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Mixing a custom black-and-white image

From: Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

Video: Mixing a custom black-and-white image

Now that you have a sense of how you can use the Channel Mixer function in order to convert an RGB image to Black and White, let's use that exact same function to fabricate our own custom Black and White version of the image, something that pops a little better, something with a little more sizzle. Now if you are just joining me you can catch right up by opening this image right here, it's called the Industry standard gray.psd. It's found inside of the 13 Channel Mix folder. It's that same image from photographer Alexander Heathman. And what we've done here is we've used the Channel Mixture adjustment layer in order to duplicate the effects of an industry standard RGB to Grayscale conversion.

Mixing a custom black-and-white image

Now that you have a sense of how you can use the Channel Mixer function in order to convert an RGB image to Black and White, let's use that exact same function to fabricate our own custom Black and White version of the image, something that pops a little better, something with a little more sizzle. Now if you are just joining me you can catch right up by opening this image right here, it's called the Industry standard gray.psd. It's found inside of the 13 Channel Mix folder. It's that same image from photographer Alexander Heathman. And what we've done here is we've used the Channel Mixture adjustment layer in order to duplicate the effects of an industry standard RGB to Grayscale conversion.

Now bear in mind we haven't gotten rid of any color channels inside of this image. So it's still really truly an RGB image, as witnessed by the Channels palette. I am going to go ahead and bring my Channels palette up on-screen, and you can see that there is the RGB composite which comprises a Red channel, a Green channel, and a Blue channel. Now notice that every single one of these channels is identical to the others, therefore we have a no-saturation image. So we've robbed the image of all color saturation, thanks to the fact that Red, Green, and Blue have no variation between them.

Now the RGB composite does look a little different than the independent Red, Green, and Blue channels for the very simple reason that we have color management at work inside of Photoshop. Let's switch back to the Layers palette here. And you can see that we've got a B&W adjustment layer, that's the Channel Mixer adjustment layer. And if we were to turn it off, there is our original RGB image still intact so we have still got the colors to work with if we want to. And that's a great thing, because now we can modify our Channel Mixer settings in order to get a better black and white mix.

Now before we do I am going to go ahead and turn that adjustment layer back on. Before you start mixing I recommend that you bring up the Histogram palette. Now if you don't see the Histogram palette right here, if you don't see a tab for the Histogram palette, then go up to the Window menu and choose Histogram, and that will allow us to track the Luminance levels throughout the image. So the Histogram is of course a bar graph of all of the Luminance levels that we have available to us. Just to make sure that we can see as many Luminance levels as possible, I want you to go to the Histogram palette menu, and I want you to choose Expanded View, so that we are devoting 256 pixels to the width of this Histogram that is 1 pixel for everyone of the Luminance levels inside of an 8 bit per channel image.

I am going to go ahead and collapse my Color palette. And now let's go ahead and double-click on the icon for the Channel Mixer dialog box. Now I want to make sure that I am seeing the Channel Mixer dialog box in it's entirety as I am here. And I want to be able to see the Histogram palette at the same time. Now this dude is a big image hog as we well know by now. He is smushing her. So I am going to go ahead and drag the image over a little bit so that we could at least see part of her. I am not sure that I want to see half of her eyes. So let's for aesthetic purposes here let's just see one of her eyes, and of course her nose and her mouth as well this guy's entire face, bless him.

Now here is what I am going to do. I am going to go ahead and raise the amount of Red inside of this image, because this is a portrait image I want to emphasize the Red Channel. And so I've raised that Red value to 60%. You can see there are total is now 120%, all right. So that's too much when we think. Anything over a 100% is worth a warning. We also have our Histogram palette up here which is a Cast Histogram, meaning that is not a 100% accurate. In order to update the Histogram so that it represents the image at the present moment in time, you can either click on this Caution icon or on this sort of Revolving Arrow icon right there. Either one will update the Histogram, so it's just basically slightly modifies the Histogram.

