Join Bryan O'Neil Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video B&W and toning, part of Lightroom Classic CC: Mastering the Develop Module (2017).
- [Instructor] Okay, let's talk about converting this image to black and white, and this is a subject that I love, I've written a couple of books on it, and I've done multiple courses on it, black and white is a very deep subject, there's a lot to it, so we're just going to go over the basics here, and black and white's just, it's a ton of fun in Lightroom. The first thing that I should say is, I like this image in color. I might like it more in black and white, I might not, a lot of the time with a black and white conversion, you're going to be on the fence, so what I would say is let's hit G, go back to the library module, and I'm just going to right click the image here, and create a virtual copy.
What that's going to do is it's going to give me a copy exactly as it is now, so I have a perfectly preserved color one, and I literally have a duplicate file that I can make black and white, because a lot of the time, I want the best of both worlds, I want to have a color image, I want to have a black and white images as well, so, I've got another image, I'm going to hit D to jump into the development module, looks just as it did just as we left it, and we're going to make this black and white, now, making it black and white is more than just subtracting the color from it, it's often introducing more drama to it.
Okay, so it is as simple as just hitting B&W over here, which converts it to black and white, and I like it, there's a lot of lines, there's a lot of contrast, there's a lot of different tones, all the reflection looks really cool. I can adjust the individual colors, as we did before, and it's going to have a different effect, if I take orange, it's definitely going to play around with all those values, but it just looks different because I've simplified the content, so, I certainly encourage you to grab your targeted adjustment tool, and click around on the image and interact with it, but, that's not what I want to do with the black and white, with the black and white, I pretty much have it where I want, you'll notice there's sort of this nice gentle S shape that differentiates the colors, it gives a little separation between them.
What I would do at this point, is I'd come all the way back to where we started, up here to the tonality of the image, and let's think about it again, because at this point, I want it to be a little more dramatic, so I might give it more clarity, it doesn't have that same HDR feel, because the color's been subtracted. I might open up the shadows more, I might condense them a little more. I might choose to pull the exposure down a little, and give it a darker, sort of moodier feel. And remember that even something like temperature still affects a black and white image, I'm adjusting the color temperature underneath it, which is to say that if I cool it way down, or I warm it up, it's going to affect the sky, so a lot of people don't realize that temperature affects a black and white image, we think of it only as color.
So we've made some serious changes there, let's take a look there. Huge difference, obviously from color, but we haven't just removed the color, we've introduced a lot more drama to it as well. So I really like the black and white image, I don't know that I like it more, but, I like having a virtual copy, I like being able to push it really far there. The other thing that I would do to it, and I don't do this to all my black and white images, is I can add some toning to it. And so this is really easy to do, I want to show you a couple of tricks to get the most out of this, when I started using this, I thought that if I wanted a sepia tone, I needed to sort of choose where I thought the warm tone was, and then bump up the saturation and say, "oh, that's not it, I need to come over here, "no that's not it," here's how you want to do this.
Use the Option or Alt key, while you're holding the hue slider, and what that's going to do is it's going to temporarily give you a 100% preview of full-strength saturations, so that you can find the tone you want, I want this warm sepia tone here, then release and just build up the saturation a tiny bit. You'll notice that you have a highlight and a shadow region, so let's say that maybe we want to do the same one, I'm going to hold the Option or Alt key, I'm going to choose similar tone here, like so, and I can then build up the saturation, the other thing we could do is we could do a split tone, which is just what it's called there, where I have a colder shadow tone.
Option or Alt key, pick a cool tone, gently build up the saturation, and what's neat about this because it's looking a little cold to me, is I can change the balance of those, completely cold in shadows, completely warm in highlights, or maybe tipping just a little bit towards the highlights, that's how you do toning here, as anywhere else, a little bit goes a long way, and remember, we just did a lot of stuff, if I want to step backwards, I can come over here and I can say, well let's look at it in each step of those, and let's also look at it, just going back to when it was just black and white, which, in this case, I like that better than I like it toned, so, toning can be fun, don't feel like that's something you have to do to every black and white image, I probably use it on about 10% of my black and whites, and again, if you want to learn more about black and white, there are entire courses on that, it is a really fun subject, very great way of making your image look timeless, plays really well with old stuff, like what you see here.
So hopefully that gives you an overview of what you can do with the tonality and the color of an image, the tools that we just used, the tools going from the color temperature, to the tonal controls, even the curves, and then the refined colors, that's where I'm living with every single image. Those are going to be your tools that you use all the time, so it's really important to get to know them well.
In this course, Adobe Director of Product Management Bryan O'Neil Hughes explores the Develop module in-depth, stepping through the module's core tools and sharing insights along the way. The course concludes with chapters on essential time-saving shortcuts and on taking photos from Lightroom Classic CC to Photoshop for further enhancement.
- Order of operations
- White balance, tone, and color
- Lens correction and perspective control
- Applying presets on import
- Syncing files
- Lightroom across devices (iOS, Android, and the web)
- Moving to Photoshop