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Simplify color conversions with CS3's new Black & White command

Added on Saturday 22nd of September 2007 11:40 pm EST


Adobe Photoshop CS3

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows



The Channel Mixer has proven itself as the best tool to convert images to grayscale, yet Photoshop users have always had a plethora of other substandard Photoshop options to choose from. But not anymore—CS3’s Black & White command is here and it’ll change the way you convert your color images to grayscale.


To demonstrate CS3’s new Black & White command, we’ll:

     Show you the different ways you can apply the Black & White command and tell you which method is better.

     Explain the options in the Black and White dialog box so you’re ready to roll.

     Demonstrate the Tint feature and marvel at the outstanding ease of functionality packed into one simple tool.



Converting images to black and white has always created a little anxiety in some Photoshop users. While using the Desaturate command and converting to grayscale are easy, the results are less than desirable. Channel mixing is the most effective method, but seems overly complicated. Well, move over Channel Mixer, you’ve got competition! CS3’s new Black & White command converts images to black and white as good as the Channel Mixer, offers presets that emulate camera lens filters, and it even comes with a tint feature. You’ll get amazing results, shown in Figure A, with a few simple clicks. We’ll show you how.





Take charge of black and white conversions

We’ll demonstrate the Black & White command with the image shown in Figure A. You can use any image you have on hand, but if you want to follow along with our example download the file from the URL listed at the beginning of this article, and extract the file blackandwhite.psd. Then, launch Photoshop CS3 and open the file.

There are two ways you can apply the Black & White command: through the menu options and via an adjustment layer. We’ll show you both ways.


To apply the Black & White command from the menu:

1.       Choose Image > Adjustments > Black & White to display the Black and White dialog box shown in Figure B.

2.      Click OK to accept the default settings (we’ll explain the options more in a minute) for results shown in Figure C.






At first glance, the results are acceptable. However, as you can see in the Layers palette shown in Figure C, the effects are flattened in the file and the results aren’t editable. Now let’s take a look at the Black & White adjustment layer option. We suggest always using this method because adjustment layers are nondestructive to your image.


To apply the Black & White command with an adjustment layer:

1.       Click on the Create New Fill Or Adjustment Layer button located at the base of the Layers palette.



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