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There's nothing quite like a great black-and-white image. In this workshop, author and trainer Tim Grey shows you how to create the best possible black-and-white interpretations of color photographs using Adobe Photoshop. From very basic grayscale conversions to advanced multiple-channel blending using layer masks, Tim explores a wide variety of methods that you can use to produce the best black-and-white results. Afterwards, tackle a set of real-world projects that combine a variety of techniques to produce the final image. Note: This course was recorded in Photoshop CS5, but was created with users of both Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS4 in mind.
In the context of a black and white photograph, sometimes a single color can be incredibly impactful. As you'll see in this lesson, allowing only one color to be revealed while the rest of the image appears in black and white can produced a great and very interesting result. In this case, I'm going to use a Hue-Saturation Adjustment Layer to produce the black and white version of the image rather than the black and white layer. It is possible to produce a similar effect by the use of a layer mask, but that requires creating a selection and working with a few more complicated techniques.
In this case, we're going to use a very simple approach to this particular creative interpretation of an image. So I'll go ahead and add a Hue-Saturation Adjustment Layer by clicking on the Create New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel and then choosing Hue-Saturation from the pop up menu. Now, in this case, what I'd like to do make only these magenta flowers appear in color, and the rest of the image a pure black and white. In the case of hue-saturation, we remove color by reducing saturation. But by default, that affects the entire image.
What I'd like to do is to work specifically on a range of colors that happens to include everything except that range of magentas that define those flowers. To get started, I'll simply choose one of my color channels. In this case, I think I'll work with greens, because that's relatively dominant in the rest of the image. Now, you can see that at the bottom of my Adjustments panel, we have some controls that indicate the range of colors being affected. Having chosen greens, I'm now affecting only the greens in the image.
The vertical bars here indicate the range of colors that will be completely affected by any adjustment I apply. The trapezoids indicate the extent of feathering, in other words, transition between areas that are being affected and areas that are not being affected based on their color value. So what I'd like to do is have the range inside the two vertical bars include everything except magenta. That means I need to drag the right set of controls here off the right edge, so that it will appear over on the left edge of these controls. So I'll click in between the two so that they move in sequence with each other and then drag over to the right until I can see that the trapezoid has appeared on the left side.
I can now point in between these two controls, once again, recognizing that they're sort of hanging off on opposite sides of the color gradients here, and then, click and drag to continue moving those controls. Now, in order to be able to see the change in this color range, I need to apply an exaggerated adjustment. In this case, I'll go ahead and reduce saturation completely since that's what I ultimately aim to do anyway. In this case, we're really only affecting the greens and cyans, which are not very present in the image. Even though we can see a lot of green, that actually consists of a lot of yellow.
But as I continue expanding the range of colors by moving these controls, I'll be affecting more and more color values within the image. By finetuning these controls to just the right positions, I'll be able to adjust the color range, so that all colors within the image are being converted to black and white, except for those flowers. Now, of course, I could take a variety of approaches to the image in this case, but here, I just want to try to make sure that the flowers appear in color and the rest of the image appears black and white.
That looks to be pretty good. I'd like to make a few more adjustments, though. I noticed that the yellows here have gotten a little bit drab. So I'm going to choose my yellows channel and increase the lightness just for the yellows. That will help to increase contrast for the image, giving us a much better overall look. And of course, I could continue to apply adjustments to finetune the overall appearance of the image. The Hue-Saturation Adjustment makes it relatively easy to create an image where the overall photo is black and white, and yet, a single color or range of colors is still presented in color.
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