Sunday, January 01, 2006

Fun with the Photoshop channel mixer

This is an original photo I took as part of my trek across the Queensboro Bridge during the transit strike. As you may have seen earlier, I converted most of my daytime shots to black and white because the lighting was a bit flat that day. If you're a photographer and you're like me, whenever you convert to black and white you probably either just desaturate and adjust curves or you convert to a grayscale image. But Photoshop CS2 has a better way.

Photoshop now has a quick and easy way of simulating the use of colored filters on black and white film - the channel mixer. Check it out - these are b/w versions of the image above, with different settings:

The photo above is with blue set to 100, red and green 0 - looks like a foggy day, doesn't it?

That's red 100, blue and green 0.

You used to be able to simulate this by creating a bunch of layers based on different channels and adjusting them individually, but this took me literally 1 minute total using the channel mixer. The self portrait at the top right was done the same way (that's about 60% blue, 20% green, 20% red). Using the channel mixer, it's incredibly easy to simulate the use of color filters (in any combination you like) and their effects on contrast and depth in b/w photos long after taking the shot.


  1. Anonymous9:48 AM

    I prefer an original photo to black and white. It's so cool!

  2. Anonymous8:33 AM

    Thanks, Sudi... I just didn't think the original had much color to begin with. I could have tried to boost it, but some areas of the sky are just totally white. So, I figured I would just make it completely black and white...

  3. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Just in case people reading this think that they need CS2 for this effect - the channel mixer has been around for several versions back. You can probably find lots of tutorials about it on the net. It's also extremely useful for colour correction.


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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