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To some extent, you can think of a black and white image as a photographic image printed with varying shades of black ink. It's also possible, however, to produce an image that has the appearance of having been printed with various tones of an ink of any color. In other words, to apply a color tint to a black and white image. Let's take a look at how it's done. We'll start off, of course, by converting our image to black and white. So I'll click on the Create New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Black and White from the popup list. On the Adjustments panel, I can then apply a variety of adjustments to fine tune the basic black and white conversion.
For example, I can brighten or darken areas of the image, that started as a particular color value. So in this case I might brighten up the yellows just a little bit, maybe brighten up the reds just a small amount, and I could continue fine-tuning as I see fit, adjusting the overall luminance of areas of the image, based on their original color value. This looks to be a pretty good starting point, so I'll go ahead and apply my color tint to this black and white image. To do so, I simply turn on the Tint check box on the Adjustments panel. You can see that my default color tint is a sepia tone. Little bit of a brownish, almost slightly yellow tone, and, relatively saturated. But I can change this color to any color I'd like. All I need to do, is click on the color swatch associated with the Tint check box.
This will bring up the Color Picker, where I can choose any color I'd like. In most cases, I recommend working with the HSB contrtols. That would be hue, saturation and brightness. Although we'll really focus our attention on the hue and saturation adjustments here. We'll start off with hue, that's the basic color value, what we would describe quite simply as the color. Red, blue, green, yellow, etc. We can use the vertical slider, the gradient here, to adjust the specific color value. We'll go ahead and drag upward for example, and I can choose a magenta, a red, a blue, I can also click within the gradient itself, to choose a particular color.
In addition, I can make sure that the flashing insertion point is inside the text box for the hue value, and then simply use the up and down arrow keys to increase or decrease the color value respectively. In this case, I think I'll stick with a sepia tone. But keep in mind, each individual color can have a different impact on the viewer. Warm tones, the yellows, oranges and reds, tend to give a warm and welcoming feeling to the image. Cooler tones such as cyans and blues tend to have a cold, standoffish, almost uninviting feeling for the image.
But of course, this depends a little bit on context. The point is we have tremendous flexibility, but it's a good idea to think about the actual effect of the color in the final image. In other words, what mood are you trying to convey? I'll go ahead and drag my slider downward here just a little bit, to get a little bit more of an orangish sort of tint, and then we can consider saturation, the S value in HSB. In most cases I recommend using a very low value for saturation. If you want to, you certainly could increase saturation, but that tends to create an image that looks very artificial.
In most cases, you'll get a better effect by having a very subtle color tint to the image. Almost to the point that the color is not really visible at first glance. This looks like a pretty good starting point in this case. I could also consider brightness. I'll turn on the B value in HSB. And as I drag downward, you'll see that I'm reducing the amount of color. It might seem, at first glance, that this is very similar to the saturation slider. And in some ways, it is. But what's happening here is, as I darken down the color, I'm not able to see it as well.
Whereas, if I brighten up the color, I'm able to see it more readily. But again, in most cases, I'll leave the brightness value, the B in HSB, at whatever value it started at, and focus my energy, instead, on the hue and saturation adjustments. I'll go ahead and fine-tune my saturation here just a little bit, I'm going to take it down a little bit lower, and that looks to be pretty good. When I'm happy with the color that I've chosen, I can click OK, and we'll see the effect in the image of course, since we've been working with our color picker. But to give you a better sense of the impact on the image, I'm going to turn off the Tint check box and turn it back on.
You can see that even with a very subtle color effect, we're having a rather significant impact on the image. And at any time if I decide I'd like to change the color, I can simply click on the color swatch once again, to bring up my color picker, and then choose a new color value. In this case, I'm perfectly happy with the result I've achieved here, so I'll go ahead and click OK one more time in the color picker. Adding a color tint can help an image convey a very different mood from the original color image, or even compared to a black and white interpretation without a color tint. As you've seen in this lesson, it's quite easy to apply a color tint to an image. Perhaps the most challenging part, is actually deciding which color you'd like to use for a given photo.
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