panel. Now this particular new feature revolves around a Black and White conversion technique that Russell Brown came up with.

Changing a photograph to black and white using the LAB action

We're going to take a look at a small, yet nonetheless really quite fascinating and fun new feature inside of Photoshop CS5, which allows us to quickly convert our images to Black and White and add a little bit of a tone to these photographs in a pretty unique way. Well in order to take advantage of this new feature, we need to navigate to our Window pulldown menu. Here, we're going to go ahead and select Actions to open up our Actions panel. Now this particular new feature revolves around a Black and White conversion technique that Russell Brown came up with.

If you're not familiar with Russell, he's one of the senior creative directors at Adobe, and he's a really fascinating and interesting person. And this technique is actually quite powerful. Let's take a look at how we can use it. What you need to do is actually load it into the Actions panel. You can do so by clicking on the icon in the top right-hand corner of your panel and then by selecting LAB Black & White Technique. This will then open up this particular Black & White Technique Action. To apply this, simply click on Photo Toner and then go ahead and click Play.

What this will do then is run through a number of different steps, and it will give you this message that says you can modify the overall tint of your image by using hue or saturation. Click Continue, and it will open up that dialog, and here what we can do change the overall Tint and also Saturation and then click OK. Now this particular Action has actually done something quite profound. It's converted our image to Black and White in a really unique way. Well, one of the things that you can do in order to deconstruct things a little bit is to Option+Click or Alt+Click on your layer Mask.

Now when you do so, you can see that this Layer Mask is really quite intriguing. Option+Click or Alt+Click on that one again, and I wanted to highlight that just to get you to begin to think about how this tone is affecting the Black and White image. What you can also do is a Shift+Click this Mask to look at your before and after. Here's without that Mask and then here's with that Mask and how it limits this tone into specific areas of your photograph. The other thing you might want to try here is press Command+L or Ctrl+L to open up Levels, and you want to do this on the mask.

Well at this juncture, what you can do is you can change the overall values of this mask, so that you can brighten this up a little bit or darken it and with this image I think brightening it up, would be kind of a nice touch. It was just a little bit too muddy for my own taste. Here I'll go ahead and click OK. Of course, there are other things that you can do here as well. For example, I tend to like to have my blending of my color on a Blend mode of Soft Light. So, be sure to go ahead and try that. Here you can see it's a little bit of a lighter toned effect, which in this case, I think works well.

Here's my before and then after. Again, the tone isn't quite so powerful. Finally, my own preference is to lower the Opacity a bit, just because I like to go for toning that's a bit more subtle. So, of course, as always, all of these different customizations of this particular action are based on your own personal preferences and are completely up to you. Yet whatever your preference is, I encourage you to experiment with this Black and White Technique, because I think you'll have quite a bit of fun converting your images to black and white with this particular action.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features
Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features

48 video lessons · 19178 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 2m 51s
    1. Welcome
      2m 14s
    2. Using the exercise files
      37s
  2. 17m 14s
    1. Introducing PDF watermarking
      2m 9s
    2. Adding a custom watermark to a PDF
      5m 16s
    3. Using the new Export panel
      4m 45s
    4. Improved batch renaming
      3m 9s
    5. Working between Bridge and Photoshop
      1m 55s
  3. 20m 11s
    1. Getting started with Mini Bridge
      4m 17s
    2. Creating a custom Mini Bridge shortcut
      2m 1s
    3. Working with Bridge and Mini Bridge
      2m 18s
    4. Finding and reviewing photos
      4m 15s
    5. Opening documents
      4m 22s
    6. Customizing the position and display
      2m 58s
  4. 16m 54s
    1. Sharpening enhancements
      5m 1s
    2. Reducing noise
      5m 23s
    3. Using Post-Crop Vignetting
      3m 51s
    4. Adding film grain
      2m 39s
  5. 4m 58s
    1. Selecting and modifying a Photoshop workspace
      1m 52s
    2. Creating a custom workspace
      3m 6s
  6. 6m 48s
    1. Adjusting layer style effects on multiple layers at once
      2m 41s
    2. Modifying multiple layers at once
      2m 34s
    3. Dragging content into Photoshop as a Smart Object
      1m 33s
  7. 20m 56s
    1. Making better selections using Smart Radius
      6m 21s
    2. Removing a model from a background
      10m 12s
    3. Changing the colors of a shirt
      4m 23s
  8. 7m 46s
    1. Using the new brushes in a photographic workflow
      5m 52s
    2. Getting more efficient with brushes
      1m 54s
  9. 10m 17s
    1. Content-aware spot healing
      3m 17s
    2. Replacing backgrounds with Content-Aware Fill
      4m 19s
    3. Cleaning up multiple elements with Content-Aware Fill
      2m 41s
  10. 4m 24s
    1. Cropping and straightening a photograph
      2m 47s
    2. Auto-straightening a photograph
      1m 37s
  11. 12m 27s
    1. Accessing lens correction
      1m 10s
    2. Automatic lens correction
      2m 24s
    3. Working with the custom lens correction controls
      4m 53s
    4. Customizing lens distortion removal
      2m 12s
    5. Panoramic lens correction
      1m 48s
  12. 18m 58s
    1. Toning HDR photographs
      5m 21s
    2. Blending HDR toning for a more subtle effect
      4m 34s
    3. Working with HDR Pro
      4m 52s
    4. Getting creative with HDR Pro
      4m 11s
  13. 20m 43s
    1. Working with the Target Adjustment tool
      2m 26s
    2. Working with the new HUD color picker
      5m 8s
    3. Creating a neutral density gradient
      3m 25s
    4. Changing a photograph to black and white using the LAB action
      3m 15s
    5. Launching Photoshop in 32-bit mode
      3m 1s
    6. New printing settings
      3m 28s
  14. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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