Black & White
St ep One
Open the image you want to turn into a black and white, and press Image > Adjustments >
Black & White to get this dialog box.
The Preset window is defaulted to None. If you choose Custom, then make your adjustments,
you can click the small icon next to the Preset window and save your settings under a name of
your choosing. Otherwise, try out Photoshop's selection of Presets to see if there's anything you
particularly like. Usually, I don't like them. But sometimes, they come sort of close to
something I might like, then I can play with the sliders to fine-tune it.
And playing with the sliders is the trick here. Just have fun with it. Press the P key to toggle
between the color and grayscale image. This is very helpful because all you see is a grayscale
image and it's hard to remember exactly where, say, the greens are.
St ep Two
If you end up dragging a slider around and just don't like what you're getting, Option-Click
(Win: Alt-Click) the slider's color box to return to the default setting. Even better, by pressing
the Option (Win: Alt) key, the Cancel button will turn into a Reset button. Click this and all
your settings will return to the default.
Another cool technique is to move your cursor into the image itself. By clicking and dragging,
you can darken (drag to the left) or lighten (drag to the right) the tones you've clicked on.
Careful, though. I've had very good and very awful results from this. Try it out and see how it
One more trick — as you lighten or darken areas, the darks may turn completely black, or the
lights become totally white — no detail at all (called clipping). To easily see if this is
happening, click the Tint box near the bottom of the dialog box and view your image. If
clipping is happening, those areas will be much more obvious.
St ep Thr e e
Putting a slight tint on your black and whites can be quite a nice effect. Click the Tint box near
By dragging the Hue and Saturation sliders around, you can add tint to your image and control
how strongly that tint comes in.
Alternatively, click the color swatch to the right of the Hue/Saturation sliders and choose a
color from the Color Picker that pops up. If you like the effect and want to use it again, click
the Add to Swatches button in the Color Picker. On the next image, click the Tint box, then
simply open the Swatches Palette and click the color you saved. (With the Color Picker open,
you can then open the Swatches Palette and click any color you want, anyway.)
Ti ps and Tr i ck s
Your image is not automatically a grayscale image — it's probably still RGB. To
cut the file size by one-third, press Image > Mode > Grayscale.
Wrong Color Space
This method of converting to black and white only works with RGB images. If
nothing is happening, your image is probably in a CMYK, LAB or other color
space. Press Image > Mode > RGB first.
Low Contrast Originals
Press Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels before doing any adjustments. You
may find better separation between the colors before you start.
With the Black and White dialog box open, click the Auto button. Your
contrast will be boosted, but it isn't a magic fix. You will probably still need to
move sliders around until you're happy.