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Saturday, March 25, 2006


Better B&W From Digital

Loeb Boathouse - Just Removed the ColorOK, I'll let you in on a secret - much of what I've learned about Photoshop Elements is from Scott Kelby's excellent books - I think he's written one for each version so far - the latest is The Photoshop Elements 4 Book for Digital Photographers.

One of the things I know very little about is how to get a decent B&W image from a color digital photo... but yep, Scott goes into that, too.

Loeb Boathouse - Better B&W using Scott Kelby's technique
Here's the general outline to how he says to do it:
At this point, mush the layers you created into one layer with the Layers/Flatten menu. The file still has color information in it - if you want to save file space, you can turn it into a grayscale file with Image/Mode/Grayscale.

For this photo, once I got to this point, I applied local contrast sharpening as I usually do (see this post for how to do that) and then final sharpening. You can see the results in the second image - compare that one to the standard remove-the-color version at top. To paraphrase those laundry soap commercials - whiter whites, blacker blacks, and just nicer overall tonality.

Amazingly, I even got an excellent B&W print of this second image on my 3-1/2-year-old Canon i850 printer. I would have expected some tinting, at least in some areas of the photo, but this print looks like an old-fashioned paper-and-developer B&W print (I doubt that this will work out so well for every image - normally you need an inkjet printer that's designed to do B&W, such as some of the higher-end Epsons.)

If you use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, check out Scott Kelby's books - he packs them with excellent practical how-to advice.

I have the Scott Kelby book for PS CS2, Steve, so I'm gonna study your post here and his book to see what I come up with. Thanks.
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