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Converting from color to B&W

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  • Converting from color to B&W

    I know that this topic has been discussed multiple times, but here's yet another great technique for converting color to B&W. It's copyrighted by Russell Brown and fairly detailed, so I don't think I can just post the details here. But here is a link to a PDF file describing the technique. And if you have the time (and bandwidth?) the Quicktime movie is also worth watching. It's a fascinating technique using two Hue/Saturation adjustment layers.


  • #2
    Very cool...

    Using the two Hue/Sat AL technique as a base, I tried sandwiching in a Color Balance adjustment layer and was able achieve some interesting (as in pleasing) results by adjusting the individual sliders.

    Appreciate you posting this one.


    • #3
      Thanks Jeanie. I will definately save that one in my tutorial collections. Downloading the movie now.


      • #4
        Thanks for the tip Jeanie. Now I know there are more ways than one to do something in Photoshop. That technique looks like it will give plenty of control...that's for sure. The site has earned a place on my favorites list. There are also quite a few other tutorials available, as well as quick time movies. Thanks again.



        • #5
          Danny, Glad the technique was helpful - and very cool that you've already expanded on it!

          DJ, You might want to download some of the other movies as well. I agree with Ed - there is some cool stuff on that site!



          • #6
            I definately bookmarked it for perusal after the holiday. I did look at some of the other tutorials they had and was pleased. It's definately a new site so I am going back for sure.


            • #7
              Jeanie!! Thanks Mucho for sharing the patented “Russell Preston Brown Tonal Conversion Technique" -- it is a fascinating method that appears to give much more control than the methods I've read or tried before. I enjoy his movie presentation manner also

              It's so simple AFTER he's show what to do -- I never would have thought of it on my own, but will definitely make use of it.

              P.S. -- I've looked at several of his Quicktime movies on other topics - so far, each has shown me a method that I was unfamiliar with, and appears to be both practical and effective.
              Last edited by CJ Swartz; 04-01-2002, 03:26 PM.


              • #8
                I've had a chance to download three quick time movies. The B&W conversion was great! I'd also recommend the "Dynamic lighting" movie. Thanks again for the link to a great site!



                • #9
                  real b&w

                  You will have a perfect b&w image??
                  Download b&wpro from the imagingfactory. With this photoshop plug-in you can do all what you want with a image to convert it on a perfect way.
                  30 days full working version.....



                  • #10

                    How about a review over in the software forum?
                    Learn by teaching
                    Take responsibility for learning


                    • #11
                      Convert to Black and White PRO plugin

                      Inspired by DigitalGuru's post, I installed the demo of Convert to B&W PRO. There's a lot to like.

                      Reminded me of a combo of channel mixer (monochrome) + the adjustment layer sandwich Jeanie posted above + color balance + hue/sat + the ability to add "colored filters" + options such as paper or film characteristics, e.g., Illford or Tri-X, all rolled into one.

                      I converted 2 pics & compared them: I liked the results of the plug-in better each time.

                      Did I like the results $99 more than the "not-quite-as-convenient-plethora-of-PS tools"? Not sure yet. Gotta give it additonal thought. But there's no question about convenience. You can do A LOT from a single interface.

                      How useful is it as a retouching tool? Maybe once repair work is done, running the final result through this plugin might yield a desirable "unifying touch." Guess it depends on your style/customer preference.

                      Bottom line: Intuitive/EZ to use, flexible, fast rendering.

                      - DannyR


                      • #12
                        New guy's 2 cents...

                        Hi: Just joined moments ago after searching for the past couple of days for a decent online forum. I think I found the spot. Glad to be along!

                        I just downloaded the pdf and it does a nice job instructing. However, my problem has never been converting to B&W (I use Elements by the way). I kinda figured this out on my own.

                        My biggest problem isn't CONVERTING, it's PRINTING from my color photo printer (Canon i960). Also, this is where I have the least amount of experience. I read a bit about how to get rid of the color cast (usually green when I print b&w)-- to tell you the truth, I haven't wrapped my hands around it yet.

                        I *know* there are probably hundreds of threads here regarding printing b&w's on a color printer. I'll have to search them out. Good to be along though-- hope to learn lots (and share as I grow in my knowledge).



                        • #13
                          Hey, Brad:

                          Welcome to RetouchPRO.

                          Regarding the slight green cast when printing, I struggled with that one myself. My solution won't help you directly because I have a tool in Photoshop not available in Elements called a "Color Balance" adjustment layer, but hopefully this will help from a conceptual perspective and you can run with the ball go from there.

                          Essentially what you want to do is neutralize the green by adding a little magenta. Why magenta? Using the letters that represent the RGB and CMYK color spaces here's a way I found helpful in remembering color pairs:

                          R C
                          G M
                          B Y
                          - K

                          Magenta is the opposite of green. To reduce green, add magenta.

                          This is a simplified solution, since your green may actually be bluish green which may need a little yellow to offset the blue, but you get the idea.

                          If you haven't discovered it yet, a book called "Hidden Secrets of Photoshop Elements" reveals oodles of functionality available in PE that's not apparent. The author of that book, Richard Lynch, is one of the modrators here at RetouchPRO. See the following forums:


                          If anyone can tell you how to do this type of color balancing in PE, he can.

                          Again, welcome aboard.


                          • #14
                            Just to add my 2 cents here... there is also a set of plugins that I've heard good things about (but have not used myself). Go to and check out the various filters for going from color to b/w.


                            • #15
                              And (probably ought to be mentioned here for the sake of completeness) we have a tutorial here on RP about different ways of converting colour to black and white.

                              Doesn't cover the printer calibration problem, though...


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