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Another color-to-b/w conversion technique

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  • Another color-to-b/w conversion technique

    Coming from the world of traditional film b/w photography, I know that a common practice to alter tonality of a scene is to use colored filters. It struck me that the RGB model is ideal for just that same thing, so I played around and came up with a technique to emulate this.

    Take your colorful scene you want to blackandwhite-ify and turn the individual channels into individual layers. I just split the channels then shift-dragged the three into a new image, but it's been pointed out to me that it's much easier to simply copy and paste them into the original image.

    Add a layer mask to each of the 3 layers. Pick a subject and see which of the three layers has the tonality you prefer and mask that area out of the other two layers. I simply turned them off and on using the little eye icon next to each layer. It sounds like more work than it is, since you can copy areas from one mask to another.

    Btw, does anyone know how to temporarily turn off a layer mask in PS?

    Attached is an illustration of the results. Thanks to Lisa Peters for the original (a great shot).
    Attached Files
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  • #2
    Very cool! Russell Brown has a .quick-time movie on a very similar method.



    • #3
      And here I thought I was being all clever and original

      Actually, his version is a bit different (and even more clever). The two techniques could be combined for total control.

      There's also a PDF version on that site for moviephobes.
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      • #4
        Layer Mask temp disable


        In PS 5.5, I can right-click on the layer mask icon in the layers palette and among the menu options is "disable layer mask." Once disabled, repeating the right click displays "enable layer mask."

        There are probably keyboard shortcuts to do this, but I haven't found 'em yet.

        Is this what you're looking for?



        • #5
          Thanks, that works. It also got me experimenting and I found that shift-clicking on the layer mask toggles it off and on. I wouldn't have seen that if you hadn't brought this to my attention.
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          • #6
            RE: Shift+click

            There you go. I knew I'd seen that one before, but didn't come up with that combo as I tried various permutations of CTRL, ALT, etc.

            Love the way PS often gives you multiple options to get there from here!


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