Black and White: part two (VIDEO) / 30 comments + post
online tutorials

In this, the first of our technique based video tutorials, we take a detailed look at four techniques you can use to convert an image to black and white: the Hue/Saturation tool; the Channel Mixer; the Black and White tool; and how to convert your images to black and white during the RAW conversion process. In the first section we discuss the limitations of the Hue/Saturation tool before moving on to section 2: a detailed discussion of how the Channel Mixer technique can be used to radically adjust both the tonal range and tonal balance of a black and white image. In the third section we take a detailed look at the Black and White tool (introduced in CS3), which provides an ever greater degree of fine scale control over the conversion process, but we also discuss an alternative way of working the Hue/Saturation tool (to emulate the functionality of the Black and White tool: useful if you're using CS2 or an earlier version of Photoshop). In the final section we move on to discuss how to convert your images to black and white during the RAW conversion process.

In each section we discuss the strengths and weakness of each technique, from both a technical and aesthetic point of view, by reference to four example images, each of which can each be downloaded from the members area.

published: 14th August, 2010
duration: 1h 3m 42s
video size: 1080px by 675px
file size: 316.7MB

oldest comments first
comment by Janelle at 08:47 PM on 14 August, 2010

This video is a revelation!! I have never seen or heard or read such a concise and expository example of B&W since I started digital photography years ago. I can't thank you enough!

I have a whole new way of thinking and appreciating B&W again. A few questions I have is- how and where do you save the xmp settings when you create a version that you want to re-use in camera raw? And is it the same for Lightroom or do saving the settings in LR just mean making them a preset instead? Also does this work the same with DNG files?

So much appreciation...

comment by djn1 at 09:16 PM on 14 August, 2010

Thanks Janelle, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

In terms of your questions ...

To save the .xmp settings for a particular image in Photoshop you need to make sure that you alter the first Camera Raw preference setting to save the image settings as an .xmp file rather than in the Camera Raw database. Once you've done this you can use the drop-down menu in the main Camera Raw dialog to save your settings (this is to the right of the name beneath each of the Camera Raw main control tabs). Just select 'Save Settings'.

As for Lightroom: I suspect that you're right about needing to save the settings as a preset, but will check and get back to you if not.

Finally: yes, this will work with DNG files too.

comment by Tunde at 02:41 PM on 15 August, 2010

Great video David !! This is so much information and it has giving me a new outlook on processing my B&W images in PS. I do have a question though. What if I added an extra hue/ saturation layer to try and get the range of the black and white conversion available in cs3 and above.

comment by Jeff S at 10:42 AM on 16 August, 2010

I have to say that the video tutorial is excellent. I personally feel that it's more informative then the web based tutorials. Just being able to see the interface and changes in PS as you make adjustments really drives your points home.

I love it and I hope you continue down the video path moving forward. Very well done.

Thank You

comment by vineetsuthan at 11:20 AM on 16 August, 2010

I agree with Jeff S comments on how the video tutorial is more informative than web-based. The concept is clearly explained.

comment by Simon Jenkins at 05:20 PM on 16 August, 2010

I think I was over complicating that channel mixer David after watching that video it's pretty straight forward isn't it. I knew I didn't like the hue and sat option because it produced boring pictures but I didn't know exactly why, the colour chart showed me why in no uncertain terms.

Informative video.

comment by José Antonio at 05:38 PM on 16 August, 2010

Hola David. Felicitarte por tu gran trabajo en la página. La pena de los vídeos tutoriales es que para los que no somos anglófonos (este es mi caso) no podemos seguirlo bien. En los anteriores tutoriales, mediante traductores e intuición es todo más fácil.
Un saludo.

comment by Dave Burrows at 07:16 PM on 16 August, 2010

Hi David and Libby
I think the videos you are producing are great, while I appreciate that the text tutorials you did take a lot of hard work, your videos really really bring your techniques to life.
Please keep up the good work.
Worth every penny of the membership them.
Regards Dave

comment by Urayoan at 12:33 AM on 17 August, 2010

The best B/W tutorial that i ever seen. Thanks Dave.

comment by Alexis at 09:05 PM on 17 August, 2010

Hi David. Excellent tutorial. I'm not sure yet, but maybe it's more useful as a teaching device than the web-based material. Thanks again.

comment by Bertilla Rooduijn-van de Bovenkamp at 01:49 PM on 18 August, 2010

Hello David. This is a very good tutorial. It finally gives me some insight on how the different ways of converting to black and white work technically. This makes it much easier to choose which way to do it.
Thank you for this in depth explanation!

comment by djn1 at 08:06 AM on 20 August, 2010

Thanks everyone, I'm glad you found it useful :-)

comment by fake fade at 10:27 PM on 21 August, 2010

Hi, i found this video tutorial really explanatory and useful most of all but i was wondering if you can add a printable version of the tutorial too. Just because there's people like me and Jose Antonio that find hard to follow spoken english or the time spend in front of a computer isnt enough to watch all the video. I know it means a lot of work but if you could do it from time to time it should be very apreciated.
Thanx again for all the efforts to keep chromasia the best as possible and hope you keep in mind the suggestion.

