Using Photoshop to do a black and white conversion

B&W done using PS – click to embiggen

In my Photoshop course that I’m studying online, last night covered off adjustment layers, and what a thing of wonder and delight they are!  Still getting my head around the concept and the potential they have but we did some specifics around black and white conversions.

Up until now I have used Nik Silver Efex for my B&W and I love it, but was curious as to the difference outcome that might be possible by using PS instead.

Made sense to use my Driftwood Dragon image from yesterday, and the above image is my preferred option from the choices I could have made.

What does PS do that Nik SE doesn’t I hear you ask?

– if you use the B&W adjustment layer you have 6 colour channels to adjust the image tonings and they all take care of a different part of the image and you can get some really subtle changes quite quickly and easily

What does Nik SE do that PS doesn’t then?

– was frustrated in PS because it lacked the options to adjust structure (ie the amount of detail and texture) in parts of the image.  Nik SE has control points that allow you to make regional changes to contrast and texture and brightness very quickly and easily

– grain is very easy to add in Nik SE (it probably is in PS too but I’m too new to know how or where)

– vignettes are easy to add – I had to reimport the image into LR and add a radial filter and bring the exposure down a bit to add the slight vignette I wanted.  No idea if its possible to do that in PS as yet – and if so I suspect not as easy as either SE or LR

Is one better than the other?

Well it really depends on your personal preferences as far as workflow, features you want access to and the type of images you want to create.  I have felt no lack in my creation of black and white compositions by only using Nik Silver Efex, tho the ability to use both may well come in useful.

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Here are both images for your comparision, any thoughts or feedback welcome. 

Bear in mind that I’m a newbie to both PS and SE so there may well be things about each program that I simply don’t know about, but feel free to educate me 🙂


About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
This entry was posted in For Beginners, LR & Photoshop, Waffle and Burbling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Using Photoshop to do a black and white conversion

  1. Leanne Cole says:

    Stacey if you use Adobe Camera Raw you get a lot more colours you can adjust when making it black and white as well. A lot of things you found you couldn’t do you can do with ACR, but as you say, it is all new. You will get there. It is a great start.

  2. I really like the brighter wood photo better.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Yes I like it too, but I couldn’t get the combination of options to do what I wanted in silver Efex so went with what worked

  3. The brighter photos has more details and contrast. But it is a great photo to start with. 😀

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