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Converting color to black and white

From: Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

Video: Converting color to black and white

Converting a color image to black-and- white or grayscale is also very common request that I get a lot. How do you do that? What's the best way to do it? There's a variety of ways. I'm going to teach you the quickest, easiest way. In the Adjustments panel, there's a specific adjustment for black-and-white conversion, and it's called Black & White. I'm going to go ahead and click on that Adjustment layer to bring up the controls for it. You'll see that there are individual sliders for a specific color, so Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Magenta. What this lets you do is specifically adjust individual colors as how they map to grayscale and have fine -tune control over that.

Converting color to black and white

Converting a color image to black-and- white or grayscale is also very common request that I get a lot. How do you do that? What's the best way to do it? There's a variety of ways. I'm going to teach you the quickest, easiest way. In the Adjustments panel, there's a specific adjustment for black-and-white conversion, and it's called Black & White. I'm going to go ahead and click on that Adjustment layer to bring up the controls for it. You'll see that there are individual sliders for a specific color, so Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Magenta. What this lets you do is specifically adjust individual colors as how they map to grayscale and have fine -tune control over that.

So, let's turn this Adjustment layer off for a moment. In the Layers panel, there is an Eye for it. You can see I chose this image because there's lots of individual colors in the sweater, and it helps you see how these colors are individually being adjusted to grayscale when you start using the slider. So, you can see there's a green stripe. There's a magenta stripe, a red stripe and so on, and then the blue in the pants. And there's even a little bit of yellow in the shirt as well and yellow in the hair. So, let's turn that layer back on, that Black & White Adjustment layer. And let's take the Green slider first. As I drag that left and right, you can see only the green stripes are adjusting in the image, or anywhere there is green in the image underlying.

That makes it real easy to specifically adjust where the greens are going to grayscale. Same thing for yellow, so if I want to darken the hair or lighten the hair, have a bit of control over the yellows in the image, each color can be adjusted separately. If I want the reds, be a little bit different there, it helps you distinguish the individual tones from each other. Make the blues either darker or lighter to adjust the pants, and so forth. So, it's very, very cool, actually. You have the Targeted Adjustments option for the Black & White Adjustment layer as well, meaning if I click on this little tool here in the panel, the Finger tool, I can actually click in the image itself and start dragging left or right to adjust those particular tones.

Once you have the grayscale image overlaying the color image, you don't necessarily remember which colors are which anymore that are in that original image. So, I don't remember what color this is, and I don't have to. With the Targeted Adjustment tool, I can just click right there and start dragging left and right to adjust those particular colors that are directly under the cursor. So, it makes it real easy to just very quickly dial in that custom black-and-white conversion that you're looking for to get all the separate tones looking as best as possible when you look at your overall adjustment.

Okay, one thing I tend to do after doing the black-and-white conversion using the Black & White Adjustment layer is also increase contrast, and I'll use another Adjustment layer to do that. You can stack these on top of each other, of course. So, I'm going to go back to the Adjustments panel and click on the Back button to take us back to the list, and I'll go ahead and click on the Curves Adjustment layer. From our Preset list, I'm going to choose Linear Contrast. That's not quite enough, so I'm going to go back to the Preset list and choose Increase Contrast, and that's giving me kind of that punchier black-and-white look that I'm looking for. Great! To kick this off a little bit more, I'm going to add a couple of special effects to it.

I want to create what's called a Vignette. I want to burn the corners in to pull the focus into the center of the image, and I want to add a stroke, a white border to the outside of the image as well. To do that, I'm going to add a new layer to the top of this layer stack. I'm going to go ahead and hold down the Option and Alt key to teach you a little bonus trick here. If I hold down the Option or Alt key and click on the New layer icon, that gives me a chance to create a new layer and set some properties for it. I'll cancel this for a moment. If I just click the New layer icon, all I get is a blank new layer called layer 1.

I'm going to undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. I'm going to Option+Click or Alt+Click on the New button. This brings up the New layer dialog, and I'm going to choose the Overlay Blend mode and fill this layer that I've just created with 50% gray. I want to have some pixels here, so that I can apply a filter to it. There are a lot of filters that you can't actually run on an empty layer, so this is a trick to end up with a layer filled with gray. I'm going to call it Vignette and Stroke. Go ahead and click OK. The image doesn't look any different because the Overlay Blend mode ignores gray pixels.

All right. So, that's kind of a handy little thing there. First, let's add a stroke to this image by going to the Effects icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choosing Stroke from that effect. I've got a Size of 20 and a White Stroke. That's looking actually pretty good. I'm just going to make that a little bit bigger. We'll make it, say, 30 pixels, and I can just type in 30 if I want. Go ahead and click OK, and there's my border. Now, I want to frame in those corners and do that Vignette effect. So, to do that, I'm going to go to Filter > Lens Correction.

In the Custom tab, there's a Vignette slider, and you can see it goes from darken to lighten. I'm going to darken those corners, drag it all the way over to the left, and you can see I'm getting a nice burning effect on those corners. I can decide how far in I want that to come in from the corners by changing the Midpoint. So, I want to make it 35. I'm going to go ahead and click OK. What that does is that burns in those corners. Because the Blend mode is set to Overlay, the dark corners are darkening the corner of the image. Anywhere there are gray pixels in the middle, there's going to be no change.

So, here is before, and there is after. It's a nice custom black-and-white conversion with nice, dramatic contrast. I've got that nice white border and burning effect of the Vignette corners. One thing I'd like to do is select the range of layers and Adjustment layers that make up the after effect. I like to group them. Command+G or Ctrl+G, on your keyboard and turn them into a folder and then with one click of the Eye on the Group level, I can see before and after and see where I ended up very quickly.

So, there you have it, some nice, fun, easy ways to do color to grayscale, or color to black-and-white, and then also increase contrast and really add that nice vignette and border effect at the same time.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

154 video lessons · 94340 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
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  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      50s
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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