1. B&W From Image to Print
Table of Contents
I. Introduction to B&W Digital Image Making
II. Preferences in CS3 and Translation from Color to Monochrome
II.A. Setting up CS3 to Accept JPGs Images in Adobe Camera Raw
II.B. Translation from Color to Monochrome
Looking at Color and Its Grayscale Images
III. Methods to Convert From Color to Black and White
Various methods discussed
III.A. Method 1, CS3 Black and White (CS3 BW)
III.B. Method 2, HSL/Grayscale (HSL)
III.C. Method 3, Gradient Map Method (GM)
III.D. Method 4, Calculation Method (CM)
III.E. Comparison of All Conversion Methods
IV. Fine Tuning of Black and White Images
IV. A. B&W Fine Tuning Tools in CS3
Use of Curves to Enhance B&W Contrast
2 Pass Fine Tuning with the History Brush
V. Black and White Special Effects
CA1 Duotone Method
CA2 Duotone Method
CA3 Duotone Method
V.A.2 Tritones and Quadtones
V.B. Mix Color with B&W
V.C. Create an Infra-red Image
V.D. Using a Nik Filter with a B&W Image.
VI. Image to Final B&W Print
VI.A, Photographic Papers
VI.B. Image Match, Paper Match
VII. B&W Printing in CS3 with R2400 Printer
VII.A. Image Format
VII.B. Overview of the Print Workflow
VII.C. CS3 Window Settings for B&W Printing
VII.D. CS3 Window Settings for Duotone Printing
Appendix 1. B&W Color Handling Selection
Appendix 2. Advanced B&W Setting In Tone Selection
2. B&W From Image to Print
I. Introduction to B&W Digital Image Making.
Color is one of the principal aesthetic attributes of a color image. Imagine a beautiful fall foliage scene of brilliant colors then suddenly all leaves turn into
the green of summer. The aesthetics change instantaneously. You see the point. Color has a salient feature as well. It adds identification and recognition
of objects in the scene. When an image is stripped of its colors, its strength now depends much more on the subject, the composition, the interplay of
shapes and forms and how tones create the needed contrast between elements in a B&W image to give the image aesthetically both strength and
impact. A monochrome image, by its very nature, is more abstract then its color counterpart. Abstractness, in turn, can add further to the aesthetic
emotions stirred by the B&W image which we associate with fine art photography.
It’s only been in recent years that the whole enchilada, in a manner of speaking, has been available to amateur and professional photographers in the
field of black and white photography. One can go from a RGB digital image to a monochrome one and finally to a hi-quality, inkjet, B&W print, be it fine
art photography or not. There are those that voice concerns that inkjet prints are not truly photographs because they use inks rather than being
emulsion based. That’s a supercilious claim. It’s like saying that a watercolor painting is not a painting because it wasn’t painted with oils- give me break!
One major issue has been the question of longevity of inks used in inkjet printers. In the past, many were dye based which faded with time. Today,
pigment based inks from either Epson and MIS can last for 100s of years under UV protected glass and more with proper storage, so much for the
longevity issue. In any case none of us will be around to show our prints in 100 or so years. And if your work is accepted by a museum, they will be.
Another issue has been the aesthetics of inkjet prints. Given there is a difference in a close examination, like your nose on the paper sort of closeness,
between an inkjet print and emulsion based print, the former are millions upon millions of tiny dots while the latter is a continuous flow of tones so you
can see the difference with a loop. However, stand back 2 feet and you will be hard put to tell an ink print done on hi-quality glossy paper from one done
on a fiber-based glossy Silver or Platinum print. For me and I am sure for many, inkjet prints are a valid art form in their own right. And, I bet in another
decade it will be the principal art form in B&W prints.
Another illusion about inkjet prints, they are much easier to do than emulsion based. What, I say! Anyone who thinks getting a quality B&W print is a
walk in the park probably never has created a superb monochrome print. It’s hard work, probably just as hard as the emulsion approach. Yes, you read it
right. You have to work hard to get the tones and the range you want and, at same time, get neutral tones in an inkjet B&W print. That’s been my
experience and that of many others.
There is a lot of skill and hard work in digital B&W photography. First one has to get it right in the camera then one has to develop or have a good skill
set. One has to master many features and tools in Photoshop, apply them to the initial digital color image to get an initial monochrome image then apply
more tools to tweak the initial monochrome image. Next, one has to read the image and make an image match, paper match so the B&W print delivers
what one sees in the digital image- not so easy. Finally, one has to master the workflow in setting up the printer and using Photoshop CS3 to make the
print- who says B&W print making is easy.
