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Using the Black & White adjustment layer

From: Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

Video: Using the Black & White adjustment layer

There are lots of ways to convert a color image to black and white in Photoshop. One of my favorites is the Black & White adjustment layer, because it's relatively easy to apply unlike some other methods, but it gives you control over the brightness of each color as you convert from color to black and white. The Black & White adjustment layer isn't new in itself but what is new in Photoshop CS4 is that you can apply it from the new Adjustments panel like the other adjustment layers. I'm going to apply a Black & White adjustment layer here by going to the Adjustments panel and clicking on this icon right in the middle.

Using the Black & White adjustment layer

There are lots of ways to convert a color image to black and white in Photoshop. One of my favorites is the Black & White adjustment layer, because it's relatively easy to apply unlike some other methods, but it gives you control over the brightness of each color as you convert from color to black and white. The Black & White adjustment layer isn't new in itself but what is new in Photoshop CS4 is that you can apply it from the new Adjustments panel like the other adjustment layers. I'm going to apply a Black & White adjustment layer here by going to the Adjustments panel and clicking on this icon right in the middle.

When I click there, I see the new Black & White adjustment layer in the Layers panel and the Adjustments panel has changed to show me controls for just the Black & White Adjustment. There are several ways to work here. You could come and just click the Auto button. But the beauty of this adjustment is that you can do it yourself. So I'm not going to go there. You can also apply a tint by just clicking this button right here. That gives you a monochrome look, and you can change that tint by clicking in this field to open the Color Picker and choosing a different color.

So I might go up and add a blue tint, maybe make that a little lighter, and say OK. I'm going to uncheck that. Another option is to use the presets available from the menu here at the top of the panel. These simulate the effect of camera filters. So for example, if you try the Blue filter the blue sky gets light and the Red filter makes the blue sky dark. I'm going to try the Yellow filter. I like the look of that but I'd like to customize it. I could come down and change these sliders myself just guessing at which one controlled which color in this image.

But there's a better way to do it. I'm going to click at this icon, which sets up the On Image controls. And now I can come into the image and just click and drag in an area and the sliders will move with me. For example if I wanted to darken this area, I don't have to guess whether this is yellow or green. All I have to do is click here and when my cursor changes, I'll move to the left and you'll see that in the Black & White Adjustment panel that yellow slider is moving and in the image the yellows are getting darker.

If I want to lighten area, up here for example, I'll click and I'll drag to the right. This is actually moving the Cyans slider, something I might not have guessed if I didn't have this On Image control. And that's how easy it is to use a Black & White adjustment layer in Photoshop CS4. It will give you the freedom that you need to control the process and hopefully give you an image that you like without a lot of hard work.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

103 video lessons · 67535 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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