Converting color images to crisp BW

gabelimom

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Hi all-

I've been converting my color images to BW via Greyscale. The result? Very grey, darkish images. I've tried Desaturate, and it looks almost identical to Greyscale. And when I've used Brightness/Contrast, the images took on ghastly tones.

I would like my BW images to have this tonality:

http://www.heatherrivlin.com/index2.php

Does anyone know how to achieve this? As always, thanks in advance!!!!
 

RKW3

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Use photoshop or a similar program and they usually have it so you can adjust the B&W conversion. Simply desaturating pics often turns out poor.
 

Dubious Drewski

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There's got to be a bunch of photoshopping going on there to get some of those shots to look they way they do. Though I bet most of the look could be achieved through playing with each RGB curve before desaturation. Could you link a medium/small sized photo of your own that you'd like B&Wed? Maybe us guys could fiddle around with it in photoshop for you.
 

GeorgeUK

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On the advice of a friend of mine (who wrote the tutorial) I do it like this:

The ‘Channel Mixer’ Method

By using the Channel Mixer for black & white conversions we are replicating the more traditional effects of using coloured filters with film. The Channel Mixer is found on both the Image -> Adjustments menu and also as an Adjustment Layer.

As with most editing I work with Adjustment Layers so I can edit the settings of the Layer at a later stage.


1 - Create a new Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer.

Open the photograph you wish to convert to black & white. On the Layers Palette, click the Adjustment Layer icon (the half black & white circle) and from the pop-up menu select Channel Mixer.

2 – The Channel Mixer

You will be presented with the Channel Mixer dialog. First of all you must tick the Monochrome box at the bottom of the dialog. Also make sure Grey is selected as the Output Channel. It is always worth ticking the Preview box too so you can see the changes taking place.

3 – Converting to Black & White

By adjusting each of the Red, Green & Blue sliders you are altering the amount of light coming through on each colour channel. By increasing the Red we lighten the Red Channel etc.

As we have ticked the Preview box it is worth spending some time adjusting the settings to see what effect it has on the photograph.

As a rule of thumb you should aim for the total sum of Red, Green & Blue % to be around 100%. If it is considerably less or more the photograph may appear to dark or light. The Constant slider can however be used to provide some balance.

If you want to an object in the photograph to appear brighter then the channel which contains the majority of its colour information should be increased at the expense of the other two.

Much much better results than standard conversion to greyscale. :thumbup:

Hope that helps :)
 

Fiendish Astronaut

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Here's how I do it. And it's such a great way to experiment easily with the balance of your b&w image. Once I discovered this technique I've never used anything else.

Create a new Hue/Saturation layer. Don't adjust anything. Press okay. This is layer 1.

Create a second Hue/Saturation layer. Whack the Saturation slider down to zero so you've taken all the colour out of the image. Press okay. Then in the drop down menu in the layers box (it's next to Opacity) select "color".

Immediately you'll see an improvement.

Then re-open your first Hue/Saturation layer dialogue - layer 1. Play around with the Hue slider and you'll see how the different colour balances change the way the b&w image looks.

The beauty of this is that the sum of your colours will always add up to 100%...
 

djrichie28

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Thanks GeorgeUK, I was wondering this same thing myself. Tried it out and it works really well. Gives much desired control of converting.
 

GeorgeUK

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Thanks GeorgeUK, I was wondering this same thing myself. Tried it out and it works really well. Gives much desired control of converting.

No probs :)

I was also pleasantly surprised to see the improvement in b&w conversions following this method. :thumbup:
 
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gabelimom

gabelimom

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Thank you SO much, guys! I tried it and it's EXCELLENT!!!! I knew the images in the link I provided could not have been done with a simple BW conversion.

You guys RAWK!!!! :lol:
 
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Jennifer,
Are you using Photoshop CS3? If so, add a Black and White Adjustment layer to the image. The default Auto setting does a good job of converting the image to black and white. You can change the opacity of the layer to bleed some of the color back in and get a hand tinted look. Another option is to paint on the layer mask to selectively bring the color back to certain areas of the image. Here's a link to a video tutorial on converting an image to black and white and selectively painting the color back. Selective Color Tutorial.
 

raw-bee

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If you use a gradient map layer and then adjust curves with an 's' curve you will get very similar results - very easy. :)

Robbie
 

raw-bee

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Looking at your sample website, those may have a mocha tint to them as well. To add that, just do a color balance with cyan/red at +15 and yellow/blue at -10 after you adjust the curves the way you like.

Robbie
 

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