comment by Jules75 at 03:46 PM on 27 August, 2010

I ran through this last night, and it was fantastic. I really like the use of video in the tutorial. I had your video on the right monitor, and CS5 running on the left. It really made running through the tutorials more slick. I look forward to more like this.

comment by Periklis Antoniou at 06:56 AM on 4 September, 2010

Hi, I have just attended your video-tutorial about b/w conversion! It is very very good. I agree with fake fade, having difficulties to follow everything in English, but anyway, you have lightened up my knowledge. Thank you very much for giving us your best knowledge!

comment by Kenn Tindall at 06:23 PM on 24 September, 2010

Great work! I really enjoy the video format much better than standard text tutorials tho those are well done also. It is easier to duplicate the procedures with the video running and being able to pause it while working in my own PSE 6. I was able to do all the examples with the exception of the Black & White tool & Camera Raw B&W editing (thanks to some PSE add-ons). Thanks again.

comment by Jeree at 06:05 AM on 25 September, 2010

Dear David!

Let me add my thanks to the rest of the pile!!! While I have loved your work, tutorials, and tools from the outset, you really have brought it to a new level (for me) with the video tutorial. It's ever so helpful to be able to see and hear at one time what you are thinking, visualizing, comparing, and then choosing. I was so delighted watching this, I heard my husband tell his mother "I hope that guy does very well he makes Jeree so happy" :) So thank you ever so much, all your lessons helpful and invaluable and so appreciated!

comment by Hilde van der Sterren at 05:44 PM on 2 October, 2010

Hi David,

Thanks a lot. It is great to 'see' it happen instead to read how it is happening. I guess I am more a visual learner. Thanks a lot. I am looking forward to more (and more, and more) video tutorials.

See you in Dubai, Hilde

comment by Heather at 03:42 PM on 24 October, 2010

Hi David,

Thank you for putting together a video tutorial. It was great to be able to watch it while doing other things. This morning, I ate breakfast and actually sat long enough to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the video on an iPad at the kitchen table. Great way to spend the morning. And, now I've given myself the goal of producing 1 BW image before the end of the day. Thanks.


comment by djn1 at 04:00 PM on 24 October, 2010

Hi Heather,

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and good luck with the image. If you're happy with it when it's done, post it in the forum.

comment by Luisa at 06:28 PM on 9 December, 2010

Hi, my comment goes in a similar direction as José Antonio and Fake fade.
Of course I would enjoy watching a concise and clear video while having breakfast (on an iPad that I haven't) if my English comprehension were beyond the CNN and BBC accent that I have got used to. I understand that writing down the video is an extra job, maybe a short abstract would do.
On the other hand, I want to thank you for the quality of your tutorials. They are clear and concise, very easy to understand even for beginners like me.

comment by djn1 at 06:34 PM on 9 December, 2010

Luisa: we're investigating the possibility of sub-titling the screencasts, which would be a better solution than supplying partial notes or a summary. I'll keep you informed.

comment by Jan at 06:33 PM on 25 December, 2010

Even though, that there is much more to subject in conversion process, this deep and very conclusive video tutorial is simply in one word Brilliant !

comment by MDawson at 08:02 PM on 12 January, 2011

Absolutely wonderful and most helpful tutorial. I've 4-5 books on B&W conversion alone, and this was more helpful than all of them combined.

comment by Alexei at 07:24 PM on 7 March, 2011

Thank you very much, David!
As we say at Russia: better to see once than hear a hundred times.
Your video tutorials is awesome!

comment by retlaw7 at 05:41 PM on 30 April, 2011

Thanks David I enjoyed this very much, I hope you continue with the video tuts over the written tuts! I often get distracted while reading and during the vids I'm hooked the whole time :)

comment by Jeremiah at 05:37 AM on 19 October, 2011

Hola David!

I just want to say that the quality of your tutorials are outstanding. And for us your subscribers it is a diamond in a haystack being able to subscribe on your service. Thank you very much. I hope you would post more 'video' tutorials.

And also, if I may suggest. Since it is almost Winter time, I believe it would be great to do another 'Photoshop for Winter Photography' tutorial, only video. I just read the text tutorial and it was amazing. And the pictures were outstanding. I would like to see the actual process on how you made those great pictures :)

Anyways, more success to you my friend. :)



comment by djn1 at 05:44 AM on 19 October, 2011

Thanks Jeremiah, and that's a good suggestion - I'll bear it in mind.

comment by Thomas at 09:17 AM on 16 December, 2011

Hi David!

Watching your videos will be a habit from now on. I've just finished BW1 and BW2.

Hope I can apply this right on my images. I'll see you on GPP 2012.



comment by djn1 at 09:26 AM on 16 December, 2011

Thanks Thomas, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and i'll see you in March :)