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The default grayscale recipe

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: The default grayscale recipe

In this exercise we are going to see how to mix a custom black-and-white blend using the Channel Mixer. I've got two versions of that Scott Griessel image open here; the original full-color Agrarian gothic.jpg file, and I also have open Grayscale composite.jpg. You may recall, this is a very first grayscale version of the file I created just by taking the full color composite RGB image, then I went up to the Image menu, I chose mode, and I chose Grayscale. So in other words it's Photoshop's default blend of the Red, Green, and Blue Channels and Photoshop follows the same recipe every time you choose that command when you're blending down the entire image.

The default grayscale recipe

In this exercise we are going to see how to mix a custom black-and-white blend using the Channel Mixer. I've got two versions of that Scott Griessel image open here; the original full-color Agrarian gothic.jpg file, and I also have open Grayscale composite.jpg. You may recall, this is a very first grayscale version of the file I created just by taking the full color composite RGB image, then I went up to the Image menu, I chose mode, and I chose Grayscale. So in other words it's Photoshop's default blend of the Red, Green, and Blue Channels and Photoshop follows the same recipe every time you choose that command when you're blending down the entire image.

You can actually mimic that recipe using the Channel Mixer. So let me show you that here. I am going to switch back to the full-color image, switch over to Layers panel, and I'll will bring up the Adjustments panel, and I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on that final icon in the second row which is the Channel Mixer icon. Let's go ahead and call this Custom B&W, and then I'll click OK. We've seen how you can select the output channel; that is you can modify the contents of the Red Channel or the Green Channel or the Blue Channel. However, when you select this Monochrome check box, then you're blending down just a single channel of information, and it's gray.

Now that doesn't mean you're actually converting to the Grayscale mode because you're applying an Adjustment layer. It does mean that even though you're still working in the RGB mode, each one of your channels Red, Green, and Blue at least the composite view of that channel is identical so that you're mixing what is ultimately a grayscale image. The only reason by the way when you go from Red to RGB, the reason it darkens down when you go from the Single Channel view to the Composite View is because when you're looking at a Single Channel, Photoshop is not color managing that transition, but as soon as you look at the full RGB image, it is color managing the image.

So that's what's going on there. Anyway, I am going to switch back to the Layers panel. We do still have a Red, Green, Blue image in our possession, so this is just a temporary modification by virtue of the fact we're applying an Adjustment layer. Notice this is the default recipe right here; Red 40%, Green 40%, Blue 20%. At least that's the recipe that the Channel Mixer automatically suggests when you turn on Monochrome. It is very similar by the way to the Grayscale Composite image. Notice this, if I go ahead switch to Grayscale Composite, things brighten up ever so slightly but we're getting something very nearly resembling the same effect.

Well, it's actually little bit different than this though; I am going to switch back to the RGB image and of course the Channel Mixer Adjustment layer, and I'm going to take this Green value, and I am going to raise it to +50, and I am going to take the Blue value and lower it to +10; so 40% Red; even more Green, very little Blue. Notice now if I switch to that Grayscale composite, the image barely shifts at all. So that is much closer to the actual recipe that Photoshop uses, and Photoshop uses a fixed recipe every time.

The reason that this recipe happens to be very close to what Photoshop uses is because it's something of an industry standard. This was actually the formula that was first employed by black-and-white television sets when they were interpreting full-color signals. It's a very common mix of the Color channels, and you should just bear it in mind when you're mixing your own black-and-white images that this is the default. So if you want to go your own way, you should probably vary from those settings. By the way, also notice that the total is adding up to 100% and you want to keep it at 100% unless you're keeping a close eye on your histogram, and you know for some reason that you have some wiggle room in the highlights, or the shadows or you have some specific reason for clipping those highlights and shadows, in which case you can go ahead and vary from that total.

Also, you've got this Constant option. Now, I don't think much of this Constant option, I'll show you why? If I raise it to 10%, I just scoot that entire histogram over 10%. So I completely lose my shadows. I end up clipping the heck out of my highlights. Where did this 10% come from? Nowhere. I just added 10% brightness to the entire image overall. It's analogous to the awful horrible behavior of the Brightness/Contrast command back in the old days. So I suppose, and I am being very generous here, I suppose there might be times where you could use this Constant value in very small increments like 1%, 2% that kind of thing, but like I said, I'm being very generous; anyway, let me show you why it is that Red and Green are emphasized so much more than Blue.

