Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
Illustration by John Hersey

Mixing a custom black-and-white image


Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Mixing a custom black-and-white image

In this movie, I'll show you how to create a custom black and white image using a Channel Mixer Adjustment layer. Now, in order to keep track of what we're doing, we're going to need to be able to see a histogram. So, go up to the Window menu and choose the Histogram command to bring up the Histogram panel. And notice that I currently have the channel set to RGB and I'm also looking at the expanded view. Next, drop down to the black and white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and I'm going to press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and then choose this command right there, Channel mixer.
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 4s
  2. 1h 1m
    1. The best of Photoshop automation
    2. Content-Aware Fill and Color Adaptation (CC 2014)
      7m 44s
    3. Combining two layers with a layer mask (CC 2014)
      5m 37s
    4. Content-aware healing (CC 2014)
      10m 17s
    5. Introducing the Patch tool
      3m 43s
    6. Using Content-Aware Patch
      7m 17s
    7. Retouching with Content-Aware Patch
      3m 45s
    8. Using the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 41s
    9. Using Content-Aware Extend
      2m 4s
    10. The Content-Aware Scale command
      6m 35s
    11. Scaling in multiple passes
      2m 22s
    12. Protecting skin tones
      3m 31s
  3. 32m 55s
    1. Editing the histogram
      1m 50s
    2. The new automatic Levels adjustment
      4m 33s
    3. Customizing a Levels adjustment
      4m 53s
    4. Understanding the Gamma value
      2m 7s
    5. Opening up the shadows
      2m 48s
    6. Previewing clipped pixels
      3m 40s
    7. Retouching with Output Levels
      4m 25s
    8. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      2m 19s
    9. Faking a gray card in post
      2m 51s
    10. Assigning shortcuts to adjustment layers
      3m 29s
  4. 57m 43s
    1. How sharpening works
      1m 38s
    2. Introducing the Smart Sharpen filter
      6m 56s
    3. Understanding the Radius value
      5m 20s
    4. Gauging the best sharpening settings
      5m 45s
    5. Addressing color artifacts and clipping
      5m 49s
    6. The Remove and Reduce Noise options
      4m 22s
    7. The Shadows/Highlights options
      7m 36s
    8. Correcting for camera shake
      6m 47s
    9. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      5m 45s
    10. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      4m 44s
    11. Painting in sharpness
      3m 1s
  5. 1h 12m
    1. Vector-based type
      1m 35s
    2. Creating and editing point text
      8m 8s
    3. Font and type style tricks
      7m 58s
    4. Type size and color tricks
      6m 42s
    5. Kerning and tracking characters
      8m 9s
    6. Creating and editing area text
      3m 50s
    7. Selecting and formatting paragraphs
      6m 50s
    8. Setting text inside a custom path
      5m 34s
    9. Creating text along a path
      6m 12s
    10. Adjusting baseline shift
      4m 45s
    11. Creating and stylizing a logo
      6m 49s
    12. Masking text into image elements
      6m 14s
  6. 1h 9m
    1. The other vector-based layer
      1m 39s
    2. Dotted borders and corner roundness
      8m 14s
    3. Drawing and aligning custom shapes
      3m 55s
    4. Creating your own repeatable custom shape
      5m 43s
    5. Selecting and modifying path outlines (CC 2014)
      6m 5s
    6. Isolating selected layers (CC 2014)
      6m 39s
    7. Combining simple shapes to make complex ones
      6m 31s
    8. Cropping, adjusting, and merging shapes
      8m 49s
    9. Creating a soft, synthetic sparkle
      6m 22s
    10. Saving a resolution-independent PDF file
      6m 42s
    11. Turning a small image into a huge one
      8m 38s
  7. 1h 14m
    1. Depth, contour, and texture
      1m 28s
    2. Imparting depth with a layer effect
      9m 9s
    3. The power of the drop shadow
      7m 37s
    4. Modifying a layer and its effects
      6m 21s
    5. Saving custom default settings
      4m 12s
    6. Creating a custom contour
      8m 5s
    7. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      8m 8s
    8. Multiple effects and multiple layers
      7m 45s
    9. Global Light and rasterizing effects
      8m 5s
    10. Gloss and surface contour
      6m 4s
    11. Adding texture to Bevel and Emboss
      7m 21s
  8. 34m 48s
    1. Styles store settings
      1m 38s
    2. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      3m 41s
    3. Redefining a style and styling a word
      5m 38s
    4. Creating and styling a placeholder style
      5m 43s
    5. Applying and creating layer styles
      5m 45s
    6. Loading and customizing layer styles
      5m 42s
    7. Merging and saving layer styles
      6m 41s
  9. 56m 48s
    1. Meet the transformations
      1m 55s
    2. Transformations and Smart Objects
      5m 46s
    3. Adjusting the interpolation setting
      5m 10s
    4. Rotating a layer with Free Transform
      5m 22s
    5. Scale, duplicate, and repeat
      4m 30s
    6. Creating a synthetic star field
      5m 20s
    7. Warping a logo with Arc and Flag
      5m 34s
    8. Distort, perspective, and skew
      4m 15s
    9. Using transformations to draw and correct
      7m 0s
    10. Bolstering text with layer effects
      5m 43s
    11. Adding highlights with Lens Flare
      6m 13s
  10. 43m 36s
    1. Removing the weight that the camera adds
      1m 7s
    2. The Warp and Reconstruct tools
      6m 44s
    3. Brush size, hardness, and opacity
      4m 29s
    4. The Pucker, Bloat, Push, and Twirl tools
      7m 12s
    5. Saving and reapplying Liquify settings
      4m 9s
    6. Lifting and slimming details
      9m 42s
    7. Warping legs, arms, and fabric
      5m 33s
    8. Improving a model's posture
      4m 40s
  11. 58m 46s
    1. Shoot in color, convert to black and white
      1m 55s
    2. Three ways to grayscale
      5m 36s
    3. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 31s
    4. Simulating an infrared photograph
      6m 39s
    5. Creating a sienna-infused sepia tone
      5m 38s
    6. Creating a hyper-saturated image
      5m 26s
    7. Introducing the Black & White command
      3m 16s
    8. Customizing the Black & White settings
      4m 50s
    9. Black & White meets the Channel Mixer
      7m 29s
    10. Infusing an image with tint and color
      5m 9s
    11. Grayscale and Split Tone in Camera Raw
      5m 17s
  12. 41m 34s
    1. The many ways to print
      1m 41s
    2. Using the test document
      3m 18s
    3. Print, position, and size
      5m 57s
    4. Description and printing marks
      3m 3s
    5. Establishing a bleed
      3m 44s
    6. Getting reliable color
      5m 54s
    7. Special printing options
      5m 1s
    8. Previewing an image at print size
      4m 16s
    9. Creating contact sheets
      4m 49s
    10. Creating a multipage PDF
      3m 51s
  13. 31m 9s
    1. Making Internet imagery
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing Save for Web
      4m 39s
    3. Creating the perfect JPEG image
      5m 14s
    4. Creating a high-contrast GIF image
      6m 23s
    5. The two varieties of PNG
      3m 57s
    6. Downsampling for the web
      5m 59s
    7. Adding copyright and contact info
      3m 51s
  14. 1m 3s
    1. Until next time
      1m 3s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
10h 37m Intermediate Aug 19, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop CC One-on-One is back, and this installment teaches you how to build on your basic knowledge and achieve next-level effects with this premiere image-editing program. Industry pro Deke McClelland shows you how to seamlessly move and patch areas of a photo with the Content-Aware toolset; stretch the brightness of a scene with automatic and custom Levels adjustments; create intricate designs with text and shapes; and morph an image with layer effects and transformations. Deke also shares his techniques for sharpening details, whether addressing noise and highlight/shadow clipping or camera shake, and converting a full-color image to black and white. The final chapters show you how to best print and save images for the web, making sure all your hard work pays off in the final output.

