Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop
Illustration by Richard Downs

Taking advantage of black-and-white adjustment layers


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Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop

with Bryan O'Neil Hughes

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Video: Taking advantage of black-and-white adjustment layers

Like a lot of things in Photoshop, there are a lot of different ways to make an image black and white. There are so many that there are entire books devoted just to the different ways to make an image black and white, but I want to show you just one way that's really powerful, and really easy to use. In fact, it's just as easy as Lightroom, and it gives you all of the flexibility, while allowing you to do some things that you can do uniquely in Photoshop. So, we're just going to come over to our Adjustment panel here, and we are going to click on Black & White, and it's very familiar; it looks a lot like Lightroom. I can toggle this eyeball to see the effect on and off.
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Watch the Online Video Course Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop
42m 1s Intermediate Apr 15, 2013

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Shoot in color, but think in black and white. In this course, Adobe Photoshop Senior Product Manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes shares his favorite techniques for transforming color photographs into black and white, a technique that provides more creative options than using your camera's black-and-white mode. Learn how to prepare and fine-tune your photographs in Lightroom, and then move them into Photoshop to take advantage of its nondestructive adjustment layers. The course also introduces techniques for using Photoshop to adjust the color of video clips.

Topics include:
  • Why black and white?
  • Shooting with black and white in mind
  • Setting up Lightroom and creating image versions
  • Utilizing presets effectively
  • Creating black-and-white HDR images with Lightroom and Photoshop
  • Taking advantage of black-and-white adjustment layers
  • Adjusting the toning of images
  • Working with the Silver Efex plugin
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Bryan O'Neil Hughes

Taking advantage of black-and-white adjustment layers

Like a lot of things in Photoshop, there are a lot of different ways to make an image black and white. There are so many that there are entire books devoted just to the different ways to make an image black and white, but I want to show you just one way that's really powerful, and really easy to use. In fact, it's just as easy as Lightroom, and it gives you all of the flexibility, while allowing you to do some things that you can do uniquely in Photoshop. So, we're just going to come over to our Adjustment panel here, and we are going to click on Black & White, and it's very familiar; it looks a lot like Lightroom. I can toggle this eyeball to see the effect on and off.

I can hit Auto, so that I adjust for the image. I see that there is some contrast between the various channels, and I can even use the on image tool. Now, it works a little differently in Photoshop. If I click this, rather than moving up and down, I move left and right while clicking to make the blue area darker, or lighter, or to make the red area lighter, or darker, but it's really easy to use, and I can do some really cool things in here that I couldn't do anywhere else. So, if I come up here to, say, Masks, I can come in, and I could just paint back areas of color.

So, as I'm doing this, I'm creating a layer mask, and this is the sort of thing that makes Photoshop so powerful, and so flexible. You can see I created a quick layer mask while I was doing that. Now, because this is all layer based, because I'm using adjustment layers, and masks, it's all nondestructive. Like Lightroom, I can track back in time, I can undo things, I can move between various states, and as long as I save out a layered document, which is to say, a PSD, or a TIFF file, then I have all of that flexibility moving forward. So, a lot power in Photoshop, but it's actually surprisingly easy to use when it comes to black and white, using the Black & White adjustment layer.

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