Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Gorman technique for conversion to B&W

chase Plus
11 1.1k 246 England
14 Aug 2012 6:41PM
Adam,if you double click the new layer,the 'layer STYLES' dialogue box opens,not the layer PROPERTIES.
Use the sliders at the bottom of the layer styles menu.......to split them,use alt+click.
That bit did confuse me......easily done these days I know Wink but I downloaded the action,ran it & then had a peek inside all the layers it created....sorted.

Thanks for posting this & the resulting links...I'm poop at B&W conversions so instead of just using Nik Silver,nice as it is...this technique did give me a better insight to B&W conversions & how they can be achieved.

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

bouic 8 3 United Kingdom
15 Aug 2012 8:40AM
Can this technique be adapted for use with lightroom?

ade_mcfade 13 15.2k 216 England
15 Aug 2012 10:26AM
don't think lightroom allows you to use channels and LAB colour
Jestertheclown 8 7.5k 251 England
15 Aug 2012 11:33AM
I tried this late last night on a few images that I wouldn't normally have considered for mono treatment but the results aren't bad.
I tried both of those links (thanks guys!) but I found the Pdf. to be the more useful.
Like Ade, I wasn't keen on the 'high pass' filter. Even on the church, where there are lots of edges, its effect was too global. I backtracked and used USM instead.
Also, the instructions suggesting the 'high pass' set to 50px. I've always been under the impression that it should never be set anywhere near as high as that.
Those last steps; 21 onwards were easy enough to follow but moving, splitting and setting the sliders as instructed completely messed up the image in all cases, so, again I backtracked and left that stage out.
Generally then, I quite like this; it's quick and easy(ish!) and I did get some reasonable results.
On the downside, I wasn't able to follow the instructions to the letter, which might be a problem for some and it does look as though you need 'proper' Photoshop to use it.




I've downloaded the action, although I've yet to instal it. I'll see how it copes later, particularly with the steps that I couldn't master. Alternatively (and more likely), I'll use the good bits from the Pdf. and write my own.
TanyaH 14 1.3k 388 United Kingdom
15 Aug 2012 11:51AM
There is a workaround in the article I was reading for those using Elements, which I'll post up later when I get a moment. Like most things, people will adapt the steps to their own best workflow, and how they like to do things. But as an alternative, it's not a bad starting point Smile
ade_mcfade 13 15.2k 216 England
15 Aug 2012 11:53AM
I've read about and written actions on loads of things like sharpening, mono and skin smoothing techniques... it's the kinda thing I do when bored, then never ever run them again because the in-built tools in lightroom/PS are really fast and decent enough Smile
Jestertheclown 8 7.5k 251 England
15 Aug 2012 11:56AM

Quote:But as an alternative, it's not a bad starting point Smile


I should also have said that for applying duo-tones, it's definitely worth considering as an alternative to the CS, layer> mode>greyscale>duo-tone approach insomuch as you can see exactly which colour(s) you're applying.

I think that, with a bit of tinkering, I shall find occasions to use it.
TanyaH 14 1.3k 388 United Kingdom
15 Aug 2012 1:08PM
Okay, I've double-checked the article and the steps in it are essentially the same as the PDF provided by Sherlob on page 1 of this thread. The only differences really are (a) wording, (b) Step 19 and (c) Steps 21 and 22.

Step 19 in the PDF states a radius of 50 for the high pass filter, whereas in my article it says "A value of between 20 and 50 pixels will suit most images." - so the amount isn't set in stone and depends on the image, although the article recommends setting the higher value and then toning it down via the Opacity slider.

Steps 21 and 22 in the PDF (which are Steps 13 and 14 in my article) are described more clearly, I think, as follows:

"Depending on the image, boosting the local and/or global contrast may result in a loss of detail where pixels are clipped to pure black or white, or close to it. To counter this in Photoshop, double-click the layer thumbnail to open the Layer Styles dialog. By default the Blending Options for the layer are displayed; the options we're interested in are in the 'Blend If' section of the dialog."


"We've got some clipped highlights, so click the highlights (white) slider below the 'This Layer' tone ramp, and drag it in to a value of about 190, then Alt-click the slider to split it in two, and drag the left half in a bit more, to 160. If you want to fine-tune the colour of the image at this stage, you can add a Hue/Saturation layer at the top of the stack."