You can see that the Histogram does run up against the right edge, meaning that we have clipped highlights. So this is no good. We need to take down one of the values. I am going to tab down the Green, I am going to take that value all the way down to 0. So I am going to take it too far down. Now, notice that we are missing this whole range of highlights here inside the Histogram. Also witness by the fact that the image is awfully gray, it's very muted on-screen. Now I am going to tab down to Blue, and I am going to take that Blue value up. And I am Shift+Up Arrowing until I have a Blue value of 70%. So I am taking it through the roof here. So we have 60% Red, no Green, and 70% Blue. That's a total of a 130%. That's too high as we can see, if we were to go ahead and update that Histogram. We do have a big spike over here on the right side thus indicating that we have blown highlights.

So I am going to return into the Green value here, Shift+Tab to it. And then I am going to take that Green value down. So I am Shift+Down Arrowing until I get a total of a 100%. So that means taking the Green value to -30%. Notice that you can go with negative values if you want to. You can subtract a channel from the sum of these channels here inside the Channel Mixer dialog box. It's totally acceptable if you want to go that route. Now we are still missing highlights here inside the Histogram, so that's a bad thing. Even though we have a total of a 100% which would seem to be enough in order to create a luminance balanced image. We are favoring the shadows. So we need to bring back our highlights, and I am going to let Blue do the work, and I am just going to Up Arrow. So I am raising that Blue value by nudging it with the Up Arrow key on the keyboard until we take the Histogram all the way over to the right edge.

And so we are having a little bit of clipping going on but that much. Let's go ahead and update that Histogram to make sure that it's as accurate as humanly possible here. And that looks pretty darn good, that looks like a nicely balanced Histogram, even though our total is a 106%. Now we are getting a warning down here that's telling us maybe you are going too far, we don't care. I really don't care what this total is as long as the Histogram looks good, and as long of course as the image looks good on screen as well. So this is just kind of an FYI. Just keep it in the back of your mind as you work along. Now I like this. I am going to click OK in order to accept this modification. This may not look that different than what we had before. So let's Shift+Tab away our palettes and let's do a before and after. This is the before version, this is the Industry standard RGB to Grayscale conversion. And this is our custom conversion, actually much better. We have better highlights going on inside of the image hog's face here. Also better highlights going on inside of her face, and inside of her eyes, and inside of her lips and nose and her hair especially.

Look at that hair. This is before, dim hair no good, this is after, beautiful lustrous shinny blond hair. Now that blond is better than brunette just -- as long as she is blond we might as well take advantage of it and make that hair really shine. So that's one of the many ways you can fabricate a Custom black and white conversion inside of Photoshop using the Channel Mixer command. In the next exercise, we are going to see how we can take this Custom black and white photograph and imbue it with a little bit of color in order to create a professional quality Sepia tone.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

