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Go beyond the automatic editing features in Adobe Photoshop Elements and find out how to make sophisticated edits using the program's Expert Edit mode. In this course, author, teacher, and photographer Jan Kabili explores the core features of the Expert Edit mode, from making exposure adjustments, retouching, and compositing images, to adding text. The course also takes a close look at adjusting photos with Adobe Camera Raw, included with Elements 11.
If you want to make a black-and-white photo, the best thing to do is not to try to shoot a black-and-white photo using your camera's controls, but rather, to shoot a color photo and then convert it to black and white here in Elements' Expert edit workspace. I'm going to do that using a direct adjustment from the Enhance menu. So to be safe, I could make a duplicate of this color version of the image by right-clicking on the background layer in the Layers panel and choosing Duplicate Layer. I'm going to skip that this time. Instead I'm going to go directly up to the Enhance menu and I'm going to choose Convert to Black and White.
That opens the Convert to Black and White dialog box with the color image on the left and an initial black-and-white conversion in this After preview area on the right. I usually start in this dialog box by going down to Select a style menu and choosing among the pre-built black- and-white conversion styles here. Keep your eye on the After preview as I click through these pre-built styles, and you can see how very differently the colors in the image are the converted to black and white in each of the styles. The reason for that is that each of the styles is using a different amount of the Red, Green, and Blue color channels that make up a color image, as this tip tells us.
If I like a result, I can just click OK at this point. But I'll usually come down to the Adjust Intensity sliders and I'll tweak the amount of information that's being used in the conversion from each of the Red, Green, and Blue channels. In this case, I think I'd like the red areas, the beak and the eye and the red feathers, to be lighter than they are in this preview. So I'll take the Red slider and I'll increase the amount of information from the Red channel by dragging the Red slider to the right. That also lightened the background slightly. I'd like to darken the background now, so I'll take the Green slider and I'm going to reduce the amount of information from the Green channel. And then let's say I want the blue feathers to be slightly lighter in the black-and-white conversion.
I'll take the Blue slider and I'll drag that to the right, increasing the amount of information coming from the Blue channel. I can also fine-tune the amount of contrast between the brightest and darkest areas in the converted image. To do that I'll click on the Contrast slider. To increase Contrast I would drag to the right, to decrease Contrast, drag to the left. When I'm satisfied that the with the conversion, I'll click OK, and that closes the Black and White Conversion dialog box and brings me back out to the Expert edit workspace, where all that's left to do is to save this black-and-white conversion.
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