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Black & White in Photoshop CS3 - Duncan Evans explores the new mono-conversion filter in the latest version of Photoshop.
As if there weren't enough ways to change an image to black and white using Photoshop, the release of CS3 has introduced another one. So, instead of desaturating, converting to LAB and stripping off the L channel, using a black-white gradient map, or even the tried and trusted Channel Mixer, here's the all new Black and White filter, offering six colour components to fiddle with in your search for monochrome magic.
1. Run the filter by going to Image > Adjustments > Black & White. This brings up the six colour components, plus a selection of presets. The presets simulate the effect of using red, yellow, green and blue, plus infra-red simulation and high contrast filters, by which it means that the filter colour is increased and those opposite it are reduced right down.
2. How the filter works is that the higher the percentage each colour element has, the brighter and whiter those elements will be in black and white in the image. Fortunately it all operates on the fly so as soon the filter is activated, the image changes to mono, according to the values set. It's worth looking at some of the presets to see what effect they will have - like the infra-red preset.
3. The red colour is largely in the bridge, water and rooftops, while yellow is in the bridge. There's no perceptible magenta input, while cyan and blue make up the sky. The green component is in the foliage and in the colour version is very dark. The beauty of the filter is that different types of image can be made. Here, the water under the bridge is dark, while the bridge is lighter, but it means the houses are dark. The greenery is set to be light.
4. This however, is my final selection of values. Red is set to make the houses and the water under the bridge lighter, while yellow makes the bridge stonework has a ghostly feel. The green value is ramped up just to put detail into it, while the blue tones are reduced to make the sky look more stormy.
5. Before we go though, Adobe have kindly put some tinting options in there as well, to make the mono conversion even simpler. Click on Tint and select whatever colour category you like, then the amount. The default is to hand over an olde worlde sepia colour.
6. The converted image is good, but still not quite punchy enough, and also, the water highlights are a little too bright. So, Curves was used to add a little more contrast, then a duplicate layer was created and Shadows/Highlight used to tone down the highlights.
And here's the final image.