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There's nothing quite like a great black-and-white image. In this workshop, author and trainer Tim Grey shows you how to create the best possible black-and-white interpretations of color photographs using Adobe Photoshop. From very basic grayscale conversions to advanced multiple-channel blending using layer masks, Tim explores a wide variety of methods that you can use to produce the best black-and-white results. Afterwards, tackle a set of real-world projects that combine a variety of techniques to produce the final image. Note: This course was recorded in Photoshop CS5, but was created with users of both Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS4 in mind.
The black and white adjustment provides six sliders that create an incredible amount of flexibility. Even better, you can manipulate those sliders by working directly on the image rather than with the sliders themselves, as you'll see in this lesson. Let's get started. First I'm going to add a new black and white adjustment, of course, so in this case I'll click on the Create New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel and then choose Black and White from the popup menu. As you can see I have a baseline black and white interpretation of the image and I could immediately start working with my sliders.
For example I know the wheat fields are green maybe with a little bit of yellow in them. And the sky is going to mostly be cyan and blue. However I don't need to work with those sliders directly. Instead, I'm going to turn on the on image adjustment capability. By turning on this option, I'm able to sample various areas of the image and then apply adjustments by working directly on the image. Let me show you how it's done. We would assume that the wheat in the foreground is green, maybe with a little bit of yellow in it, so let's click on that area and we'll see that the yellows value lights up. That indicates that the pixel I clicked on is predominantly yellow. If I drag my slider to the right that area will be brightened up. Notice that I'm adjusting the yellow slider without actually touching the yellow slider.
I'm working directly on the image. Continuing to hold the mouse button down, I can drag to the left. To darken up those areas. In this case I think I'd like to brighten them up just a little bit so I'll drag to the right to an appropriate level. Then I'll simply move my mouse up over to the sky and click and you can see that this area is mostly blue. My blues value has been highlighted, and now, continuing to hold the mouse button down, I can click and drag to the left to darken up the blues. This allows us in this case to get a tremendous amount of drama up in that sky.
I can continue working in this way, clicking and dragging in areas that I'd like to brighten or darken. Working directly on the image. I don't even have to think about my sliders over on the adjustments panel. Notice for example I click on the house here and it's mostly red but as you can see there's not a tremendous amount of red. And so we're not going to have a strong influence. And in fact, this house is rather weathered and very neutral. Almost perfectly gray, and so not any of the sliders is really going to have a significant effect on the house itself. For most photographers, the notion of working directly on the image rather than adjusting a series of sliders makes perfect sense. By leveraging the power of the on image adjustment for the black and white adjustment layer, you can work more efficiently and in a way that makes more sense for most photographers.
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