gerbrak's blog

Converting color to black and white in Photoshop C

posted by gerbrak, Jun 14, 2006 8:56 PM — 17 comments

Open a picture that you think would look good in black and white:

Then go to Image/Calculations:

Experiment with the different channels, blending methods and opacity until you get a result you like:

Choose new document in the Result box:

And you have your black and white photo! But you’re not finished yet…..

Go to Image/mode and choose greyscale or, if you want to add some color later, choose RGB color:

And you’re done!

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1. posted by mattgorner, Jul 14, 2006 11:22 AM

Another method: Rather than just taking an RGB image and turning it to Greyscale, open up Hue/Saturation adjustment and turn down the Saturation, then convert to Greyscale.

2. posted by tuoitho, Oct 23, 2009 10:13 AM

Good tutorial, quick question though.

Once you've created the new document in black and white, how do you save that new document as a jpg? or can't you?

3. posted by hilaryaq, Jul 11, 2006 4:52 PM

Yay Gerbs, ur on the front page!

4. posted by gerbrak, Jun 14, 2006 9:37 PM

I forgot to add that if you want to add color later you have to choose greyscale first, save your file and then choose mode/RGB color.......

5. posted by DFine1Lady, Jun 15, 2006 3:51 AM

I think I like this better in making color turn to black and white. I usually put my color image in the black channel.


6. posted by hilaryaq, Jul 10, 2006 11:19 PM


7. posted by creative65, Aug 2, 2006 11:12 PM

nice never new this way....

another way... change the mode to Labs and then go to channels and pick the lightness channle and then go back to the mods and convert it to grayscale then back to RGB and then add a channel mixer adjustment layer and make sure you check the monochrome. and adjust the setting.

thanks for the tut i love finding news ways to do stuff... thanks for the extra knowledge

8. posted by Quevaal, Aug 15, 2006 7:21 AM

Thanks, never thought about this method before, but I can see that it's useful!
(Naturally, a stellar guide to all the options would be brilliant. ;) )

9. posted by VijayDave, Aug 16, 2006 1:17 AM

It is a very good technique. And there are a lot too! One book (name I really forget - but the writer was from Scotland) I have read two weeks before, was the fan to use a manual method. From the photograph, he use to see the light angle, light time, how color and color tones can be merged into shades of light, etc. and then do the work manually. It was a very interesting book indeed! If I got its name I will post it here.
Also, I like the way, Ansil Adam's Zone System works. It is a picture tacking and processing technique, but I'm sure, you can use software to convert color photo into and upto
ZoneSystem standards.
Well, look at my web-site: and go to 'Creative Digital Photo Art' section. See the illustration I have provided and mark how much colors are perfectly mould into grey tones!
And the service I provide is very cheap too.
Thanks! I will come back in the discussion later.

10. posted by Quevaal, Sep 16, 2006 2:25 PM

I've used this methid a few times now, and have to say it's really great. It's often frustrating to convert a colour image to grey, because you lose a lot of impact, but now I suddenly get more opstions! :)

11. posted by charcoa1, Feb 25, 2007 7:31 AM

Thanks, I'm looking forwrad to playing around with this technique!


12. posted by mariess, Jul 9, 2007 6:03 PM

why is that useful? surly clicking on the layer you want desatureated and pressing shift apple + U would be allot faster? i dont understand the benefits of this? unless you were using the alpha file for some kind of tv animation???

13. posted by morleys, Aug 7, 2007 1:32 PM

Good tutorial, quick question though.

Once you've created the new document in black and white, how do you save that new document as a jpg? or can't you?

Am new to Photoshop apologies

14. posted by morleys, Aug 7, 2007 1:34 PM

Sorry ignore my previous post, I missed out the last instruction! Eager beaver!

Good tutorial

15. posted by iamabdus, Oct 25, 2010 6:38 AM

Press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + S hotoshop/

16. posted by trainer2, May 31, 2013 8:54 AM

I would love to make such effects!!!

17. posted by inizjall, Nov 6, 2013 3:30 AM

iam learning this right now

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