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Old August 29th, 2004, 09:48 PM   #1
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Colour to B&W question for The Jeff

Q for Jeff Donald

Jeff, in a different thread you mentioned some online tutorials for converting colour photos to black and white. Just wondering if you could reccomend one in particular. I've got a bunch of colour photos that I want to change to B&W and have printed. So far I've just been desaturating in Photoshop and then adjusting the brightness/contrast until it pleases the eye.

Thanks!
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Old August 29th, 2004, 10:43 PM   #2
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to convert to B&W never, never, never, use Image>Mode>Gray Scale. visible banding will occur and you'll lose a great deal of tonality and contrast.

If you want to spend a few buck get this plugin for PS from the Imaging Factory. It does great B&W conversions.

The next best method is as follows:

Open image in PS and duplicate the layer.

In the layers palette make a hue & Saturation adjustment layer, click OK in the window that appears

Make a second Hue & Saturation adjustment layer, click OK in the window that appears.

(If you don't know how to make an H&S adjustment layer go Window>Layers>click on the half black half withe circle and select Hue/Saturation).

Now click on the H&S adjustment layer icon (half circles) and in the H&S window adjust the saturation to -100 (lowest number to the left), click OK.

Click on the second adjustment layer to select it.

Now look at the Layers palette and find the Blending Mode drop down (should say normal), it in the upper left portion of the palette. Change the setting from Normal to Color.

Click on the H&S icon and the H&S window will appear.

Move the Hue adjustment to get the gray scale that you like for your image.

This is a Russell Brown technique.
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Old August 29th, 2004, 11:30 PM   #3
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Perfect!

That's why you are "The" Jeff!

Thanks!
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Old August 30th, 2004, 07:38 AM   #4
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The Channel Mixer adjustment layer in Photoshop would let you do this in one step. Click on Monochrome in the Channel Mixer window and then you can use the RGB channels to control the contrast.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #5
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The Channel Mixer is another method I use occasionally. The look is different between the two methods and overall I've had better success with H/S adjustment layers.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #6
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I figure that any color adjustments or changes are really doing the same thing, which is adjusting the color channels. I like the Channel Mixer because it let's me know exactly how those adjustments are being made.

Another method that I like to use when I don't want to put too much effort into it is the Gradient Map adjustment layer with a black to white gradient. It is not as tweakable as the Channel Mixer, but it is easy and looks much better than simple desaturation.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 12:01 PM   #7
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I think you can never have too many alternatives on such a task. One method does not seem to cover all bases.

I had not tried the H/S adjustment layer technique that Jeff mentioned, but it looks very good.

The tool that I most often use is Fred Miranda's "B&W Workflow Pro" Photoshop plug-in. It offers 3 general techniques for accomplishing the conversion, with the semi-manual and full-manual methods basically centered around channel balance manipulation. It also offers duotone and tritone options as well as "film grain". For $30 it's hard to beat.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:02 PM   #8
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Fred has a bunch of very affordable PS plugins that are hard to beat.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 02:40 PM   #9
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I got this tip from a website..

-Add a new "adjustment layer" to your base image and pick the Channel Mixer type. Now you can channel-mix like mad and still have the "layer undo" advantage.
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