Our thanks to Rod Wheelans FRPS,MFIAP,MPAGB,FIPF,AMPA,APAGB. for allowing us to reproduce the following on B&W Conversion and Printing advice.
There are many, many ways of converting from a colour image to B&W, in Camera Raw, Photoshop and by 3rd party plug-ins. You can also choose “In-Camera” monochrome for a much smaller file but please don’t!
1. Image►Mode►Greyscale (Surprisingly good but convert back to RGB)
2. Image►Adjust►Desaturate Shift+Ctrl+U (Eliminates colour without altering brightness values which can make different colours very similar.)
3. Image►Adjust►Hue&Saturation►Desaturate 100% (As above)
4. Image►Mode►Lab Delete all channels except the Lightness Channel, then Image►Mode►Greyscale, then Image►Mode►RGB (Gives lighter tones and separates colours better than just Greyscale)
5. I have my favourite quick method set up as an Action –
Image►Mode►Lab ►Desaturate► Image►Mode►RGB (I find this satisfactory for 90% of my images.)
6. Image►Adjust►Channel Mixer & tick the Monochrome and Preview boxes.
This is the favourite of many advanced workers as it gives a high degree of control using the colour sliders. It takes time to master but can be worth the effort. To maintain the same brightness levels you should aim for a combined value around 100% but please experiment. (You don’t usually touch the Constant slider). Try some of these combinations.
Red 100% Green 0% Blue 0% (Default Red filter effect)
Red 50% Green 50% Blue 0% (Good landscape effect)
Red 0% Green 100% Blue 0% (Green filter effect)
Note: Channel Mixer has been overtaken by the CS3 Mono Converter – a much better tool.
7. CS3 Monochrome Converter
When the menu opens the default settings are applied. You can try Presets or Auto and you can save your own custom presets. Whatever you do it is just a starting point.
Experiment with the colour sliders (make sure the Preview box is ticked) or you can adjust with the cursor hovering on the image. Choose the area you are interested in, Left Click and Drag. Only the colours that make up that area are adjusted but they are affected over the whole image.
You can also apply a colour tint. Tick the Tint box and experiment with the sliders.
Image►Calculations Alt+ Ctrl+C
I don’t much like Calculations but nearly everyone is frightened of the dialogue box so it’s worth learning just to impress the less adventurous!
All it does is blend two grayscale channels in various combinations and styles. Your task is to choose the two channels that blend best and to make it look darker (Multiply) or lighter (Screen). (By default it blends two copies of the Red Grayscale Channel in Multiply mode but you are free to choose many other channels and blend modes in multiple combinations).
9. Black & White Conversion from Camera Raw
I don’t use this much but it works.. When you open your image in Camera Raw – you can now open Jpeg and Tiff in the same menu – click on the HSL/Grayscale tab and tick the Convert to Monochrome box. Click on the Basic tab and adjust Exposure, Black Point, etc. Then click on Tone Curve tab and tweak your image there. Quick and easy and your image won’t need too much adjustment when you open it in Photoshop.
10. Magic with Hue & Saturation Layers
Open two Hue & Saturation Layers at the top of the stack, set the top one to Blend Mode Colour and move the Saturation Slider to Zero. Click on the lower Hue & Saturation layer and experiment with Hue Slider and the Saturation Slider – both in Master and in Red, Green & Blue.
You can also experiment with Lightness. For example, to darken a “blue” sky choose Blue from the drop down menu and move the Lightness Slider to Zero.
10. Printing B&W
This is a whole subject in itself but use a suitable good paper such as Permajet Portrait, Portfolio, Matt Plus or the spectacularly good Fibre Based Gloss (Neutral, Warmtone or Royal) which is the nearest thing to a traditional darkroom print I’ve seen. Use Oyster for a “Resin Coated” finish. Permajet also supply the best Ink Flow system on the market and will provide you with Free Custom made Profiles for your specific printer and your favourite papers.
If you don’t have an Epson 2400 or later and you need to avoid colour casts print RGB with a slight (brown) tone or Black Ink only at 1440 DPI. Better still buy a new printer!
If you do have a 2400 or better there is whole other world of Monochrome possibilities in the printer menu.
This is an extract from my “Photoshop for Advanced Beginners” workshop course notes.
Rod Wheelans FRPS MFIAP MPAGB FIPF AMPA APAGB
www.creative-camera.co.uk email@example.com 01387 257906
30 May 2009