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Converting to Black & White and adding Selective color

March 17, 2011 1 comment

©2011 Tony D. Locke, MM

For artistic variation in your photographs, you can remove some or all of the color from an image, which in effect, removes some of the reality too.

In this tutorial, which I also just taught in my latest workshop, I’m going to show you not only how to artistically remove color from a photograph to create a stunning B&W, but as a bonus, you’re going to be shown how to selectively add back in some that color too.

Many of you may already know these tricks, or at least parts of them. Don’t worry, there’s always something new, so if you’re looking to learn more–Read on…

Now, not all photographs will look as nice when converted to B&W, which is why you should always shoot in color and convert to B&W in Photoshop… Just in case.  When you set your camera to B&W, you not only have lost control over how the shades of grey from dark black to pure white will be treated, you won’t have a color version to enjoy in case the image doesn’t look so good in B&W.

So, as many of you that have experimented around Photoshop know, the quickest and easiest way to make a B&W image is to just convert it to a plain ‘ole Grayscale. Select Image > Mode > Grayscale. Done. It’s not the most creative way, as again, you have no control over the conversion. What’s makes things worse, this function also tends to make images look flat & boring. The only reason I even mention it is, it’s a quick easy way to see if what your image might look like in B&W. Otherwise, just forget it and immediately hit your keyboard shortcut for Undo: Cmd/Ctrl Z!

Just like so many other things I’ve taught you, if there’s one way to do something in Photoshop, there’s probably at least 3 – 5 other ways to do the same thing. This is no different. For today, as most of you are probably using Photoshop Elements, we’ll stick with some of the simpler methods first, then move onto some fun & unusual way of doing things. For those of you on CS3-CS5, follow along too, as these tricks will still work for you too, but there’s one extra tool I’ll show you that will only work on CS3 and above.

So, let’s begin having some fun with your photo. Starting with the #2 basic way that a lot of people use to convert to B&W in Photoshop Elements, which makes it easy and provides some nice tools – Go to Enhance>Convert to Black & White. Up pops this next window. Photoshop’s going to do an auto-convert, showing a before and after image. If you’d like, you can click on each of the presets along the bottom left to try some other B&W effects. From there you can also play with the sliders to the right to lighten and darken each color range to provide a nice B&W. Wasn’t that fun!

Read more…

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