Hello guys I am Vaibhav and in this tutorial I am going to show you how to convert an image to black and white using Photoshop.
Method 1: Desaturate
The fastest one is desaturate command. Basically it desaturates all the color in an image and gives you the result. It may be the fastest one but the result will be the worst one in most of the times. To do this first go to Image>Adjustment>Desaturate. You can also use keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+U/Cmd+Shift+U.
As you can see in the above image that the image has lost it’s contrast. Perhaps you need several adjustment layer to bring back contrast especially Gamma Correction. To add Gamma Correction go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Exposure and then increase the gamma correction slider.
The image I am working on is in JPEG format. You might have seen a lot of noise in sky but that’s because of JPEG. Actually JPEG compresses your image to reduce the size hence it reduces the quality also. If you shoot in RAW than you will not notice any kind of noise.
Method 2: Black and White Adjustment Layer
Many photographers use this method to make their photo black and white. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Black & White. A new black and white panel will open with several sliders.
After playing with the sliders I found the above one is looking best. It gives slightly better result then desaturate command as well as it gives you full flexibility to give your photo a nice contrast.
As you can see in the above comparison that B&W adjustment layer (method 2) is much better contrast then desaturate command (method 1).
Method 3: Lightness Channel
This method is one of the rarest method to convert an image to grayscale.
To do this we first need to change our image mode. Go to Image>Mode>Lab Color to change your image mode to Lab color. Now go to Window>Channel. Select the Lightness channel and press Ctrl+A/Cmd+A to select the whole channel.
After selecting the whole image press Ctrl+C/Cmd+C to copy the selected pixels. Now we need to create a new layer. Press Ctrl+Shift+N/Cmd+Shift+N to create a new layer. After creating a new layer press Ctrl+V/Cmd+V to paste the selection. After that change your image mode back to RGB or CMYK. Go to Image>Mode>RGB. After clicking on RGB a new dialogue box will open. Simply click on Don’t Flatten.
Here’s a comparison between desaturate command and Lightness Channel.
Method 4: Gradient Map
I think this is the 2nd most used method to convert an image to grayscale after B&W adjustment layer (method 2). Suppose you want to convert your image to grayscale and don’t have much time than I think this method is best for you.
To achieve this kind of method first we need to make black as our foreground color and white as our background color. You can press D as keyboards shortcut. Now go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map. A new gradient map panel will open, just close it. This should convert your image to black white.In the below image I have compared desaturate command with gradient map. You might have wondering why am I comparing all the method with desaturate command method (method 1). Well the answer is that desaturate gives you the worst result that’s why I am comparing all the method with desaturate command method.
Method 5: Hue, Sat and Lightness Adjustment layer
This method gives us almost same result what we got in method 1.
Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Simply drag to Saturation slider to extreme left and close the panel.
I don’t suggest you to use this method because the result will not to too good.
Out of the above 5 method I suggest you to use either method 2 (B&W adjustment layer) or method 1 (gradient map). Method 1 (desaturate command) will also give you an awesome result but after applying some adjustment layers especially gamma correction and curves.
That’s all for today. Thank you and have a nice day.