Topics include:
  • Performing automatic retouch, scaling, and more with the Content-Aware tools
  • Editing the histogram
  • Customizing a Levels adjustment
  • Making channel-by-channel Levels adjustments
  • Sharpening with the Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass filters
  • Working with vector-based type
  • Kerning and tracking characters
  • Creating text on a path
  • Drawing and customizing shapes
  • Creating depth, contour, and texture with layer effects
  • Liquifying an image
  • Simulating an infrared photo
  • Adjusting print position, size, and color
  • Creating the perfect JPEG image
  • Downsampling for the web
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Mixing a custom black-and-white image

In this movie, I'll show you how to create a custom black and white image using a Channel Mixer Adjustment layer. Now, in order to keep track of what we're doing, we're going to need to be able to see a histogram. So, go up to the Window menu and choose the Histogram command to bring up the Histogram panel. And notice that I currently have the channel set to RGB and I'm also looking at the expanded view. Next, drop down to the black and white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and I'm going to press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and then choose this command right there, Channel mixer.

And because I have the Alt or Option key down, that brings up the New Layer Dialog box, and I'll go ahead and call this guy Custom BMW. And then click OK. And now we're seeing the Properties panel with the Channel Mixer options. We don't need it to be that wide, so I'm going to go ahead and make the panel narrower and maybe a little longer so it's not cutting right into her jawline. Notice what we've got going here. We have x amounts of the red, green, and blue channel that we can mix together and we can do so, on a channel by channel basis.

So Ib Bygbjerg So in other words, when I'm working on the red channel and notice that I have access to all three channels here. When I'm working on the red channel, then I could tone down the amount of red that's going on inside the red channel and increase the amount of green and so forth. But if you're trying to make some black and white image, then you want to turn on this checkbox, Monochrome and that way your output channel is grey and you don't have any other options. So you're just determining how much each channel is contributing to the final greyscale image.

