We make black and white from a color picture

Oh yes, I know ... I'm not saying that this is space technology!

Press Shift + Ctrl + U ( Image -> Desaturate ), and the picture becomes black and white. Yes. But this method does not give you any control over the final image!

But this method does not give you any control over the final image

For example, let's take this picture. The color scheme is quite simple and boring, lighting - frankly, not exciting. If we use Desaturate , this is what we get:

If we use Desaturate , this is what we get:

Yes, this is a black and white image, but if you ask me, I will again honestly say that it still does not look like a work of art. To make this picture at least somewhat interesting, we must change the way it is translated into black and white.

If you've worked with color filters before to improve black and white images, you know what I'm talking about. Color filters block some colors, improving the quality of your photo. There is one secret: when you shoot in color, you can add these color filters later! This is the reason why, even if your digital camera supports shooting black and white photographs, you should still shoot in color.

Now. To turn our picture into black and white, there is a way that uses the so-called Channel mixer .

Select the menu item " Image ", the submenu " Adjusments " (or " Adjust "). Here you will find some of the most used Photoshop commands. Among others, you see " Desaturate " (we have already reviewed his work), and - if you take a look below - " Channel mixer ".

Among others, you see  Desaturate  (we have already reviewed his work), and - if you take a look below -  Channel mixer

Channel mixer is your true Friend. Believe me. When you open the Channel mixer menu, you will find something like this:

When you open the Channel mixer menu, you will find something like this:

The channel mixer can be used to add great effects to a color image, such as changing the red and blue channels and other similar movements (the ocean can turn red and the sky green, etc.).

However, for our purpose, we will install a bird opposite Monochrom . This will change the outgoing channel from Red (or Green, or Blue) to gray. And that means that now we mix three channels (RGB) into one channel. We got the same result as when we used Desaturation . But now we are in full control of the process and can adjust the image as we need.

Explanations :

Here I used 100% cyan, green, and red to illustrate the difference between the channels. Since red color (my hands) and black (shadows and background) prevail in our photo, you see that the red channel is most expressive. The green channel adds contrast to the image, and the blue just makes it darker.

But what happens if I use the Levels tool to change the brightness and contrast on all three layers?

Well, I changed the picture so that on all layers the hands have approximately the same brightness.

And here the most important thing appears - the hands have a good contrast in the blue and green channel - but look at the background!

This is important to remember if you ever want to convert a color image to black and white, but just do not overdo it, otherwise some parts of the image may become too dark.

Here is the work " Ballet in minor key "made by me based on this photo:

For work, I used the following Channel mixer settings:

For work, I used the following Channel mixer settings:

Well, the lesson is over. It remains to say only one thing: practice. Practice and practice again. Experiment!