Photoshop Monochrome Conversion

Color to Monochrome

I regularly use the Channel Mixer adjustment to convert my images from color to monochrome. The results of this conversion will be shown in the image at the end of this article.  This process has the advantage of being simple to implement and is reasonably intuitive to use through moving the sliders in the Channel Mixer dialog box. Also since the conversion is done in an layer, thus the conversion can be modified at any time provided the image is saved without flattening the layers.


Original Color Image

The following steps will guide you through the process of this conversion.

Open the file that you have chosen to convert from color to black and white.
Once the file is open, go to your layers pallet; click and hold on your background layer, then drag this background  layer on to the "New Layer" icon.
You have just now created a new layer or background copy of your original layer.  All of the changes in creating the MonoChrome image will occur on this layer. 



Next go up to "IMAGE", click on and then scroll down to "ADJUSTMENTS", then to CHANNEL MIXER."
A box will come up on the screen that has " Out put Channel" and "Source Channel".
Just below the Source Channel there will be THREE channels that are titled
Red, Green and Blue. Each channel has a slide bar that has a % number.
This is the area you will be making the tonality changes to your Color Image.
Just below this area you will notice  another slider "Constant with a % number. I generally leave this slider set a o%.

At the bottom of the box you will notice a small check box and the word "Monochrome", by checking this box, you will noticed that your color image has just turned to a Black and White image.



The image is now ready to start the process of creatively adjusting the various tonalities in your image.
Now go back to the Red, Green and Blue sliders to start creatively making those tonal adjustments in your image.
Try to maintain a 100% total from the adjustments when you combine the Red, Green and Blue sliders.   ( Red might be 60% - Green might be 30% and blue might come in at 10%, which in turn adds up to 100%)

When viewing the individual channels of an image, try to find the best possible channel - look for tonality that describes the image to your liking.

Below are the various TONALITY RANGES that occur in the
 Red, Green and Blue channels from the Original Green Image. 

Original Color Image

100% Red Channel Mixer 

100% Green C Mixer

100 % Blue Channel Mixer

Channel Mixer + Curves

Sepia T = +40R -3M  -34Y

   This is just one of several ways to convert your images from color 
to Black and White. The images below are the end results that
can be accomplished using the various channels in the Channel Mixer.



May the quality of light always be with you and may
the creative energies flow through your heart an soul.

Adobe Photoshop Tips

Nature Photography by Gary D.Tonhouse

Creating the Sepia Tone Image