Then there's the Elements workaround:


Emulate Lab mode in Elements

Replicate the Photoshop Gorman technique using the free Hidden Power plug-in

1) Elements doesn't support Lab mode, but the Hidden Power Tools plug-in (available free from www.hiddenelements.com) enables you to create luminosity and colour 'separation' layers - see the previous two pages for the principles of the technique and additional steps. [NB - this is basically the steps in the PDF for the full technique] After installing the plug-in, choose 'Hidden Power Freebees' in the Effects palette, and double-click the 'Lumin and Colour' thumbnail.

2) Click 'Continue' for each of the three prompts that appear. When the process is complete your Layers palette will like the one in the step 1 screenshot [sorry, can't replicate this] with Colour and Luminosity layers, a Composite layer and your original Background layer. Delete the Colour and Composite layers, plus the original Background layer, so that you're left with just the Luminosity layer.

3) Because of the way in which the plug-in emulates Lab mode, the Luminosity layer doesn't have sufficient contrast, so add a new layer above the Luminosity layer, fill it with white (go to Edit>Fill Layer, choose white from the Use menu and click OK) then change this layer's blending mode to Soft Light. Next, right-click the white fill layer and choose Merge Down from the menu.

4) You now have an image that's identical to the extracted Lightness channel in Photoshop. Next you need to select this image's shadows to mask the toning effect, and Hidden Power Tools enables you to do this as well: double-click the Select Shadow thumbnail in the Effects palette and OK the prompts, then with this selection active add your Solid Colour layer as in step 6 on the facing page [which would equate to step 8 in the PDF].


I obviously can't vouch for the accuracy or validity of what I've replicated above, as I've just quoted it verbatim from the article because I said I would. However, those with knowledge that way surpasses this stuff will obviously do their own thing anyway (I point no fingers Wink Grin) but for others hopefully it will give another technique to add to the options for mono conversions.

And, so that I'm not sued by the magazine publishers for copying their content ... if anyone's interested in the magazine that I found this technique in, it's called "Black & White Photography Made Easy", and is a PhotoMasterclass mag from the makers of DigitalCamera. As well as a herd of really good black & white specific info covering camera skills, photoshop essentials, projects and interviews with professional/inspirational photograhers, it also comes with a free disc covering the workshops and tutorials inside (4 hours worth!). I got my copy from WHSmiths, and it cost 14.99. Smile

Oh, and apologies for the verbal diarrhea ... guess I got a bit carried away there! Oops ... Grin

Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
15 Aug 2012 1:24PM
One I did years ago using the action posted


Its a good method, one I still occasionally use for portraits, but Silver efex, and splitting channels are my preferred option.
Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
15 Aug 2012 3:31PM
One thing on the high pass layer, make sure you have dialogue box on in the action then you can dial what you like - it will be camera ( mega pixel), lens and subject dependent, the action is very old now so probably written for 6mp cameras. Remember there are 3 blend modes often used with high pass, hard light ( most aggressive) , overlay, then soft light. You can always put a black layer mask on and paint back the bits you want.
Fishnet 13 5.0k 5 United Kingdom
15 Aug 2012 8:07PM
Well, I don't know what's wrong with me but none of those instructions corresponds to my CS5!

I can't get past step 8, I can't find 'solid colour' in the adjustment palette anywhere! None of it makes sense.
Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
15 Aug 2012 11:33PM
Anna its there in the adjustment layers (not at my pc so can't give exact response) but the action you download from one of the links does work.
TanyaH 14 1.3k 388 United Kingdom
16 Aug 2012 9:59AM
Hi Anna

I don't know whether you got this sorted or not, but below are a couple of screenshots of where the solid colour adjustment bit in step 8 can be found:

At the bottom of the Layers stack, click on the black and white circle for an adjustment layer:


Then go up to the top of that list, and 'solid colour' should be the very first one in the list:


Hope that helps?
Tonyd3 13 1.0k 15 United Kingdom
16 Aug 2012 1:11PM
i have used this for many years, here is one from back in 2006, but with a final added layer in multiply mode to control the added grade five type look that i love in black and white. City Hall
Jestertheclown 8 7.5k 251 England
16 Aug 2012 1:17PM
That's an impressive shot Tony.

Just as an aside, I see that it garnered 116 votes. I wonder how many it would attract if you uploaded it now?

Just a thought.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.