Greg Gorman's B&W conversion technique

Tuesday November 18, 2003

Section 2: Black and White Conversion from a Color Image

Here's the step by step technique.

1. Open a color Image in Photoshop in either 8 or preferably 16 bit (Photoshop CS).

2. Under the Image menu, choose Mode>Lab.

3. Click (Highlight) the Lightness Channel.

4. Under Image menu, choose Mode>Grayscale (Discard Color Information).

5. Command/Control Click on the Gray Channel (to load the selection).

6. Under the Select Menu, choose Inverse.

7. Under Image menu, choose Mode>RGB Color.

8. In the Adjustment Layers Palette choose Solid Color.

9. Select a color from the Color Picker or from the Swatches Palette (which I
prefer). In this example I've picked a warm brown tone.

10. Your choice of color should be based on the tonal range you wish to see
in your final B&W.

11. Go to your Layers Palette and change your Blending Mode to Multiply.

12. Because your Color Fill is on a Layer you may adjust the opacity to dial
back the color to your desire.

13. In addition (IMPORTANT), you may add a Curves or Levels Adjustment to
achieve the desired contrast.

14. Should you wish to change the color of your B&W "Duotone" simply Double
Click the Color Fill and reselect.

Two finished examples can be seen below. One was made to appear "neutral" while the other shows a sepia tone effect. This is all controlled by the color swatch picked and by controlling the opacity of that color layer.