With all this work comes the reward. I can’t explain it fully. When you see a superb B&W image that you have created, it evokes strong emotions,
aesthetic or otherwise. There is a real sense of accomplishment when you do produce a hi-quality B&W image. It makes all the effort worthwhile. I can’t
honestly say it’s true to same degree with color printing. Yes, I like doing color, but it just does not excite me as B&W printing does.
This tutorial is meant for users of Photoshop CS3 running in Windows. CS2 is applicable with most of the techniques discussed and demonstrated. One
should have a reasonable working knowledge of Layers and Curves, the use of tools in the Toolbar, and how to set preferences in CS3 and bridge.
The tutorial is broken up into six sections (excluding this introduction), each covers a specific knowledge base to learn within B&W image making and
printing. They are sufficiently detailed so you can follow along with CS3 getting images from our web site.
Well, let’s begin our B&W photo-journey by first getting on the same page in the setup of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) window in Photoshop CS3. It’s
used in opening JPGs in this tutorial so you can use JPGs for most images.
3. B&W From Image to Print
II.B. Translation from Color to Monochrome
A useful technique in B&W photography is simply Discerning tonal
to visualize the scene you photograph in black changes is always
and white tones. This is a maxim we all should hardest in the very low
follow. However, in reality most of us don’t. We tones as seen here
simply photograph then decide later if the color 100%(pure black) to the
image would have more impact as a B&W. It’s 90% segment.
funny, in the pre-digital era many in
photojournalism would have two cameras; one
with color film, the other B&W. The why is
obvious. They were hedging their bets on what
would have more impact, the color or B&W
image. Today we have the luxury of enjoying
both the world of color and black and white in
digital photography. The essential element is
getting the image right in the cameras first in
terms of exposure, composition, and sharpness
then the fun can begin in Photoshop CS3. Let’s
look first at the grayscale, to appreciate better
what we are dealing with in the B&W photo-area.
A color has three values as attributes: the hue
which is the color (e.g., red), intensity or
brightness defines its luminosity, and saturation
the amount of color. The translation from color to
B&W (Black and White) is simply a conversion of
the color’s luminosity value into a number
between 0 (pure black) to 255 (pure white) while
discarding its hue and saturation values. The
scale 0 to 255 is called the grayscale as applied
to an 8 bit image. It is more convenient than
using a 16 bit grayscale for discussion purposes.
Who wants to keep writing or remembering 5
digit numbers all the time from 0 to 65535.
For those not familiar with a grayscale, Fig. 1 is example of the
tonal range in the 0-255 grayscale. It is divided into 21 segments,
each a 5% increment, as labeled in the top scale with its 0 to 255
equivalent on the very bottom scale. When tones are broken up, not
continuous, it’s much easier to
With a reasonable contrast ratio (approx. 1000:1) for your monitor, discern their luminosity
one should be able to discern at least 19 of the 21 segments if differences. But still, trying to
your monitor has a reasonable contrast ratio; the hardest two are judge tones that differ by 5% or
0 and 13. The fact that the tones are continuous (displayed as less is hard especially in the low
gradient) also makes it more difficulty to distinguish segments. If tones and the high ones. Keep
the tones are broken up as shown in Fig. 2, they are more easily this in mind when examining
discernable, which, of course, is what occurs in the real world. B&W images.
Upon conversion from color to B&W, the brightness values of all
the color pixels in the image fall into the tonal range covered by
these bands. There are definite limitations on what a viewer can
discern; segments of B&W image with tonal differences of
2%to 3% can not be distinguished that well, if at all. Further in
printing, at least I have not found it possible to distinguish areas of
black from 0-15 regardless of the paper used. But we know for
certain on the screen, one can see 5% differences in 25 to 255
range- please keep limitations in mind.
4. B&W From Image to Print
4. Move the sliders to the right then to
the left and right by 200 % and note
how the picture in the lower right
(red circle) changes its tonal range
and thereby the details visible in
the image. Step 4.
Repeat using the yellow slider, In the Fig. 4 are
again you note the dramatic my final settings
changes within the red circle (left for the sliders.
of center) and elsewhere in image. You may be
It is a trial an error process with different when
slider adjustments until you get you run the
what you want as a final image with exercise as to
good detail and contrast- this, of your settings;
course, is subjective. predicated on
5. Close 3-1-C.jpg but don’t save it. preference and
what you see.
