CS3 Hidden Gem: The Black and White Adjustment

Creating Black and White Conversions easily in CS3

by Kevin Moss

Stonehenge #1 Color
© Kevin Moss
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Black and White Conversions Made Easy

When using previous versions of Photoshop I always made it part of my workflow for to create a layer specifically to convert an image to black and white. I like to have both a black and white and color version of my images, as I believe that some images always look better in color, and some look great in black and white. The new adjustment layer offered in CS3 makes that part of my workflow easier.

STEP 1: Iíll go through the standard workflow I always do; a) process the image in color in Camera Raw b) open the image in Photoshop c) From the layers palette, click on the Create new fill or adjustment layer button, and select Levels. Make an auto or manual levels adjustment. d) Create a Curves adjustment layer to make adjustments to contrast. e) Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, and increase/decrease color saturation.

Creating Layers
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Creating the Black and White Adjustment

STEP 2: Create a Black and White Adjustment layer. Repeating the process from STEP 1 in creating an adjustment layer, select Black and White.

CS3 Black and White
black and white
© Kevin Moss
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Using the Black and White Adjustment

STEP 4: When the Black and White Adjustment palette appears, Iíll often click on the Preset menu, and select from a number of presets, such as High Contrast Red filter, or even Infrared. This is a huge timesaver, and I often get the results I want by experimenting from the many presents offered.

STEP 5: Make fine tuning adjustments to the color controls offered in the palette. Adding or subtracting colors, especially in the red, green, blue and yellow channels can greatly change the appearance of the photo. Remember, only subtle adjustments are needed to make dramatic changes to your image.

STEP 6: Save the file in PSD format. I always save the files Iím adjusting as a PSD file, therefore maintaining my previous work and layers. If I want to create a JPEG version, I can always flatten the image, and perform a SAVE-AS command, but still maintain my working image.

Stonehenge 2
Stonehenge Black and White
© Kevin Moss
All Rights Reserved

The Finished Product

Black and white is an often forgotten form of photography. If you concentrate mostly in color, give black and white a try. Do yourself a favor, view some older images youíve never worked with before, and try creating a black and white version of these images. You may be surprised at the result, and happy that youíve expanded your artistic repertoire.

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