So after seeing a lot of people struggling with black and white conversions on here, I've decided to write up a little tutorial on how to do it competently. I've already taught a couple people on here privately how to do it, but this should clear up some inconsistencies..
Before I start, I'm going to show you guys how to do this a couple ways. It's up to you to decide which one will work best for any given situation.
Black and Whites using Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers
Open your document in Photoshop. For this tutorial, I'll be using Photoshop CS2. Here's a picture of a building I took on campus:
Next select Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation as shown:
The Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer window will pop up. What you need to do here is select Color for the Mode.
After you click OK, the Hue/Saturation window will pop up. Here, slide the Saturation bar all the way to the left.
Your picture will now be in greyscale. Unfortunately, this is where most people stop and say "I'm done!" Well **** them because we're doing more. Select your background layer again, then repeat the Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation step again. This time, leave the Mode at Normal, and just click OK. When the Hue/Saturation window appears, slide the Hue bar around and watch what happens.
Do I like this one?
Do I like this one?
Yes. This is the one I will use for the rest of the conversion.
If you read Sac's "Photoshop for Photographers" tutorial ( http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=1353956
), you'll know how important using Curves is in color photography. It's no different here. With your Background layer selected, go to Image>Adjustments>Curves.
You can go learn how to use Curves in Sac's tutorial ( http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=1353956
). For this tutorial, I'm just going to assume you know how to use it and I'm going to continue on.
After you're done using Curves, you may also want to use Levels. Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels.
Here you see a histogram of your image. You also see a black slider, a gray slider, and a white slider.
If you slide the black slider to the middle, your shadows will get darker. If you slide the gray slider to the left, your midtones will get lighter, and if you slide it to the right, your midtones will get darker. If you slide the white slider to the left, your highlights will get brighter. Play around with it and come up with something that you like.
Well, you're basically done with the black and white conversion for this part of the tutorial. If there's anything else you want to do to it (dodge/burn, sharpen, etc.) then you can do that, but this is the basic conversion. Playing around with the photo and other options in Photoshop will finalize the picture though:
Black and White Conversion using Photo(shop) Filters
I would first like to thank haywoodee for letting me use his photo for this tutorial. He kicks ***.
First, the purpose of this tutorial is to help film black and white photographers make an easy transition to using Photoshop for black and white photography. I know, there aren't a lot of you filmies out there, but even you digital boys can find some use for this technique. It's easy and it's quick.
Alright, so open up your image in Photoshop. Again, I'm using Photoshop CS2.
Once you're all open and ready, go to Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter.
When the Photo Filter window pops up, you'll see a drop-down menu that allows you to use most whatever color filter you want. A lot of black and white film photographers use deep red filters (25A, R5, etc.), so we're going to use Photoshop's Deep Red Filter.
Now find the Density slide bar. For the sake of this tutorial, we're going to kick it up to 100, but you can control how much filtration you want depending on your circumstance.
Now for you guys who shoot film, you're probably thinking to yourself, "If I put a red filter on my lens, it looks nothing like what is happening here on my screen, Larry. You *******." Well, I'll tell you why. There's a little check box at the bottom left that says "Preserve Luminosity." Uncheck that box and you'll be happier.
And now you digital fools are saying, "But Larry! That looks like crap! WTF DID YOU MAKE ME DO!" ... mainly because your image now looks like this:
Well, STFU and pay attention.
What you're going to want to do now is go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation (or just press CNTRL+U). When the Hue/Saturation window comes up, slide the Saturation slide bar all the way to the left, and your image should now look something like this piece of crap:
Well, now we're going to use Curves. Again, I'm assuming you know how to use it, but if you don't, see the sticky "Photoshop for Photographers" that Sac made ( http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=1353956
). Once you finish adjusting your image with Curves, it should look a lot
Basically, that's about it for the straight conversion. Do a few tricks in Photoshop to finalize it (I'll teach you some in a tutorial to come), and that'll be it. Good luck!