View Full Version : black and white conversion secrets?
Anyone want to share their secrets to converting a colour to black and white in Photoshop? Any actions, plugin or mixtures you prefer?
I use Fredmiranda's B/W and it's nice having different filters available to preview and see what works.
I also use the FM action for "quick" conversions and I'm pretty pleased with it, but for more "difficult" shots I prefer to do the conversion manually via separating each RGB channel into its own layer. There's a quick tutorial and example for this method here:
The advantage to this method is that I can mask each channel individually to "bring out" tonal ranges in specific parts of the image, rather than across the board. (In the example I linked to, for example, Petteri uses a mask on the green channel to bring out the texture on the girl's shirt.) I've personally used this "masked channel" conversion technique to do things like brighten all of the flowers within a multicolored bouquet (since there was no single color filter that would have brought all the flower out from being blended into the foliage). It can be a little time-consuming the first few times, but with some practice, doodling with the mouse on the masks for each color layer becomes second nature. It's like dodging and burning, except with using the actual information within the color file.
I've used the channel mixer method before and that worked well, but the FM action automated a lot of what I was doing via the channel mixer and it's still what I use for most of my conversions. There's no need to spend more time in Photoshop than necessary. :D
I've written about my method at length here at RFF one day. See in this thread:
I just mess around w/the channel mixer until I get something I like, remembering to use the different color settings as if they were color filters.
I'm not against pre-canned actions for those who like to use them, but you'll never learn much about how to do good conversions if you do. Just learn some of the (easy) standard techniques -- Channel Mixer, RBG separation, Lab Color luminosity channel -- and the conversion will be in your control.
What Gene said....I personally prefer Channel Mixer.
(By the way, Gene, I am still waiting to be paid....It'll happen!)
I use this method:
Channel mixer is okay but to see the results of different settings, you need to type in numbers into the box while with the above method, you just drag the slide bar.
I found this reply on another forum site:
You can get all the B&W film filter effects nicely with Photoshop Channel mixer, but you have to "mix" the channels. When the channel mixer window comes up, first check the "monochrome" box. Then start pushing the sliders around.
For an Orange filter effect: +78 Red, +22 Green, 0 Blue
For a Red filter effect: +100 Red, 0 Green, 0 Blue
For an Infrared effect: +178 Red, +82 Green, -142 Blue
Basically, add to the color of the filter your are emulating while subtracting from others to preserve highlights.
There are many other methods, actions, and plugins to do B&W conversions. My favorite is the dual Hue/Sat layer technique.
Create two Hue/Sat adjustment layers.
On the top Hue Sat layer, set saturation to -100 to remove all color
On the bottom Hue/Sat layer, set blend mode to Color, then grab the Hue slider and move it around for infinite tone combinations.
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