Photoshop - Black and White conversion

Submitted by Janak on Tue, 05/26/2009 - 16:46

I have been a Photoshop user for a good few years and as with anything, you tend to develop a habit of doing things a certain way. Until today I always thought the default methods were good enough for converting color images to B&W. Today, after trying to carry out this simple conversion I realised that the colours werent converting quite right, in the past I have always fixed the "washed out" converted images with a little bit of Curves love. A little bit more probing into this and trying to "debug" the problem, I came across very interesting results in converting this simple image I made:

Sample Image

Orange: (RGB): 255, 123, 0
Purple: (RGB): 130, 0, 249
Green: (RGB): 0, 255, 130
Blue: (RGB): 0, 128, 255


Photoshop Method 1:
Image > Mode > Greyscale

Photoshop Method 2:
Image > Adjustment > Hue Saturation (CTRL + U)

Photoshop Method 3 (CS4):
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black and White


It appears the defaults in Photoshop are about as useful as a blunt knife to cut a tomato.

In a way this is refreshing as it not only forces lazy digital photographers to learn to use photoshop properly but it also brings back some of the old skool (dark room) principles of Black and White photography.