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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
Welcome to the chapter on black and white conversion. In this initial movie, what I want to do is introduce you to the topic of converting your images to black and white and in order to understand how our different options work, let's go ahead and open up this file colors.psd. Press F to go to Full Screen View mode. Now, we have this file with a number of different colors. Now I have that, because I want to show you what it will look like to convert these colors to black and white. Now, you know that you can of course go to this Hue/ Saturation Adjustment slider and de- saturate 100 points. Yet, at this point, I'm pretty limited at what I can do, right.
I could go back to my adjustments and create a Curves adjustment and then go further and modify this. It's hard to kind of target the different areas of my image. Yes, I could of course go into the reds and click on the Target Adjustment tool and then modify those. Yet, I start to get some color shifts. Well, how would I fix that? Take this blend mode to Luminosity. Now, when I make my red color adjustments, we are seeing that I'm just darkening specific tones. In this case, the reds up top. So here we can see our before and after with those reds. So I can use Hue, Saturation in combination with Curves. It's a little bit tricky, it's a little bit awkward, what else can I do? Check this out.
If we go back to our Adjustments panel, here we are going to click on Channel Mixer. Now, Channel Mixer is actually quite phenomenal. If we choose Monochrome, I can then control my overall amounts, they have to total 100%, and this is new to CS4, telling me the total. What I'm going to do here is just change this. I'm going to change it quite drastically, so we can get a different type of a conversion there, it gives me a warning if I go over 100. Now, here you can see I have almost completely made my Aquas really light and bright; my Reds are now dark and black. So you can use the Channel Mixer to come up with some pretty interesting combinations. Again, keeping in mind that your total needs to be about 100%.
All right, well what else can we do? Let's go back to our Adjustments panel. Now, let's look at the final option that we have which is to create a black and white adjustment layer. All right, well interesting. Well, now I have all the different channels, I also have a Target Adjustment tool. So that I can collect that tool and then click and drag, darken those reds. I can go to the Aquas. I want those dark as well. I can darken that one. Greens, I want those nice and bright. So then it affects my greens, which also I have a little bit of yellow in them. I can also go to the specific slider and control those sliders as well.
So with this particular Adjustment Layer, you see that you have incredible control. Now, you could use that in combination with a Curves Adjustment. Let's go ahead and make a Curves adjustment in the red channel, take this to a blend mode of what, luminosity right? Now, here I can then further modify those channels, go to the RGB Composite mode as well, work on the overall contrast, the overall brightness and again you can see that I can modify the black and white conversion pretty well with that Curves adjustment in addition to that black and white adjustment layer.
So what's my preferred technique for converting the black and white, well you have guessed it. Right, it's using the Black and White Adjustment Layer and then if you need to, using a Curves Adjustment Layer on top of it, because that can help you fine-tune your black and white conversion. Now, I'm aware that you may be thinking, well, that doesn't really make much sense to me because all you are doing is converting a color image to black and white. What I'm trying to do here is point out the fact that you can target specific areas of your image based on their color. You can then, covert to black and white and modify areas based on their color in some real unique ways in order to come up with some black and white conversions in that snap.
Okay. Well, now that we know a little bit about black and white conversion, let's once again, apply what we have learned to a few images, and we will do that in the next few movies.
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