Now, notice by default, we're seeing 40% red with 40% green and 20% blue. So there's more red and green involved in our new channel than there is blue. And that's close to what Photoshop is doing by default when it's mixing a standard composite gray-scale image. However, even closer is this recipe here. I'll take the green channel up to 50% and I'll take the blue channel down to 10%. And so 40, 50, 10 is your everyday average standard mix for a gray-scale image. And you'll see, if I go ahead and switch over to the actual gray-scale composite that I created by just choosing the gray-scale command in the previous movie, you'll see that the images are very similar, and in places, they're downright identical.

So I'll switch back to our mixed image again, and then, I'll switch to the composite RGB. And really, the only area in which you're likely to see any differences are up here in this woman's hair, the woman in the background, who has that sort of magenta hair coloring going on. I'll switch back so you can see what I'm talking about. So, she has this kind of magenta to red hair, and, in the purplish area, is where we're seeing the biggest differences between This 40, 50, 10, mix and what Photoshop comes up with automatically.

So the only reason I mention that, is not because there's any reason you need to match what Photoshop does, but rather if you are going to dial in your own mix, then you probably want to stay away from these value. Notice also by the way that we have a total of 100%. You want to keep that total around 100% and any time you vary from that total, if I take the blue value up a percentage point for example, and we go to 101%, then we're going to get this little warning that's telling us that we might have too much luminance contribution, and as a result you're running the risk of blowing highlights inside your image.

Which is why, by the way, I have the histogram up on screen, so I can keep track of whether that's actually happening or not. So I'll go ahead and update that histogram, and you can see that actually we still have some room over here in the highlights, and we're not blowing anything at this point. So here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to take the green value down to zero, just so that we're getting something very different than we would normally get. Because, after all, by default, the green channel is making the biggest contribution. And then, I'll click inside that red value and I'll press Shift up arrow to take it to 50% and then I'll Tab to the blue value and take it up to 50%, as well.

So, we now have a total of 100% which makes Photoshop happy. That doesn't necessarily make the histogram happy, however. So, I'm going to update that histogram and notice, we not only have room over here in the highlights But we also have a little bit of room down here in the shadows. Now if you're finding that you're starting to lose shadow detail, what you need to do is adjust the constant value. And you go ahead and take that value down, and notice all that does if I just start reducing that value to negative 30 for example, that's just shifting the entire Histogram over, so now we're losing highlights like crazy.

Which is why you don't want to take the constant value that low. In my case I'm going to take it down to negative 2% and if I update that histogram, you'll see that my shadows are now ending very nicely at black. However, my highlights still have a lot of room, so I'm going to fill in those highlights by adding to the blue channel. So I'll just go ahead and press the up arrow key. Until I get to 56%, which means we now have a total of 106% luminescence. Again, that worries Photoshop. However where this image is concerned it works out beautifully.

I'll go ahead and update that histogram once again, and you can see now we have highlights to the variant. And we're not seeing any clip shadows, or any clip highlights. So we should be in good shape. Now I think we can still have some stronger contrast, and I want to add a little brightness too. And the easiest way to do that is to add a brightness contrast adjustment layer. So I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click that black white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Brightness Contrast. And I'll just go ahead and call this guy BC and then click OK.

And now I'll take the contrast value up to 40, which is pretty darn high, but I think it works well for this image. And I'll take the brightness value up to 20. So 20 for brightness 40 for contrast, and we end up getting this final effect right here. Now the sky is pretty darn bright. It's not quite blown out but it is very bright indeed. And if you wanted to check that beyond the histogram then you could create a Levels Adjustment layer and I'll do that by once again Alt clicking or Option clicking on that black white icon and choosing the levels command and I'll just go ahead and call this guy Tester.

And I'll click OK. And now I can Alt+drag on that white triangle there to see where my highlights are clipping, and as things are, if I just click and hold on that triangle, you can see that I've got a few clipped highlights showing up there in the sky. So that's right there in that central region of sky. If that worries me, I can return to the Channel mixer and I could take that blue value down, let's say a couple of percent. Update the histogram to see if things are looking good, they are.

Switch back to the Levels Adjustment layer. Alt or Option click and hold on that white triangle again, and now I have no clipping in the sky what so ever. I can run the same test on the shadows by Alt or Option clicking and holding on the black slider triangle, and I'm not seeing any clipping whatsoever there. So just to see what we've managed to accomplish here, this is the custom black and white version of the image, and this is your standard everyday average Photoshop gray-scale conversion. And if you ask me I think what we've come up with. Is a lot stronger image.

It has better contrast. It has better detail, and it has a certain gravitas that we're not going to achieve with the straight scale conversion.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate .

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Q: This course was updated on 09/18/2014. What changed?
A: Deke updated the course to reflect changes in the 2014 version of Photoshop CC. The updates are concentrated in "The Content-Aware Collection" and "Creating and Formatting Text" chapters, but there are new movies sprinkled throughout the course as well.
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