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Converting an image to black and white is the process of removing color from the image. But as you'll see in this lesson, sometimes allowing a little bit of the original color to show through, can be incredibly effective. I'll get started in this case by adding a black and white Adjustment Layer to my image. I can then fine tune the image. In this case, I'll use the on image adjustment in order to adjust the overall appearance. My overall luminance values in different areas of the image. When I'm happy with the overall black and white version of the image, I'm ready to reveal a little bit of color. And that process is actually remarkably simple.
All I need to do is reduce the opacity for my black and white Adjustment Layer. Now, it's important to point out that we'll be revealing some of the color, but we don't want to take this too far. For example, if I reduce my opacity significantly, all I'm really doing is toning down the colors, effectively reducing the saturation of the colors within the image. What I'm trying to accomplish here is a black and white image that has just a hint of the original color. To produce that effect, almost often work with an opacity setting of somewhere around 90 to 95%.
Now, sometimes on your monitor display that might not produce the most obvious effect. But if you make a print of the image, I think you'll find that it's particularly pleasing. One of the things I love most about the notion of revealing just a little bit of color from the original photo, is the impact it can have on the viewer. The tendency is for such an image to be interpreted as black and white, and yet, one where the viewer knows, what color each object is. The result is a greater level of engagement on the part of the viewer, which only adds to the impact of the image.
I find that this technique works remarkably well on portraits as well as on relatively subtle objects, such as flowers. Try it on a variety of images and see if you don't find it to be an incredible way to interpret a black and white image.
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