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Grayscale mode

From: Photoshop for Designers: Color

Video: Grayscale mode

We are now going to look at the Grayscale Color Mode which we access from under the Image menu, Mode > Grayscale. Now let me just say that if you're converting a color image to grayscale, this is not the best way to do it. The best way to do it to my mind would be actually to retain the image as an RGB image and just apply a black-and-white adjustment layer to it so that it has the appearance of a grayscale image or a black-and-white image. And then you can mix the different colors that go into the grayscale to adjust the contrast of the image.

Grayscale mode

We are now going to look at the Grayscale Color Mode which we access from under the Image menu, Mode > Grayscale. Now let me just say that if you're converting a color image to grayscale, this is not the best way to do it. The best way to do it to my mind would be actually to retain the image as an RGB image and just apply a black-and-white adjustment layer to it so that it has the appearance of a grayscale image or a black-and-white image. And then you can mix the different colors that go into the grayscale to adjust the contrast of the image.

That way you always have the option of going back to the original color image should you choose to do so, and you can introduce some interesting color tints into the image by clicking on the Tint checkbox. But I'm not going to do it that way; I'm going to do it by actually converting it to an official grayscale image which -- it's going to mean that we have a single channel in our resulting image. We get this warning message here, suggesting to do what I just did is to use a Black & White adjustment layer, but I'm going to ignore this advice and click Discard so that I now have a single channel image and so that my image is now 1/3rd the size of its former file size.

So as a Grayscale image we have a direct path to the Bitmap color mode which is going to put all that pixels to pure black or pure white, you might use this for line art or you might rarely use this to create some sort of special effect. More interestingly we have the Duotone color space, where we get the advantage of retaining our image as a single channel image which is very economical in terms of its file size but printing it in two, three, or four inks - Duotone, Tritone, or Quadtone.

I'm going to use one of the presets to start with, we have got a number of presets to work with and then we have a duotone made up of Black and PANTONE 485. We have two ink colors but we still only have one channel. We can affect the amount of ink by clicking on the curve, and these curves operate in a similar but slightly different way to the curves that you are used to from the Curves adjustment layer or the Curves adjustment. Rather than pull them around you specify numerically how much of the color you want at any point in the scale.

So at the moment the 50% point is right there, there is only 15% of the red at the 50% point which is why the curve is much reduced and it's the shape that it is. I'm going to increase that to 25% and we should see that the image gets a little bit redder as a result, and then at the 100% mark I'm going to say I want 75% red and that makes a little redder still. So I could now go ahead and print my image like this and it's going to print in two inks or perhaps I want to add a third ink as well as choosing the presets you can just click on a color swatch.

I'll need to convert that to a Tritone if I want to add a color. Click on that Color Swatch and you can add any color that you like as the third color ink and you can come in and affect the amount of that color by working on its curve. I'm going to reduce the amount of that color of the 50% mark to about 40% and 100% will take down to about 80. So the yellow is not quite as strong as it once was, but we now have an interesting sort of sepia effect applied to this image.

Now you may be thinking that's an awful lot work to get a sepia effect and I would agree with you, and if all you want is the sepia effect then you might as well retain your image as an RGB image and apply some color effect to it, while it's still an RGB image. The reason duotones were used and they were used more frequently than they are today is that they are an economical way of working with a limited color palette. Today because of digital printing it doesn't cost much more to print in full color than it does to print in two or three colors, so the economic imperative to use Duotones, Tritones or Quadtones is no longer there in the same way as it was back in the 1990s.