190 video lessons · 26280 viewers

Deke McClelland

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2h 13m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 10s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 40s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 4s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 34s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 12s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 9s
    9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
      7m 22s
    10. The Fill Opacity Eight
      4m 30s
    11. Blending Smart Filters
      7m 24s
    12. Cleaning up edges
      7m 39s
    13. More fun with luminance blending
      6m 22s
    14. A first peek at the Calculations command
      12m 11s
    15. Masking a softly focused model
      11m 46s
    16. Moving layers and masks between images
      7m 35s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 13s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 50s
  2. 2h 33m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 18s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 3s
    6. Masking an adjustment layer
      6m 37s
    7. Creating two windows into an image
      7m 42s
    8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
      3m 46s
    9. Mapping a texture onto an image
      4m 1s
    10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
      6m 44s
    11. Welcome to the glass composition
      3m 18s
    12. Balancing shadows and highlights
      5m 51s
    13. Masking the glass
      7m 24s
    14. Masking the text
      9m 23s
    15. Adding and blending the goldfish
      8m 45s
    16. Assembling the perfect group photo
      5m 12s
    17. Aligning photographs automatically
      5m 26s
    18. Masking in each person's best shot
      5m 18s
    19. Masking densely packed people
      6m 17s
    20. Crafting the perfect final poster
      5m 16s
    21. From the improbable to the impossible
      1m 56s
    22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
      10m 0s
    23. Upsampling and blurring a background
      8m 39s
    24. Adding a knockout mask
      8m 3s
    25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      3m 46s
  3. 2h 27m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 22s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 22s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 4s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      6m 0s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 40s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 56s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 35s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 48s
    14. Adjusting the knockout depth
      8m 48s
    15. Fashioning a depth map
      6m 12s
    16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
      6m 38s
    17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
      6m 25s
    18. Sharpening an archival photograph
      7m 7s
    19. Creating an edge mask
      8m 29s
    20. Making a High Pass sandwich
      7m 46s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 2s
    22. Customizing your sharpening effect
      4m 6s
  4. 2h 3m
    1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
      1m 39s
    2. Three ways to gray
      7m 49s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 10s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 1s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 43s
    9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
      3m 56s
    10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
      5m 58s
    11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
      5m 49s
    12. Infusing luminance levels with color
      5m 44s
    13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
      4m 58s
    14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
      5m 37s
    15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
      7m 39s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 18s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 9s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 8s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 37s
    2. The Calculations command
      8m 16s
    3. Blue Screen blending
      7m 40s
    4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
      5m 53s
    5. Brushing away color fringing
      7m 24s
    6. Locking the transparency of a layer
      6m 22s
    7. Nondestructive layer painting
      7m 36s
    8. How the Add blend mode works
      8m 40s
    9. How the Subtract blend mode works
      6m 43s
    10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
      5m 33s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 25s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 24s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 11s
    15. Gathering details with Apply Image
      9m 43s
    16. Dodge highlights, burn shadows
      6m 6s
    17. Dodge and Burn in action
      8m 24s
    18. Painting in the scalp
      10m 1s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 53s
    20. Compositing complementary images
      4m 13s
    21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
      6m 40s
    22. Crafting the final composition
      7m 7s
  6. 1h 57m
    1. Mark of the Pen tool
      1m 35s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 25s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 15s
    7. Adding and deleting interior points
      6m 6s
    8. Converting a path to a selection
      3m 35s
    9. Converting a path to a mask
      6m 38s
    10. Smooth points and control handles
      8m 57s
    11. Making cusp points
      6m 0s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 55s
    13. Turning a path into a shape layer
      8m 57s
    14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
      7m 52s
    15. Mixing layer and vector masks
      10m 14s
    16. Editing character outlines as paths
      8m 39s
    17. Using the Convert Point tool
      7m 8s
  7. 3h 17m
    1. Where there's a will, there's a way
      1m 18s
    2. Masking natural cast shadows
      4m 10s
    3. Applying the cast show
      4m 2s
    4. Creating a difference mask
      3m 7s
    5. Applying an arbitrary map
      3m 50s
    6. Making the flesh mask
      7m 17s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 49s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 53s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 55s
    16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
      4m 4s
    17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
      6m 14s
    18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
      7m 29s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 43s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 22s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 53s
    23. Masking an image against a busy background
      5m 15s
    24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
      6m 52s
    25. Masking with arbitrary maps
      9m 32s
    26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
      10m 51s
    27. Combining arb maps with paths
      9m 28s
    28. Masking with the help of the History brush
      11m 38s
    29. Creating a High Pass mask
      7m 25s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 29s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 6s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 50s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 9s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 9s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 13s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 22s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 18s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      6m 0s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 25s
    13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
      4m 56s
    14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
      12m 7s
  9. 2h 8m
    1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
      1m 13s
    2. The displacement map
      8m 24s
    3. Making custom waves
      7m 14s
    4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
      4m 32s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 28s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 34s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 7s
    10. Dipping the moon into the water
      6m 18s
    11. Turning flesh into stone
      7m 55s
    12. Wrapping the stone around the face
      7m 27s
    13. Softening a displacement map
      8m 5s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 22s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 48s
    16. The amazing credit card type effect
      6m 56s
    17. Lightening the credit card letters
      6m 16s
    18. Wrapping the background around the text
      6m 27s
  10. 1m 43s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 43s

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