I’ve always liked B&W photos and was looking forward to converting
my color digital photos to B&W photos. I was never really happy
with the B&W results from the simple "Image > Mode >
Grayscale" option. When you do the "(Image > Mode > Grayscale), you’re losing so much information. PhotoShop grayscale only gives you 256 shades of gray. To get the full tonality range in your BW’s, always stay in RGB/CMYK/Lab mode.
Thanks to the B&W group on Flickr, I eventually arrived at this webpage
that explains a more fancy way to do B&W conversion in photoshop.
It’s like going from the world of instant coffee to french pressed real
Image result doing the simple "Image > Mode > Grayscale"
Image result following the more complicated instructions at end of this post
You can notice the immediate differences between the two B&W image
of the same picture! The first image appears to be ‘washed out’ and
has less contrast between the background/foreground. In the second
image, there is many more tonal varieties of greyshades. The
Fallingwater house is more central to the picture and the darker
vegetation in the foreground makes the location more forbidding and
entices you to come closer to the house.
Experimenting with black and white conversion methods in Photoshop. I
tried the channel mixer and a couple of third-party plugins, but I like
the results from the method here,
which is apparently due to a gentleman named Rob Carr. I’ll summarize
the steps, since I found the presentation on that site a little
- Convert to Lab Color (Image > Mode > Lab Color)
- Select the "Lightness" channel (Channels palette > "Lightness" channel)
- Convert to Grayscale (Image > Mode > Grayscale)
- Make the new channel the selection (Control-click the thumbnail in the new "Gray" channel)
- Invert selection (Select > Inverse) (Leave this selection active for the next steps)
- Fill the selection with black (Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color… > Select color #000000)
- Tweak the opacity of the fill layer (Layers palette > select "Color Fill 1" > set opacity to ~50%)
- Create a new Levels (or Curves if you prefer) adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels)
- Tweak the levels in the adjustment layer as you like
You can download the Photoshop action file here.
In addition, I incorporated a tip I found elsewhere which gives a
haloed edges effect I think can be effective for B&W, if used
sparingly. Continuing from above:
- Select "Background" Layer (Layers palette > select "Background")
- Duplicate layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer…)
- Run the "High Pass" Filter (Filter > Other > High Pass… > Radius 10)
the filtered layer’s blending mode to "Hard Light" (Layers palette >
Select "Background copy" > set blending to "Hard Light")
- Reduce the opacity of the "Background copy" layer to a good point (I start at 25%)