Introduction: Photoshop: Classic Black and White Photo Techniques.

Picture of Photoshop: Classic Black and White Photo Techniques.

An alternative way to make a black and white photo in Photoshop, NOT just by clicking Mode -> Grayscale. Check inside for more detail.

Step 1: The Original Photo

Picture of The Original Photo

The original color photo was taken at Wat Sam Kor Temple, Chacheongsao, Thailand during my friend's ordination.

Step 2: Simple B/W Method

Picture of Simple B/W Method

Normally if you only choose Mode -> Grayscale, you can only get a Black and White image like this, the resulting color is too flat.

Step 3: Alternative Way to Make a B/W Photo.

Picture of Alternative Way to Make a B/W Photo.

By using the alternative way, you can make a photo like this.

Step 4: First: Change the Hue/Saturation Setting.

Picture of First: Change the Hue/Saturation Setting.

First: Choose Image -> Adjustment -> Hue/Saturation Setting, set it to -100%.

Step 5: Set Black and White Points

Picture of Set Black and White Points

Second: Choose Image -> Adjustment -> Levels, choose the "Set black point" and choose a dark area on your photo, see how the overall color changes. In this photo I choose the right-side of the forehead.

Step 6: Set White Point

Picture of Set White Point

Same as previous step, Set the White Point. This time I choose the left arm of the other monk (right hand side of the photo).

Step 7: Add Noise.

Picture of Add Noise.

Add some noise from the Filter menu, I use about 25 in this image, and choose also "monochromatic" at the Add Noise dialog box.

Step 8: Make a Border Selection.

Picture of Make a Border Selection.

Under the menu Select -> All, then Select -> Modify -> Border, this time I choose 50, but it depends on the size of your photo.

Then choose Select -> Feather, and this time I use 30, but it also depends on your image size.

Step 9: Darken the Border

Picture of Darken the Border

Choose Image -> Adjustment -> Curve, darken the border area.

Step 10: Done.

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The finished image is like a developed B/W using old film.

Comments

Metalog (author)2012-03-22

Good job !!

phant0m_sp00f3ra (author)2010-03-21

 I've done something similar myself, but with a different aproach, and it renders similar results. Also since my MBP is out of business for upgrades, i've done this in a hp mini netbook with paint.net. Here is an example

gsgenius (author)2010-02-08

 Gud job..............

myliyana (author)2009-08-28

thanks for all the instructions & tips..my work.. :)

blugyblug (author)2009-04-07

You can make a BW to Colour gradient, it looks pretty cool and works well with a far away background but a really close middle ground. Get Picture->Create copy ->Delete all colour on one copy->Return picture to RGB Colour (it is still blackandwhite though)->Make sure BW picture is below the coloured picture ->Create layer mask for coloured picture->Make sure layer mask is active (double border on the icon) ->Go to gradient->Radial gradient (Its circular)->Foreground to transparent gradient (its in the presets). Then do the gradient!. If it doesnt work try a Black to white gradient on the layer mask.

wannabeharleyguy (author)2008-12-22

One of the challenges with this method is posterization. If you look at the histogram on the levels palette in your screen shots you will see that you are getting some. The graph should be a solid black. when it is broken up (looks kind of like a bar graph) your image is getting posterized. If you don't do it too bad, you won't see it on the computer but when you go to print you will not have a smooth gradation (there will be harsh lines between the different tones of shadow transition edges.) If you do your black and white with a channel mixer adjustment layer and a careful adjustment in curves or levels (also an adjustment layer) you can avoid damaging your image in this way. All that being said, my favorite method is to use a custom quadtone.

misteright (author)2007-12-16

Great instructable, learnt a few new things here! Many Thanks.

