Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop
Illustration by Richard Downs

Black-and-white mixing and adding tone


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Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop

with Bryan O'Neil Hughes

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Video: Black-and-white mixing and adding tone

Alright, so we have our color image looking just the way we want it, and we're ready to convert it into black and white. We're going to come over here to this panel, and we see that we have a lot of control over the Hue, Saturation, Luminance, and other color values, and if we wanted to take the image further in color, that's what we'd play around with, but we want to make it black and white. I click on the Black & White tab, and the image changes, and you can see that we've automatically added contrast between the various colors, and we do this to make those different tonal values pop. Now, if I were to move the individual sliders, we see that that area of the image will get lighter, or darker, and that's fine, but I have to remember what a given color was, and how it maps to the scale.
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Watch the Online Video Course Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop
42m 1s Intermediate Apr 15, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Shoot in color, but think in black and white. In this course, Adobe Photoshop Senior Product Manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes shares his favorite techniques for transforming color photographs into black and white, a technique that provides more creative options than using your camera's black-and-white mode. Learn how to prepare and fine-tune your photographs in Lightroom, and then move them into Photoshop to take advantage of its nondestructive adjustment layers. The course also introduces techniques for using Photoshop to adjust the color of video clips.

Topics include:
  • Why black and white?
  • Shooting with black and white in mind
  • Setting up Lightroom and creating image versions
  • Utilizing presets effectively
  • Creating black-and-white HDR images with Lightroom and Photoshop
  • Taking advantage of black-and-white adjustment layers
  • Adjusting the toning of images
  • Working with the Silver Efex plugin
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Bryan O'Neil Hughes

Black-and-white mixing and adding tone

Alright, so we have our color image looking just the way we want it, and we're ready to convert it into black and white. We're going to come over here to this panel, and we see that we have a lot of control over the Hue, Saturation, Luminance, and other color values, and if we wanted to take the image further in color, that's what we'd play around with, but we want to make it black and white. I click on the Black & White tab, and the image changes, and you can see that we've automatically added contrast between the various colors, and we do this to make those different tonal values pop. Now, if I were to move the individual sliders, we see that that area of the image will get lighter, or darker, and that's fine, but I have to remember what a given color was, and how it maps to the scale.

What's a lot easier to do is to use this cool little thing called the Targeted Adjustment tool. I click on that, and let's use the sky as an example. If I click and pull down, it's going to make those color values darker. If I click and pull up, it will make them brighter. So, if I come down here to the grass, and click on that and pull it up, I'll see that it's mostly orange, but a little bit of yellow, and if I come over to the foliage here and pull down, it's mostly yellow, and a little bit orange.

So, I see that not only is this easier to do, but I'm actually doing things that are impossible with the normal interface. I can move various sliders at different paces, and when I'm done with that, I want to make sure that I turn that off. The next thing I'm going to do is add a little bit of toning. Now, I don't need to this to every image, but a lot of images benefit from being warmed up or cooled down. It's just another way to adjust the look of the image, and change it around, and there is two ways to do this. One, I could just choose a given Hue, say we want to make this sepia tone, and then pull the Saturation up, and that would be the saturation for the highlights.

But a better way to do this is to use the Option or Alt key, and drag the Hue slider. While you're holding down Option or Alt, you're going to see a temporary preview at 100% Saturation. It's much easier to choose the tone you want doing this. So, I want a nice warm tone for the Highlights, and now I can slowly pull the Saturation up, and I'm going to do the same thing with the Shadows. I'm going to hold the Option or Alt, and I pull that up, and I also want a warm kind of rusty tone for the shadows, and then I can pull up the Saturation.

And if I wanted to balance more highlight, or more shadow, I could do that. So, really quickly and easily, I've converted my color image to black and white and I've given it a little bit of a warm tone.

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