Let's go ahead and turn off this Adjustment layer for a moment, and hide the Adjustments panel, and then I will go back to the full-color image. Let's go over to the Channels panel a moment, and let's take a look at the independent channels. This is the Red Channel. So obviously, because we all as human beings resonate so brightly in that Red Channel, that is going to be a channel of emphasis when you go to mix down your final grayscale version of the image; that just stands to reason. That goes for when we are using the Black and White command too, which I'll show you shortly, you can up the amount of Red and Yellow that you include along within the image, and that just makes sense because that's going to elevate the skin tones.

Green meanwhile tends to be your Detail channel, and here's the reason why? Green is a channel of emphasis across all sorts of image capture devices. For example, consider your standard everyday average digital camera. It has the capture color in some way shape or form but it only has a single image sensor. So the light hits the image sensor and somehow not only does that image sensor have to be able to sense the brightness of the light that's hitting it, but it also has the sense of the color. Well, it can't really do the latter. It can't capture that color not in just one single pass.

So what it does instead, is it filters that light and so if you were to look at an image sensor, it actually contains as many pixels, just tiny little microscopic pixels of course, but it contains an image sensing pixel for every pixel inside your image; so any 2x2 block of pixel, so 2pixels wide and 2 pixels tall. It's got to basically filter this three colors of information; Red, Green, and Blue, so we've got 4 pixels, and we've got 3 colors. So what the Digital cameras typically do, and this is called a Bayer pattern by the way.

So what the image sensors typically do is they go ahead, and provide in any 2x2 block, there is one Red filter, there is one Blue filter, and then there is two Green filters. So in other words, across the entire image you have twice as much Green information as you do Red or Blue information. So as a result, Green is the channel that has the best luminance information inside it, where digital photographs are concerned, this also goes for a wider range of scanning devices as well. All right! So finally, Blue tends to be sort of the gunk channel.

It's where we as human beings respond the least, we're not resonating in this channel nearly as much, we are actually fairly complementary creatures where this channel is concerned. It's also where all of our blemishes are hanging out, as you can see here by; the location of all the freckles in her skin, not that freckles equate to blemishes, but you get the idea if we did have some blemishes going on, this is where they would be; skin modeling as well occurs here and so on. However, that's not always the case, and so I'm just telling you this is generally the way it is; Green has got the detail, Red has got our skin tones, Blue has got the junk.

But what you want to do is take a close look at your channels, and decide if that's really the way it is, because in our case, Blue is a fairly interesting channel. I mean, I actually like what's going on inside of her face inside this channel. All these freckles actually look really great and add drama it seems to me to the scene. Also, if you check out this woman who is out of focus in the background here, let's go ahead and zoom-in a little bit, actually quite a bit I guess. You'll notice that she has a fair amount, I'll go ahead and switch to the Red channel here, she has got an awful lot of posterizing, and stair-stepping, and stuff like that going on inside this Red channel.

So notice this very definite line, I'll switch to my Lasso tool; this very definite line that's going on right here along this bottom edge of her jaw, even though she is very much out of the focus in the background. So this is ultimately an artifact of the image. We have a fair amount of banding around her eye as well. Things stay pretty similar around the eye, in fact, you might argue they get a little worse in the Green channel but they get much better around the jaw line here in the Green channel. Then finally in the Blue channel, we actually have a fair amount of contouring going on both around the eyes and along the jaw line.