In image 3-1-C, the subject is the three
pictures triangularly arranged in the
foreground. Your eye is drawn to them, The image here is
not the stall per se so they have to stand not the final one. It
out in the final B&W. will be fine tuned
in treated in
III.B. Method 2, HSL/Grayscale (HSL)
To utilize the HSL/Grayscale, one has to go to the CS3 menu to File/Open and select the JPG file or through the Adobe Bridge. If the Preferences are
set for ACR, as discussed in Section II, then the image will open in the ACR window.
Steps for conversion:
1. Go to File/Open and again
2. Next, in the ACR window click Tone Curve icon to
th Step 2.
on the 4 icon from the left in the tool adjust tonal range.
palette(set of sideway Ws) then click
on the radio button (Convert to
Grayscale), immediately a grayscale
image comes up with the sliders set to
zero as seen in Window 1, the ACR
Eight (8) color
sliders to adjust
specific areas of
tone based on the
color of the area-
very nice. We use
these sliders in
5. B&W From Image to Print
3. Next adjust the color sliders Window 2
individually and note how areas
change tone with each slider
movement if the slider’s color is Tone Curve
present. With a little trial and icon for tone
error you will get details and adjustments
contrast that are suitable. In
Window 2 are the used
HSL/grayscale settings. You may
have different ones.
Now we can use the tone curve to
get some snap into the B&W
4. Click on the 2 icon from
the left to open up the “Tone
Curve”. Select the “Point” tab and
use the mouse to create an S-
shaped curve to give more
contrast in dark tones and slightly
lighten up the mid-tones (see
Window 3). The final image from
tone adjustment is shown below.
5. Close 3-1-C.jpg without Adjust sliders
saving it or save it but rename it.
Results on 2 pass
adjustment with Window 3
click on the
Point tab then
click on curve
and drag up
or down while
create an S-
Both the CS3BW and
use color adjustments
to change tones in the
Now we will turn to
methods that don’t use
color adjustments at all.
6. B&W From Image to Print
V. Black and White Special Effects
Unless you are making creative images all
the time, keep the special effects
Topics approaches for black and white images
TONING down to a minimum. We will go into four
areas: toning from two directions of the
MIX COLOR and B&W
many available; how to mix color into B&W
CREATE INFRA-RED images; how to create Infra-red images; and
NIK FILTER finally using a Nik filter, a plug-in to
Photoshop, which can add interesting
aesthetic attributes to a B&W image.
Adding color to B&W images has been around for
well over a 150 years. Some print makers added
selenium toners for warm tones, Gold chloride for
rich purplish browns, Ferric oxides for beautiful blue
tones (cyanotypes), and sepia tones for the light
brownish tones. Today, of course with Photoshop,
you can tone to your heart’s content.
CS3 offers many ways to duotone (2 colors) and
has presets to do both tritone (3 colors) and
quadtone (4 colors.
These are three color added (CA) methods to
create a Duotone from many that are available:
• CA1.. Uses a Fill layer, various blend modes
and opacities to give an enormous variety of
images with added color.
• CA2.. Uses HSL/Grayscale followed by
Duotone in the Camera Raw window.
• CA3..Color image converted to a B&W via
use of the Gradient Method then uses the
Hue/Saturation window to add color to the
Duotones versions of a color image by the CA1 technique
7. B&W From Image to Print
V.B. Mix Color and B&W Step 3.
There are many ways to put color into a B&W
image but since we already know the Gradient A white mask always
Method (GM) to create a good monochrome appears after GM
image, let’s use GM with a slight twist. implemented. Just click on it
after the brush selection and
start painting on the B&W
1. Open up 3-2-C.jpg via the ACR window’s
image. The de-masked areas
“Open Image”. Duplicate it and close the
show up as black and gray
original image without saving it.
areas on the white mask
dependent on the opacity of
2. Change the foreground color to black (hit
D then X ) then click on the half-black/half
white icon at the bottom of the Layer palette
and select Gradient Map then click OK in the
GM box. Step 4
3. Now, with foreground color still black, left Soft brush and
click directly on the white mask in the size 90
Gradient Map 1 layer in the Layer palette.
4. Select the paint brush (4 icon down on
the right of the vertical toolbar) and adjust
hardness to 5% or less and size around 90.
5. Holding left mouse down, just drag the
mouse across the trees and lamp post area
and, bingo, they become colored.
You can also adjust the brush opacity and
add tinges of color to the image.
6. Reduce brush opacity to 40% and paint
along the lower section of quay adjacent to
the river and the area above the bridge in
background. See the subtle coloring effects
you can get.
trees and lamp post
area using a black
That’s all there is to it. You can use this
brush on a white
technique on any image. If you make a
mistake in de-masking with the black paint
brush, just change the foreground color to
white to remove the color area by painting
over the mistake.
