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Articles & Tutorials

Fun with Photoshop

by Jake Redekop

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Summary : Converting a color image into a professional quality black and white one.

This month we'll break that monotony of your photograph collection and learn how to convert a color image into a professional quality black and white one.

Firstly, Image -> Mode -> Grayscale will give you a simple B&W image. The next step is optional, but I like the the softer look it produces: Filter -> Distort -> Diffuse Glow. A window will open with three sliders. The settings depend on what effect you're looking for. I used 0 Graininess, 1 Glow Amount and 9 Clear Amount for the image below. Experiment, you may surprise yourself.

TIP: Try using the Diffuse Glow filter on color photographs for pleasing results.

Finally, to give the photograph more vibrancy, Image -> Adjustments -> Levels. You'll see something that looks like a broken line graph with three sliders beneath. The sliders on the left and right control the shadows and highlights respectively, while the middle slider controls mid tones.

The highlights of the image are likely fine, but the shadows will need to be emphasized. Moving the left slider right will deepen shadows at the expense of detail. One must be careful to strike a good balance between the two. For the image below, my final input values were 29, .90, 255.

Good Luck and see you next month.

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