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Three ways to gray

From: Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

Video: Three ways to gray

Now, the overarching theme of this chapter is channel mixing, ways to mix channels together inside Photoshop. Many times the reason that you are going to want to mix channels together is to convert a full color image into a custom black and white image. So before we start looking at those methods for creating custom black and whites, I want to show you the three basic ways to get gray inside of Photoshop. Now, I will be demonstrating these three ways to gray using this image right here that's called YSM.psd and I have resorted to acronyms for my file naming conventions inside of this chapter just to mix things up, just to keep things interesting. In this case, YSM stands for you are smooshing me. If we see the image from her perspective afterall she is being rather smooshed by this fellow. He is taking up more than his fair share of the image I think.

Three ways to gray

Now, the overarching theme of this chapter is channel mixing, ways to mix channels together inside Photoshop. Many times the reason that you are going to want to mix channels together is to convert a full color image into a custom black and white image. So before we start looking at those methods for creating custom black and whites, I want to show you the three basic ways to get gray inside of Photoshop. Now, I will be demonstrating these three ways to gray using this image right here that's called YSM.psd and I have resorted to acronyms for my file naming conventions inside of this chapter just to mix things up, just to keep things interesting. In this case, YSM stands for you are smooshing me. If we see the image from her perspective afterall she is being rather smooshed by this fellow. He is taking up more than his fair share of the image I think.

I think it's a beautiful image though. It comes to us from photographer Alexander Hafemann once again of istockphoto.com. So what are we going to do? Well, we are going to test out as I say the three ways to gray. So I am going to create a few duplicates of this image. I am going to go up to the Image menu and choose the Duplicate command and I am going to call this first one Method 1 and click OK, and then we'll make a duplicate of that image and call it Method 2 and then I will go ahead and duplicate that image by choosing the Duplicate command from the Image menu and I'll call it Method 3, all right and click OK.

So we have got base images for each of our three methods here. Let's go ahead and advance over to Method 1, and the first method for creating a grayscale image. Before I show you that by the way, I need to show you how this image is constructed. I am going to bring up the Layers palette and you can see that there is the smart object that's called Close couple. So I went ahead and converted the background image to a smart object and then I've applied the High Pass filter and if you double-click on the word High Pass there, you will see that I applied a radius of 12 pixels or a fairly high radius value, go ahead and cancel out. And of course I also, if I double-click on this little slider icon here, you'll see that I set the Mode to Overlay, so that the High Pass filter is mixing in properly with the underlying original otherwise it would look like this, it would look all gray and bad of course.

All right, so I will Cancel out of there. Now, because I am setting the High Pass filter to a fairly high radius value, we're not getting so much of a sharpening effect rather we're just getting a high contrast effect and enhanced contrast effect and so this is without the filter. This is with the filter. So very subtle effect, and you can see that I have got a density mask going right here in order to limit the effects of the High Pass layer to just the darkest regions inside of the image. Okay, so I point that out just because that will make a difference in terms of my conversions. That's going to inspire Photoshop to bring up a bunch of alert messages as we work through this image. So Method number 1, I will go ahead and Shift+Tab away the palettes. Method number 1 for creating the grayscale image, is to go up to the Image menu, choose Mode and choose Grayscale, that's it. I am kind of reviewing familiar territory. We saw some of these methods way back in Chapter 01 of course.

But I will go ahead and choose Grayscale. Photoshop will come up with one of two messages depending on whether I have got a layered document, it will ask me if I want to flatten the image or not flatten the image. In this case, because I have got a smart object going with the smart filter applied to it, it's asking me do I want to rasterize the image meaning, do I want to basically flatten the image once again, convert all of the smart filters to just a base image. Or do I not want to do that, do I want to not rasterize the image? What I recommend you do is when in doubt, click on the Don't button. Whatever it is, don't flatten or don't rasterize, click on that, or just press the D key for Don't either on the Mac or the PC. What that gives us by the way, I will go ahead and bring back my Layers palette, you can see that in addition to a grayscale image -- I will go to the Channels palette, you can see that it's a single channeled image. We've just got a single gray channel. This guy right here Close couple Filter Mask is of course a filter mask that's assigned to the Smart Filter.

I will return to Layers palette and you can see that I do indeed have my smart object intact along with my Smart Filter and my density mask and so on. So that's a good thing. It's better to keep that information as you can as I have and you do that of course by clicking on the Don't button or pressing the D key. All right, so that's Method number 1. Method number 2, rather than creating a composite grayscale image which is what we just got through doing, you can keep a single channel inside the image. So you could go over to the Channels palette. So notice that I have the Method number 2 image opened here. I will go to the Channels palette and I could click on the Red channel, click on the Green channel, click on the Blue channel, decide which channel it is that I want to keep. In my case, let's say, you know what, Green looks like the best grayscale version of the image.

Then, I would go up to the Image menu, choose Mode, choose Grayscale so the exact same command, but because I have a single channel selected, Photoshop is going to dispose of the other two channels. And in doing so, it's going to say hey, do you want to flatten the layers? Yes or no baby, those are your only options, don't give me a D for don't this time around. Just do it or don't do it. I am going to say OK because that's the only choice I have if I want to continue on here, and you can see that we end up with a single gray channel of course and if I go back to Layers palette, things are flattened.

All right, so moving right along, here is Method number 3. Now you'll hear people say, gosh, you don't want to work this way, you don't want to convert an RGB image to a grayscale image composite-wise and you don't want to convert a single channel like Red, Green or Blue. Instead, you want to keep the real luminance information baby and if you want to go that route, then you go up to the Image menu, you choose Mode and you choose Lab Color in order to convert the RGB image over to Lab which is Luminance plus the A and B channels. So I will go ahead and choose Lab Color.

Do you want to rasterize or don't rasterize? Of course it's Don't, press the D key for Don't Rasterize. The image looks the same. So it's a good convention and we've managed to keep the smart object and the Smart Filter intact. Go over to the Channels palette, you can see that we have Lightness as well as the a channel which is the Tint information and a b channel which is the Temperature information. Obviously a and b would make, I would say remarkably poor grayscale versions of this image. So let's go back to Lightness and I will go up to the Image menu and I'll choose Mode and I'll choose Grayscale, same old, same old. Again, Photoshop is with the, do you want or do you not want to do it, because you've got a single channel selected? I want to so I will click OK. I end up with the single gray channel, layers are flattened.

So those are the three variations on the image, so I am going to Shift+Tab away my palette. All right, let's review what we've done. I am going to switch over to the Method number 1 image. Method number 1 you will recall is the RGB to Grayscale Composite Conversion ends up with this version of the image here, compare that to keeping the Green channel only, it's a slightly lighter version of the image. The shadows are a lot more open meaning the shadow information is lighter. Then finally, we've got the conversion of the lightness channel only. That's the lightest version of the image because that lightness channel is really designed to include the color information building on top of it as well. So again, this is lightness and this is green and this is the composite conversion. You choose, anyone of them is completely acceptable of course.

Those are the base conversion options for going from color to grayscale inside of Photoshop. We'll look at ways to create custom color to black and white conversions starting in the next exercise.

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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 · 26405 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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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