Photos Spare Cycles MythBusters

B&W Study

(still incommunicado, but also innundated with digital imagery that I need to offload)

There are a lot of techniques for converting digital photos to black and white. I've generally been lazy and just done standard desaturation, but I'm starting to discover the wonder of 'Lab mode' in Photoshop. This technique involves converting your image into Lab mode, then switching to the lightness channel, which will be a black and white version of your image. If you know what you are doing, you can then do things in this channel to get the black and white image that you want. So far, I haven't figured out what those things are, but I did stumble across the 'a' channel in Lab mode, which is even cooler, and I did figure play around a bit with curves in the lightness channel to get a B&W image that I like better than standard desaturation (but am too bleery-eyed to improve anymore).

left to right: original (unaltered) photo, 'a' channel

B&W Study-1 B&W Study: Lab mode ('a' channel)

left to right: desaturated, lightness channel with some curves adjustments, lightness channel plus this fill layer technique

B&W Study: Desaturation B&W Study: Lab mode (lightness channel) B&W Study: Lab mode with fill layer

update: added in one more photo using a this lab mode technique. I also did some sharpening with the unsharp mask. I think this one has the best dynamics.

Comments (1)

i like your a channel curve altered ones quite a bit. i think the lightening of the background helps create a sense of depth because of the increased contrast with the flowers.

also... we tend to perceive red as brighter than it actually is, so the flowers feel closer to the original photo (at least to me) than the unadulterated photo.

the last one feels quite graphic to me. like a modernist interpretation of flowers. then again, a lot of cd albums use that to their benefit right now, as well (modest mouse cover, some art for this band that opened for puffy amiyumi, etc).

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