The only area that has sort of signs of posterizing is this area of intense shading right here. So we might even want to emphasize the Blue channel over the Green, and Red channels. In fact, what I would suggest where this particular image is concerned is that we go ahead and place primary emphasis on Blue, secondary emphasis on Green, and then the least amount of emphasis on Red, and I am going to show you how to do exactly that in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

247 video lessons · 32710 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 2s
    1. Welcome
      2m 1s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 6s
  2. 1h 5m
    1. What you can do with Photoshop
      1m 46s
    2. The mission-critical eyes
      2m 44s
    3. Copy Merged and Paste in Place
      6m 52s
    4. Sharpening details to match
      4m 34s
    5. Masking eyes
      9m 22s
    6. Working with clipping-mask layers
      9m 5s
    7. Shading with layer effects
      8m 10s
    8. Color and highlight effects
      4m 2s
    9. Refining layer masks
      5m 43s
    10. Fabricating the highlights in the pupils
      7m 33s
    11. Using a merged copy to sharpen
      5m 34s
  3. 2h 14m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      1m 16s
    2. Introducing the Auto commands
      7m 23s
    3. Adjusting Cache Level settings
      6m 8s
    4. Reading a channel-by-channel histogram
      6m 21s
    5. How the Auto commands work
      5m 22s
    6. Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color
      7m 7s
    7. Blending the Auto results
      4m 4s
    8. Introducing the Levels command
      6m 15s
    9. Using Levels as an adjustment layer
      3m 12s
    10. Applying custom Levels adjustments
      6m 8s
    11. Understanding the gamma value
      7m 39s
    12. The futility of Output Levels
      2m 56s
    13. Selections and adjustment layers
      5m 48s
    14. Opening up the shadows
      3m 40s
    15. Previewing clipped pixels
      4m 51s
    16. The black, white, and gray eyedroppers
      5m 7s
    17. Gray card tips and tricks
      6m 5s
    18. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      7m 29s
    19. Introducing the Curves command
      7m 44s
    20. Curves dialog box tricks
      7m 16s
    21. Curves adjustment layer tricks
      5m 45s
    22. Correcting an image with Curves
      5m 32s
    23. Filling in the highlights
      5m 42s
    24. Neutralizing casts and smoothing transitions
      5m 37s
  4. 1h 46m
    1. The art of enhancing edges
      1m 26s
    2. How sharpening works
      6m 2s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      6m 7s
    4. Introducing Unsharp Mask
      6m 19s
    5. Radius and Threshold
      6m 24s
    6. Sharpening colors vs. luminosity
      5m 56s
    7. Gauging the ideal settings
      8m 59s
    8. Unsharp Mask vs. Smart Sharpen
      7m 1s
    9. Using the Remove settings
      9m 30s
    10. The More Accurate checkbox
      6m 8s
    11. Saving your Smart Filter settings
      5m 31s
    12. The Advanced sharpening settings
      7m 52s
    13. Accounting for camera shake
      6m 18s
    14. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      6m 43s
    15. Sharpening with High Pass
      9m 23s
    16. The new and improved Sharpen tool
      6m 22s
  5. 1h 34m
    1. Edge's evil twin: noise
      1m 12s
    2. Color vs. luminance noise
      7m 21s
    3. Reducing color noise
      7m 45s
    4. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 59s
    5. Relegating an effect to the shadows
      6m 27s
    6. Switching between layer and mask
      6m 59s
    7. The Dust & Scratches filter
      4m 56s
    8. Adjusting shadow saturation
      5m 52s
    9. Combining High Pass with Lens Blur
      6m 57s
    10. Masking a layer of Lens Blur
      7m 34s
    11. Painting away High Pass sharpening
      8m 22s
    12. Building up a noise pattern
      6m 40s
    13. Converting noise to texture
      4m 24s
    14. Bleeding colors into paper
      6m 16s
    15. Matching different noise levels
      8m 31s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. We are the stuff of light
      1m 24s
    2. Applying automatic lens correction
      5m 53s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 44s
    4. Shadows/Highlights in depth
      7m 59s
    5. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      4m 43s
    6. Sharpening on top of blur
      7m 3s
    7. Sharpening the merged composition
      6m 16s
