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|Category:||Corel Paint Shop Pro & Painter|
Using the Channel Mixer in Corel Paint Shop Pro to create black and white images - Michael Bates shows us how to make a black and white image that doesn't appear to look flat and lacking in definition.
The usual way that people make black and white images is to simply enter the Hue and Saturation controls, remove all the saturation and then fiddle with the brightness and contrast a little bit too. However, this often results in somewhat flat looking images, or images with a good amount of definition but with little room to make the image really unique. This first screenshot shows the original image and the same image after what I have talked about is applied to it. As you can see there is a lot of red in the original image, and yet we cannot see this in the black and white version of the image; what catches your attention most if the one man wearing a white t-shirt. What we want to do is somehow make it so that the wreaths and the other red objects really stand out since they are integral to the photograph's composition, and the Channel Mixer is the ideal tool for such a job.
Step 1. Duplicate the background layer by right-clicking it and selecting Duplicate. This isn't particularly important in the process, but it does leave other options open to us later on if we want to take them; for instance we could always use a layer mask to open up areas of the greyscale layer to allow some colours to show through. However, what we are after here is a black and white image, so all we want this layer for really is to avoid editing the original layer in case we need to use it to reverse a mistake we make. Rename the layer so that you can always remember easily which layer has what in it; always a good habit to be in when it comes to more elaborate projects.
Step 2. We can now start to edit our image. The Channel Mixer is located in Adjust, Colours, Channel Mixer, so open it now and we'll look at the basic controls. The first thing we need to understand is what exactly this tool is; every image on your computer will be made up of the colours red, blue and green mixed together in varying degrees, and then made lighter and darker by white through to black which acts as your toner. What the Channel Mixer does is allows you to change the makeup of each channel and their intensity in your image's final appearance. Initially your image will be using its original settings; whatever the original levels of each channel were in your image will be calibrated as the 100 setting in its respective slider in each of the channels. You can change which channel you are looking at by selecting it in the drop-down box, and you can boost or decrease the amount of each colour in these channels by moving the sliders left and right. Make sure you check the box in the top right of the window saying Preview on Image; this is a very helpful thing to do in Paint Shop Pro since for the most part the preview windows are either zoomed in too far or you are given a tiny zoomed-out version of the image, so having the actual image preview the changes means you can see what you are doing quickly, easily and in good detail whilst also allowing you to have the zoom as close or as far out as you wish.
Step 3. Since we want a black and white image we want to select the check-box at the bottom of the window that says Monochrome. This makes the image greyscale, as one would suspect, whilst giving you full control of the appearance of the image. Each channel can now have its individual brightness controlled with the sliders so that you can create your own exposure of the image with fully customisable contrast and brightness. Initially the image will just have all three channels at the settings they were at in the channel you last had selected, so you need to move the sliders next.
Step 4. Now take each of the sliders and move them about until you create an exposure you are happy with; remember that as you move the slider to the right more of that channel will become white, so if we want the red to highlighted as I do then we want the red to be the highest channel in the list with quite a bright exposure. At the same time though, any areas containing a mixture of colours will become brighter and darker as you manipulate the channels that are within that colour, so you need to keep adjusting them to make room for other channels to avoid blowing our your highlights or leaving too much black in the image. In my image I have made the reds the brightest channel to the poppies and the scaffolding of the night club in the background show up best. To counteract this I reduced the blues so as to give a darker sky for the red mast to contrast against and also reduced the green channel slightly to add more depth to the dark areas of the image.And that's how to create a black and white image.