But if you like the effect of duotones by all means you can get to them like this, should you make a duotone you will need to retain it in the Photoshop file format, don't save as a TIFF and you cannot save it as a JPEG. I'll be talking more about duotones in the chapter on working with a limited color palette.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Color
Photoshop for Designers: Color

75 video lessons · 17453 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 25m 26s
    1. Defining color terms
      2m 38s
    2. Understanding the color wheel
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding color relationships
      1m 7s
    4. Using Kuler to understand color harmony rules and create color palettes
      4m 2s
    5. Using the Kuler web site
      3m 10s
    6. Colors on screen and on paper
      1m 42s
    7. Color as a signifier
      3m 14s
    8. Color inspirations
      2m 39s
    9. Color and accessibility
      2m 51s
  3. 38m 22s
    1. Demystifying the Color Picker
      2m 57s
    2. Understanding the role of foreground and background colors
      5m 39s
    3. Choosing colors
      6m 41s
    4. Managing swatches
      7m 40s
    5. Transparency
      9m 42s
    6. Color channels
      5m 43s
  4. 41m 4s
    1. Understanding additive and subtractive color
      2m 57s
    2. RGB mode
      1m 56s
    3. CMYK mode
      2m 41s
    4. Lab mode
      3m 49s
    5. Indexed mode
      2m 16s
    6. Grayscale mode
      5m 0s
    7. Color management
      14m 15s
    8. Color depth (8-, 16-, 24-, and 32-bit)
      4m 19s
    9. Monitor calibration
      3m 51s
  5. 26m 43s
    1. Evaluating color with the Histogram panel
      3m 18s
    2. Evaluating color with the Info panel
      1m 48s
    3. Boosting color with levels
      3m 48s
    4. Auto Tone and Auto Contrast
      7m 38s
    5. Manually setting the black and white point
      3m 50s
    6. Curves
      6m 21s
  6. 18m 30s
    1. What is color correction?
      5m 45s
    2. White balancing in Camera Raw
      1m 46s
    3. Color correction with color balance
      1m 34s
    4. Color balancing using photo filters
      1m 26s
    5. Color correction with variations
      4m 27s
    6. Color correction by the numbers
      3m 32s
  7. 33m 14s
    1. Selecting color with the Magic Wand
      4m 43s
    2. Selecting color with the Quick Selection tool
      2m 26s
    3. Selecting color with Color Range
      4m 0s
    4. Neutralizing whites with the Multiply blend mode
      2m 55s
    5. Neutralizing blacks with the Screen blend mode
      57s
    6. Masking colors with the Blend If sliders
      2m 54s
    7. Masking hair with a channel mask and removing contaminant colors
      2m 58s
    8. Shifting targeted colors using Hue/Saturation
      5m 4s
    9. Matching colors using Hue/Saturation
      3m 16s
    10. Matching colors using the Match Color command
      1m 36s
    11. Matching colors using the Color blend modes
      2m 25s
  8. 21m 8s
    1. Saturating colors
      4m 9s
    2. Desaturating colors
      1m 57s
    3. Desaturating in Camera Raw
      3m 1s
    4. Creating a color accent with selective saturation
      2m 38s
    5. Enhancing a sunrise with a gradient map
      5m 49s
    6. Increasing vibrance
      1m 19s
    7. Using selective color
      2m 15s
  9. 32m 42s
    1. Designing with spot colors
      12m 15s
    2. Adding a fifth color to a CMYK image
      5m 0s
    3. Adding spot colors to a grayscale image
      5m 24s
    4. Create a metallic print effect
      3m 8s
    5. Creating duotones, tritones, and quadtones
      6m 55s
  10. 30m 45s
    1. Creating a silkscreen print look with a limited color palette
      7m 59s
    2. Combining color with black and white
      2m 22s
    3. Creating a nostalgic travel poster using the Cut Out filter
      6m 27s
    4. Mapping an image to a color look up table (CLUT)
      7m 56s
    5. Converting to black and white
      6m 1s
  11. 48m 34s
    1. Creating a hand-tinted portrait (the easy way)
      3m 29s
    2. Creating a hand-tinted portrait (the harder way)
      11m 23s
    3. Creating an Andy Warhol look
      4m 44s
    4. Applying a gradient map
      4m 4s
    5. Sepia toning an image
      8m 41s
    6. Color tinting an image
      5m 15s
    7. Split toning an image
      2m 9s
    8. Working with line art
      8m 49s
  12. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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