Example of how
color adds impact
and interest to a
B&W image. Your
focus on the
8. B&W From Image to Print
V.C. Create an Infra-red Image
Infra-red images can sometimes really give Step 3.
you interesting images that are wonderful.
One could use an IR-filter (e.g., Hoya 72 IR) The settings for
or better yet, retrofit your camera with an IR- conversion with
sensor if you want incredibly beautiful IR the Monochrome
images. But alas for most of us, the tools in button selected.
CS3 will have to do to get IR-images.
1. Open up Scene-4-IR.jpg via the ACR
window, make a duplicate, and adjust
its size to 25%.
2. Next go to Layer/New Adjustment st
Layer in the menu bar and select 1 pass image
Channel Mixer then click OK on the from Step 3.
New Layer dialog box.
3. In Channel Mixer window check the
Monochrome button then move the
green slider to 194%, then red slider
to -41% (minus 41%), and the Blue
slider to -114% (minus 114%); moving Step 4.
the sliders to left darkens and to right
brightens. Bingo, you have an IR Curves adjustments to
image with a good dark sky and darken and lighten
bright areas. You may like other areas in the image..
settings. it’s all about contrast.
Nonetheless, the 1st pass image looks a little
flat. We could try fine tuning with the RGB
sliders in Channel Mixer, but there is an
easier and faster way, use Curves.
4. Go to Layer/New Adjustment Layer
and select Curves in the main menu
bar then make adjustments to give an
S-shaped curve as shown in the
adjacent image. One might ask, why
wasn’t the black and white point set nd
eye-droppers used? No need, already image
good blacks and whites end-points
Compare the 1 and 2 pass images and
note how the latter pops compared to former.
Oh, how I love Curves and, yes, we could
flatten the image and use the History brush
to further fine tune the IR-image. If you look
at the top section of the curve, you note that
it lies just below the corner of the graph.
Purpose, it was to prevent a blown-out of
some of the details in the brightest section
(marked by the red circle in the 2 pass RGB values lie
113,128, 33 in
What images qualify for conversion to IR? this area of the
Greenery is not enough. The tonal range of original image.
greens should be above 80, best around 130
on the grayscale, and the ratio of green to
blue should be greater than 3 to get exciting RGB values
images. The greens give brilliant whites. hover around 25,
35, 15 in this
A green to red ratio of around 1 is also good. area. Note how
Low luminosity in all the greens always gives this translates in
dark and flat looking IR images. IR image.
9. B&W From Image to Print
VII. B&W Printing in CS3 with Epson R2400 Printer
Printing monochrome (B&W) images is easy; getting what you want is another matter. But then again, rewarding prints are the reward after a little hard
work. Before we start a workflow for creating B&W prints in CS3 with the R2400 printer and Ultrachromic inks, here is a list of items always to bear in
mind.. it’s a don’t forget list.
Items to Remember
Image on the screen never perfectly
matches the image printed. Why?
One is an illuminated image, the other
is reflective (the print). They can be
close, never perfect.
Keep things simple in the workflow
Always make test prints before a final
Saving an image
as Grayscale is my
Fine tune an image for a final print is
preferred way to
just that, fine tune means no gross handle a B&W
adjustments. images for
printing. If later
Always work in 16 bit mode with the you want to
screen image- it is automatically duotone the image,
converted to 8 bit by Photoshop when just go to the
printed. Image/Mode menu
and change it back
VII.A. The Image Format
Recall in Section 3 we discussed ways to create a
B&W from a color (RGB) image. There are two
ways to save a converted image: One is to leave it
as an RGB as done using the Gradient Method
(GM) or HSL/grayscale from the ACR (Adobe
Camera Raw) window. Or, once converted to a
monochrome, you can go to the Image/Mode
menus and set it to a Grayscale image.
It does not matter whether you save a B&W image
as an RGB or as a Grayscale image when you go to
print. Nonetheless, I prefer to save it as grayscale
but the choice is yours. I use a working gamma
=2.2 for images, color or B&W. Adobe 1998 color
space is also set to a gamma of 2.2 in Windows,
1.8 for Macs. Preferred Settings to Use for B&W Image File Format:
Resolution = 300ppi (pixels per inch)
Grayscale profile = gamma 2.2 (Windows), 1.8 (Mac)
Format = 16 bit PSD or Tif,
Mode = Grayscale
The resolution assumes your camera is at least 6Mb.