There are at least four different
ways of converting color photographs to black and white using Photoshop.
The easiest is to simply desaturate the photo completly. The second
method is to convert to lab color and delete the color information. The
3rd method is to simply change the mode to gray scale.
The BEST method, in my opinion, is to use Image
- Adjust - Channel Mixer. (See bottom
of the page if you have PS CS3)
1- Click on
for larger image. Click on arrows for even larger image (lower right
hand corner). This is the original color shot. It is the Ghost Town of
Gilman, Colorado. Use back browser arrow to return to this page after
you have viewed the larger version.
2- Now go
to Image - Adjust - Channel Mixer.
Notice that the Red Channel is 100% while Blue and Green are 0%. All
three channels must add up to 100% (at least for now). In order to see
this photo in black and white you must check the
Monochrome box (see curser arrow)Photoshop Tips.
3- OK, now
lets change the tonal emphasis - sort of like using color filters with
black and white film. In this case we are making the green plus 40% - or
lighter. To balance the total to 100% I am reducing the blue channel 40%
- or darker. Notice that the green grass and trees are lighter and the
blue sky is darker.
let's try something different. Let's make the blue sky lighter (-40%)
and the green darker (+40%). Notice the difference? Of course you have a
great deal of control using this method. Experiment and be amazed.
5- Our last
example is to make both the green channel darker (-35%) and the blue
channel darker (-35%) and to bring the total to 100% by making the red
channel lighter (+170%). Remember the red channel started at 100%. Now
this is a pretty dramatic change in tonal values. Anyway, you get
the idea. Now you can make your black and white images resemble those
taken with film. In fact, you can even emulate different films, like
infared film. But that's another lesson.
6- If you have
PS CS3 it is a whole lot easier. Simply
select Image -
Black and White.
Now adjust any or all of 7 colors or use one of the 10 preselects. Great
black and white - instantly with a live preview to boot!