Digital Color To B&W; Five Top Ways To Convert To Gray Page 3

Section 5: Calculate A Conversion

Software: Photoshop
This conversion option employs a little used Photoshop feature called the Calculations command. Like the Channel Mixer, the Calculations command is designed for blending channels but contains several more options. For instance, channels can be blended from the same image, or different sources. Different Blend modes can be used to govern the merger and the results can be applied to a new image, a new channel, or even a selection. In this instance we will use the command as another way of controlling the way that colors are mapped to gray using a technique advocated by Color Management guru Bruce Fraser.

1) Set up first source. Start by selecting the Calculations command (Image>Calculations). As we are using the same photo for both sources check that the file name is the same for both Source 1 and Source 2. Select the layer and channel that you want to merge. To use all layers in a multilayer document select Merged for Layer. Make sure the Preview option is checked.


2) Choose Blend mode. The looks of the results are controlled by two main factors--the channels you select and the Blend mode used for the merging. The range of results possible by varying these three settings is substantial and this part of the process does require a bit of fiddling until you find a set of values that works well with the image.


3) Choose how to apply results. The overall strength of the blending effect is controlled via the Opacity setting. Lower values produce more subtle results. The last step in the conversion process is to select how the calculations are to be applied. Here we select New Document so that the results are produced as a new photo.


Elements 5.0: Color Conversions Just Got Easier
Adobe's Photoshop Elements 5.0 contains a new custom Convert to Black and White feature that lets you select from a range of conversion styles and then customize the grayscale mapping by adjusting how each color is converted. Now Elements users have similar color mapping power to Photoshop CS2 aficionados, albeit in a simpler and easier to use package.