How to Create Black and White Images with Photoshop
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In this Photoshop video tutorial, I'll show you 4 ways of converting your color photos into black and white.


Hi guys, Yanik here for Yanik’s Photo School, and today’s post is inspired by the results of the Black and White Spider Awards that came out last week, basically I invite you to click on the link here in this tutorial for the Spider Awards so that you can go see the wonderful, wonderful Photography that’s there, they’ll be very, very inspiring for your future photography, I can bet on that. Now this post is all about black and white and have a converter color photo into black and white and for an example is we have this lovely photo here of my 91 year-old Grandpa, and basically we’re going to convert him into black and white. Now the first, we’re going to look at 4 different approaches to black and white converter in Photoshop CS3 or above, the first one is Grayscale, the second one is De-saturation, the third one is the Channel Mixer and last but not the least, the Black and White converting tool, which is new in Photoshop CS3, now if you have Photoshop CS2 and below, you won’t have this last option. Alright, the first one, Grayscale; I think you guys, most of you might notice one, it’s pretty basic, you go into Image, Mode and Grayscale; and there you go, you’ve just converted your image into black and white. Now if you want to tweak it, you can go into your Levels or Curves Adjustments, Dodge it, burn it, and do whatever you want to do with it. Alright, and we bring it back to color; the next option, Image Adjustments, De-saturate, boom, there you go, very similar to Grayscale. The difference with that is you can only, you can use this if you have multiple layers, you can de3-saturate just certain layers, with Grayscale it’ll convert all your layers to a Grayscale. So that’s the advantage of the De-saturation one instead of the Grayscale; so those are two very, very basic ones, but also to that lack control over what you do with your black and white images; the next two are more advanced and give you more control over how you convert your image and are my preferred options when I convert my images to black and white. Again, into Image, Adjustments and Channel Mixer; now you should have that in most versions of Photoshop. And this is the one that I actually use a lot because that’s the one I kind of grew up with within Photoshop CS and CS2, and CS3 now. Now the next one I’ll show you after, I haven’t played much with it yet, so bear with me there. So basically in this Channel Mixer dialogue box, what you need to do first is click the Monochrome box right at the bottom left corner, and by doing that you see your image switching to black and white. Now what’s important here, you see the red channel, the green and the blue channels, basically the RGB channels, and they come up to a total of 100%, that’s really, really important to know this because you kind of want to keep it to roughly around 110, or else we’ll start getting some clipping in your image, and what I mean by clipping is that you’ll have some blown out areas or black clipping as well on pure black areas, maybe you want that, maybe not. By default it’ll give you this percentage of each of the channels, and you can basically play with them, and as you can see you have some clipping occurring here in the hair and the skin if I boost up the red, so what you want to do is reduce the next color to around 100% and you can see that all the clippings is gone, and you can do that with all the channels and tweak your image just the way you want until you get your desired black and white effect. It’s a little bit longer than de-saturation or grayscale but you got a lot more control and you can make some really dramatic black and whites using the channel mixer this way. They also have some pre-sets where you can start of with this pre-set drop down menu here at the top. You can select from infra-red, the blue, the green, the orange, red and yellow filters and that can be the base for you to start, you see the orange ones start at 50-50, nothing in the blue, so you can start with that. And that would be the Channel Mixer, which is my favorite one, which is the one I use most often. Let me just cancel that. Last but not the least is the new one that’s in CS3, called Black and White and you’ll find it right here. Now the shortcut key for that is a bit long so as you plan on using this one, you might want to redo your shortcut key. An all-shift control B, you might as well go into your menu, it’ll be as fast. Alright, clicking on that, of course by default, it converts your image into black and white, and you have your channels right here, that instead of RGB, we got the Reds, Yellows, Greens, Cyans, Blues and Magenta, so you can really, really play with all those in different percentages. Of course you’ve got some presets here, Height, Contrast, Blue Filter, High Contrast to red and that would be your base start, so you can choose the filter that’s close to where you plan on going and then tweaking it after that using the different color channels. Now for skin, you’ll usually play with yellows and reds, since skin has those colors in them and etcetera, etcetera; and there is a Tint option down here, if you want to add a Sepia tone or any other color tone which is pretty neat, so you’re kind of getting the one color type of image, you can play with saturation on that as well and that’s a pretty cool feature in the Black and White option even though it’s not black and white. And there you go; those are the 4 color options in Photoshop CS3, in CS2 and below you’ll have three of those, and in CS3 and above you’ll have this lovely Black and White feature. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on converting your images to black and white, this is Yanik Chauvin signing out and we’ll talk to you soon, ba-bye.