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Replying to Photoshop Tutorial: Create Better Black And White Images

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 08:34 AM

Hey again everyone,

So you have decided that, rather than making color photographs you are going to try and market yourself to the large color blind audence by making only black and white images. So you take all your photos and simply desaturate them and you think, "yeah, this is sweet, what a cool B&W photo" WRONG! You made a black and white photo but you did it the worst way possible. So, if this is what you are doing, then you need to read this.
Now, I am glad you chose to make some nice B&W photos. It was once said by someone who someone else oblivious felt was worthy of being quoted that "If you use color you can show the color of someones clothes, but if you use B&W you can show the color of someones soul" . Wow... lets just take a moment to reflect on that...
Okay enough of your daydreaming, I know you weren't thinking of B&W. You were thinking of some beautiful tenecian goddess bathing under a sparkeling waterfall in a bikini... so lets get back to our better B&W images.

Hopefully you have a good photo with some nice contrast to start with, so open it up in Photoshop.
Now in the layers palette choose "create new layer" (the half black and white circle) and from the pop up menu chose channel mixer.

Now in the channel mixer box you are going to need to change two things. First is the "output channel" which you will need to change to grey and then in the lower left hand corner you will need to check the "monochrome" box.

Now some people will tell you that your numbers should equal 100% but don't listen to them, they were daydreaming about some babe in a bikini when someone who was smarter than them told them you don't need to worry about that any more. So I would recommend that you bring the red down a bit, and then pump up the greens and blues until you get a nice contrast going on. However it's up to you so just play around with the red green and blue until you get the image to look the way you want.
When you are finished playing with the channels, (and all done daydreaming) you can just click okay. This will apply the settings and give you a nice contrasty black and white that looks the way you want. If you did it right, it should look nice enough that even the bathing beauty would say "wow, now that's how you do B&W"

But before you finish remember (as always) to choose "save as" so you don't end up overwriting your original file.


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