1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Converting digital color photographs into black and white.

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by pcpearce, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Hi Guys.

    Whats the best why converting digital color photographs into really good black and white photos ?

    I will be using Abode Photoshop 7.


  2. My favorite is to buy the realtively cheap Fred Miranda B&W pro plug in that works very well with PS7. You might also look at Daniel Diaz's tutorial in our Tutiki forum here on the Cafe. He uses PS to accomplish that.
  3. dannyraphael

    dannyraphael Guest

    There are a number of color -> BW techniques and resources here:

    re: Which is best?
    It often depends on the characteristics of the original image and/or your own preferences. Each method has strengths / weaknesses, so try a few on the same image to compare results. There is near universal agreement, however, that one can almost always do better than "desaturate" or "convert to grayscale."

    I most often use the Russell Brown / 2-Hue/Saturation adjustment layer method because it is easy to use and affords considerable flexibility.

    Check out www.AtnCentral.com, too. There you will find many free PS actions that simplify many of the more popular color -> BW conversion processes.
  4. tomtodeath


    Jan 11, 2007
    new jersey
  5. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Hi Danny
    Great to see you.
    Thanks for dropping by.
    Hope alls well.
  6. Which is where?
  7. GKR1


    Apr 19, 2007
    San Diego
  8. There is a great program that costs money for it that is called B/W Styler that I know you would find it to be a gem. You can get a free trial and it comes from PhotoWiz or Harrys Filters. Give the trial a try and see if you think the program is worth the money.
  9. Save Days of Work

    Even advanced PS users should read this technique and try it.
    It will save you days of work.

    If you are happy with your B&W conversions skip to Fun Part below

    This is in PS CS2.

    Black and White Conversion

    Open a photo
    Create a new Action Group
    Save the following steps as an Action

    Edit > Mode > Lab color
    Select all
    In the Channels palette select a chanell hold shift and select b chanell
    drag a and b to the trash
    Select the lightness channel Alpha 1
    Edit > Mode > Grayscale
    In the layers palette create a new levels adjustment layer
    Set the center number (gamma) to .95
    Image > Mode > RGB
    Do not flatten channels
    In the layers palette create a new curves adjustment layer
    Set a point along the line and type input = 75 output = 65
    Set another point along the line and type input = 168 output 177
    Set opacity of Curves layer to 75%
    Set opacity of Levels layer to 66%
    Flatten all layers
    Stop recording action

    Click on the Action Group and Save in a location like Documents
    To save an Action, select the Group and click the fly out arrow to the right, choose Save Actions

    Now for the Fun part

    We are going to create an Icon on the desktop to convert an entire folder of Photos to B&W automatically. This is called a Droplet

    File > Automate > Create Droplet
    Choose > name the droplet > Where = Desktop > Save
    Play > select your Set and Action
    Check > Suppress File Open Options Dialogs
    Check > Suppress Color Profile Warnings
    For now choose Destination > None

    On the Desktop select a folder of photos to covert to B&W
    Drop it on the Droplet icon.

    You may need to click the icon first or hold the folder over the icon a few seconds and then drop it.

    If Photoshop is closed the Droplet will open it.

    If you've gotten everything to work so far, let's take it one more step.

    Add a step to your B&W Action to save to a new folder, just add Save AS to the end of the Action.

    Create a new Droplet and this time select the new folder as the destination.
    Check > Override Action Save AS Commands
    Save As must be a part of the Action for this to work.

    This is advanced PS. Let me know if it works or if you have trouble.

  10. dannyraphael

    dannyraphael Guest

    One of the benefits of Photoshop is its flexibility, esp. when it comes to choices among color --> to --> BW conversions, which range from quick and dirty (Desaturate) to Calculations.

    The advantage of Greg's method (once recorded in an action) is efficiency, especially when incorporated into a batch workflow or converted to a droplet. (It was nice of you to type out all the instructions, Greg.)

    I used to use plugins like Fred Miranda's BW Workflow Pro (http://www.fredmiranda.com/shopping/BW) and BW Styler (http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/photowiz/bwstyler/index.htm). Plugins like these can considerably streamline workflow and have options like the ability to apply various types/amounts of grain and/or duo, tri, quad-tone colors effects.

    Channel Mixer (monochrome) is a great tool, too (intuitive, easy to use). I am really looking fwd to trying the new CS3 BW adjustment layer.

    As noted in a post above "I most often use the Russell Brown / 2-Hue/Saturation adjustment layer method." I should have qualified that comment with, "...when I'm in a hurry."

    If I have time I use a method that I believe affords exceptional flexibility. It is based on an tutorial by John Paul Caponigro:
    * Tutorial in .pdf format: http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/phs8bwconversion.pdf
    * PS action: http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/downloads/bw-conversion.atn

    In it the grayscale versions of the R, G and B channels are layered above a copy of the L channel allowing one to utilize the strengths of any/all the channels (using layer masks) as well as combine them using layer blend modes. It's a cross between the insane flexibility of the Calculations command and selective application using layer masks without the headache of navigating the Calculations dialog.

    If you'd like a copy of an action I wrote based on my interpretation of JPC's method, send an e-mail at photoshopactions@yahoo.com and I'll be glad to send you a copy.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.