    8. Grouping and masking layers
      5m 40s
    9. Adjusting the density of a mask
      7m 14s
    10. Creating a Shadows/Highlights shortcut
      5m 47s
    11. Restoring detail with Shadows/Highlights
      6m 23s
    12. Changing the Shadows/Highlights defaults
      6m 21s
    13. Smoothing skin details with Gaussian Blur
      3m 56s
    14. Smoothing with High Pass
      5m 44s
    15. Lowering contrast with Gaussian Blur
      7m 4s
    16. Inverting a sharpening effect
      7m 5s
  7. 2h 32m
    1. Color becomes monochrome
      1m 31s
    2. Converting an image to grayscale
      6m 49s
    3. Extracting luminance information
      7m 37s
    4. Introducing the Channel Mixer
      10m 23s
    5. Aggressive channel mixing
      9m 42s
    6. Proofing CMYK colors
      7m 49s
    7. Color settings and intent
      7m 6s
    8. Practical Channel Mixer variations
      4m 30s
    9. Saving variations as layer comps
      7m 57s
    10. The default grayscale recipe
      8m 55s
    11. Creating a custom black-and-white mix
      6m 59s
    12. Shadows/Highlights in black and white
      4m 58s
    13. Introducing the Black & White command
      5m 55s
    14. Adjusting Black & White settings
      9m 39s
    15. Mixing a Black & White portrait
      6m 32s
    16. Black & White vs. Channel Mixer
      9m 21s
    17. Adding tint and color
      8m 0s
    18. Introducing the Gradient Map
      7m 10s
    19. Loading custom gradients
      4m 32s
    20. Editing gradient color stops
      9m 58s
    21. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      7m 13s
  8. 2h 10m
    1. Two great commands working great together
      1m 18s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 13s
    3. Setting key colors and Fuzziness
      5m 38s
    4. Predefined vs. sampled colors
      3m 57s
    5. The Localized Color Clusters option
      5m 41s
    6. Defining a selection with care
      4m 44s
    7. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      5m 20s
    8. Testing edges with the Magic Wand
      5m 14s
    9. Hand-brushing a selection
      5m 39s
    10. Saving and loading an alpha channel
      4m 35s
    11. Converting a selection to a layer mask
      2m 46s
    12. Switching between an image and a layer mask
      6m 58s
    13. Protecting elements with a layer mask
      8m 5s
    14. Duplicating and editing a layer mask
      7m 34s
    15. Introducing the Refine Edge command
      4m 46s
    16. Accessing the various Refine Edge options
      5m 35s
    17. Refine Edge's preview options
      6m 21s
    18. The Adjust Edge values
      4m 11s
    19. Edge Detection and Smart Radius
      6m 5s
    20. Using the Refine Radius tool
      8m 8s
    21. Using the Decontaminate Colors option
      7m 30s
    22. Old-school masking adjustments
      7m 7s
    23. Four micro mask adjustments
      8m 33s
  9. 3h 13m
    1. Photoshop's vector exceptions
      1m 11s
    2. Making text in Photoshop
      6m 18s
    3. Creating and editing a text layer
      6m 56s
    4. Font and type style
      7m 35s
    5. Type size and color
      7m 52s
    6. Combining layer effects and type
      10m 57s
    7. Drawing a custom shape layer
      8m 34s
    8. Side bearing, kerning, and tracking
      10m 36s
    9. Point text vs. area text
      8m 26s
    10. Selecting and formatting a paragraph
      5m 19s
    11. Copying and pasting unformatted text
      7m 45s
    12. Creating text inside a custom path
      6m 26s
    13. Creating text along a path
      8m 13s
    14. Adjusting baseline shift
      6m 16s
    15. Drawing a fading arrowhead
      7m 29s
    16. Fading a shadow with a layer
      5m 32s
    17. Logo creation and Fill Opacity
      7m 44s
    18. Stretching a background element
      6m 9s
    19. Drawing with shape outlines
      6m 18s
    20. Combining vector-based shapes
      6m 42s
    21. Masking vector-based shape layers
      6m 7s
    22. Correcting spacing problems
      7m 44s
    23. Drawing the ultimate specular sparkle
      8m 45s
    24. Preparing text for commercial output
      5m 9s
    25. Saving a high-resolution PDF file
      7m 11s
    26. Inspecting the final PDF document
      7m 8s
    27. Saving large poster art
      9m 32s
  10. 2h 36m
    1. What filters ought to be
      1m 25s
    2. Layer effects vs. filters
      6m 14s
    3. Carving with an Inner Shadow effect
      7m 45s
    4. Selling an effect with Drop Shadow
      7m 17s
    5. Creating blurry shadow type
