Today marks the fifth installment of “Photoshop Top 40,” the ongoing series that promises to tour you through Photoshop’s 40 best features, starting at #40 and eventually working its way up to #1. (Which, assuming I’ve done my math right, will appear sometime in April of 2010.) Feature #36 is “Black & White,” which lets you distill a full-color photograph into the best of all possible black-and-white images, one range of colors at a time.
Rather than just trashing color—the way the Grayscale command does (hey, it was once our only option!)—or performing a linear channel merge—as with the Channel Mixer—Black & White blends the midpoints of six color ranges. This provides you with superb control and all but eliminates your chance of clipping highlights or shadows.
As a result, I can take this full-color, multi-generational, goth-Americana portrait from Scott Griessel (of microstock image vendor Fotolia):
And turn it into this color-treated, black-and-white, positively classic work of American Gothic:
And Black & White is so effortless that you might decide to pierce yourself in multiple places just to remember what it feels like to experience a little bit of pain for a change. Or not. Depends on your personal aesthetics, I guess.
(For a list of all Photoshop Top 40 videos thus far, click this link.)