Mouserz (author)2007-12-08

i could just desaturate, darken and export with a low quality

Slavic Glitterati (author)2007-11-27

Very informative, thank you.

gdub1973 (author)2007-11-05

Thank you for this instructable!!! Like an amateur, I've always just been using the 'desaturate' option - I thought the photos looked good as is, but now I can see how much definition this really adds, and how flat my others look. Time to make another action. Thanks again! :)

inquisitive (author)2007-10-30

Thanks for a great instructable! I always favor black and white photography or sepia tone-classic.

pardonmyfreedom (author)2007-04-14

they look filipino.

pazu (author)pardonmyfreedom2007-06-01

He's actually Thai, my best friend.

velvet_skin (author)2007-05-31

nice look, but you forgot to mention that you applied "Auto Levels" before dropping saturation. i can clearly see that in the screen shot.I mean auto levels itself fixes the image.then you basically just did a brightness/contrast adjusting which would have been easier to make because you just move a slider rather than playing blind with gray shades .

pazu (author)velvet_skin2007-06-01

I think it's also a good idea to use Auto Levels, just because it's easier. But I do prefer to adjust the tone by myself, sometimes there're details that I just want to show/hide, but Auto Levels wouldn't listen to me. The idea of using Brightness/Contrast is also good, but I like changing the shades because I found the color more balancing.

John Culbertson (author)2007-02-27

very nice, I will share with some of my buddies in my graphic arts class.

chennes (author)2007-02-09

Have you looked at Photoshop's Quadtones? I got the tip from Ken Rockwell's site. They give a very nice conversion of the colors (of course, the noise and darkening are still up to you).

Illidan (author)2006-09-17

but why though?

binnie (author)Illidan2007-02-06

cause u can / wanna

bzed (author)2006-10-10

as vdubya said - using the color mixer is a much better way to get decent b/w from colour shots in photoshop.

james_vaughnn07 (author)2006-10-09

this thread's really nice... ive been using all the various Filter options in Photoshop for quite some time now, and i havent thought of the Noise application as a means to make a photo look grainy (i usually use it to grunge up photos for alternative/rock posters), since i havent considered interusing it with other features. kudos to you man. i really love photography and editting pics... hehehe check out mah photo blog: www.snaeib.blogspot.com and my editted photos blog: www.ijusthavenothintodo.blogspot.com then tell me what you think. i need another person's opinion on 'em so maybe we could exchange notes on photography too.

vdubya (author)2006-10-07

I've found the best way to convert a color photo to black and white, is to use the color mixer in Photoshop. Preferably use the non-destructive layer adjustment rather than manipulate the original layer. Click the "monochrome" check box, and then manipulate the individual color channels until you get a picture you like. I find that the green channel usually gives me the best results. The blue channel usually will have the worst amount of noise, so I rarely use it. From there usuing some of the techniques listed above to age the picture should give you a really nice print.

radiorental (author)2006-08-13

excellent tutorial - thank you

pazu (author)radiorental2006-08-13

Thanks for reading it.

FrenchCrawler (author)2006-08-12

Excellent idea. Though there is an easier way. "Desaturate" the photo as you did, add noise (for your photo, I'd go for Gaussian at about 4%), and then just use the curve function (somwhere around: Input: 93 and Output: 78, but you can play around with the line until you get it the way you want it). Just thought I'd let you know one of the shortcuts. There are probably other easier ways, but I was self taught in the ways of photoshop (I didn't even bother with the help section, they usually lead you around in circles) and so I only know of my way, but have fun with it and perhaps I'll learn something new in your next post.

pazu (author)FrenchCrawler2006-08-13

I still like the "point and click" method more, but thanks for your tip. I think this is such an amazing platform that people can exchange their tips and ideas so easily. I'm new to here.

mtxe (author)2006-08-12

nice classic look I like it!

pazu (author)mtxe2006-08-13

Thanks!

mistercharlie (author)2006-08-13

You can also use the channels palette. Open it up and click on either of the red, green or blue channels. This has the effect of using the same coloured filter on a B&W; photo. You can get some really nice effects. For instance, using a green filter blocks red, so your subjsect's skin will look a lot clearer.

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