      5m 30s
    6. Saving custom default settings
      6m 22s
    7. Creating a custom contour
      7m 3s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 35s
    9. Adjusting Angle and Altitude
      7m 8s
    10. Exploiting global light
      8m 11s
    11. Gloss and edge contour
      5m 8s
    12. Applying and creating layer styles
      6m 45s
    13. Loading, saving, and merging styles
      6m 17s
    14. Creating a textured bevel effect
      6m 56s
    15. Using shadows as highlights
      7m 39s
    16. Combining filters and effects
      6m 58s
    17. Working with random effects
      6m 55s
    18. Smoothing with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 13s
    19. Masking blacks from whites
      4m 37s
    20. Applying liquid styles
      4m 36s
    21. Simulating liquid reflections
      8m 12s
    22. Finessing and cropping a liquid effect
      7m 25s
    23. Initiating a displacement map
      6m 17s
    24. Applying a displacement map
      7m 37s
  11. 1h 12m
    1. Two words: Free Transform
      34s
    2. Scale, rotate, and constrain
      6m 30s
    3. Using the transformation origin
      7m 42s
    4. Applying a slant (aka skew)
      3m 37s
    5. The four-point "perspective" distortion
      7m 51s
    6. Two ways to make gradient text
      5m 59s
    7. Building complexity from a simple shape
      4m 42s
    8. Duplicating a series of transformations
      6m 3s
    9. Rasterizing a layer with its effects
      6m 41s
    10. Applying a custom warp
      7m 24s
    11. Blending and softening a warped layer
      4m 39s
    12. Creating spherical highlights
      6m 30s
    13. Using a center-source inner glow
      3m 51s
  12. 2h 42m
    1. Distorting reality
      1m 33s
    2. Extracting a foreground element
      6m 45s
    3. Introducing the Puppet Warp command
      7m 20s
    4. Setting and manipulating pins
      7m 48s
    5. Rotating pins and switching warp modes
      6m 41s
    6. Expanding and contracting the mesh
      6m 11s
    7. Changing the Density setting
      8m 0s
    8. Adjusting the pin depth
      5m 18s
    9. Winding an image into a pretzel
      6m 2s
    10. Applying Puppet Warp to type
      6m 30s
    11. Warping single characters
      6m 25s
    12. Editing puppet-warped text
      8m 24s
    13. Extending an image with Free Transform
      8m 46s
    14. Extracting from a white background
      10m 5s
    15. Tracing a shape with Puppet Warp
      9m 1s
    16. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 4s
    17. Warp, Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat
      8m 53s
    18. Saving and loading a mesh
      5m 59s
    19. Push, Mirror, and Turbulence
      11m 49s
    20. Lifting and slimming details
      8m 22s
    21. Warping fabric, arms, and legs
      7m 1s
    22. Masking and finessing the results
      10m 8s
  13. 3h 3m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 44s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw
      7m 40s
    3. Adjusting white balance
      7m 0s
    4. Selecting and synchronizing images
      6m 9s
    5. Making automatic adjustments and saving changes
      7m 19s
    6. Creating and managing snapshots
      8m 23s
    7. Adjusting the Exposure value
      6m 24s
    8. Working with clipping warnings
      5m 5s
    9. Adjusting Brightness and Contrast
      7m 35s
    10. Vibrance, Saturation, and Clarity
      9m 25s
    11. Recovery and Fill Light
      6m 57s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      7m 2s
    13. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      9m 44s
    14. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      7m 49s
    15. Applying manual lens corrections
      7m 19s
    16. Vignette and chromatic aberrations
      6m 21s
    17. Introducing the Tone Curves
      6m 9s
    18. Parametric curves and targeted adjustments
      6m 26s
    19. Correcting a low-noise photograph
      7m 35s
    20. Sharpening and high-noise photos
      8m 25s
    21. Selective Hue/Saturation adjustments
      5m 34s
    22. Selective Luminance adjustments
      5m 39s
    23. Adding grain and vignetting effects
      5m 23s
    24. Mixing a subjective black-and-white image
      7m 53s
    25. Colorizing with the Split Toning options
      4m 29s
    26. Opening a raw image as a Smart Object
      5m 39s
    27. Camera Raw wrap-up
      8m 38s
  14. 55s
    1. Until next time
      55s

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