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Tutorial using PSP9 to change coloured photo to black & white

Started by uiba, November 27, 2004, 02:25:52 PM

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Pat asked me to write up the directions and steps that I did to come up with a final black and white photo that was originally colour of her granddaughter, Rebecca.

Hopefully, you can understand all of the following.  I used Paint Shop Pro 9.

(Click on the images in the posts so that you can see it a little larger and maybe read the settings a bit better)


1.Using Paint Shop Pro 9, I opened up the original photo

2.Straightened using Straighten Tool, Straighten, using the line by the door as a guideline.

3.  Cropped the image (Crop tool), making sure not to include any of the white sleeve showing to the left of the picture, and trying to centre the picture on Rebecca's nose (I don't know why the centering on the nose, but it works for me).[/size]

4.  Blended in missing top right triangular space, and a couple little tiny white sleeve sections showing at the bottom left.[/size]


5.  Blended in the blueish stripe to Rebecca's left using the smudge tool (set to "smoke puff").   I use long, soft strokes, many of them, avoiding the hair or any other detail.  After blending, the area still needs to be softened.  I use the "Soften" tool and carefully rub over the area in circular strokes until it all looks nice and smooth.[/size]

6.  Next I zero in on the skin (mostly the face, but also a bit on the neck), and try to eliminate any distracting blemishes, using "Scratch Remover" where it works, and the "Clone" tool otherwise (set to blend in Lighten mode).  You can always undo what you just did if it isn't right, and try again.[/size]

7.  I try to eliminate any distracting "hot spots" in the hair area and around the eyes.  I use the "Clone" tool, this time set to blend in "Darken" mode.[/size]


8.  I take a very good look at the picture and see if I like it so far.  The hair that's on the right side of her nose is bothering me, so I go ahead and try to clone it out as much as possible (using both the "Clone" and the "Scratch Remover" tool).  Then I  go ahead and adjust the histogram just a bit.[/size]

9.  After that, I notice that the blueish area to the top left is still not quite smooth, so I blend and smooth a bit more in the area.  I then use the "Lightly tanned skin" preset in Levels to adjust the contrast/colour slightly.[/size]

10.  I duplicate the layer (create a copy of the background layer).  Working in this second (copy) layer, in normal blend mode, I apply the Soft Focus filter (see settings in the image below).[/size]


11.  Using the Eraser tool, still in the copy layer, I carefully erase the areas I want to keep perfectly clear: the eyes, a bit of the eyebrows, mouth and nose detail, a few of the hair highlights:  (Note: in the image below I am showing just the top layer, so that the erased areas are visible  when erasing I keep the bottom layer visible, to better blend the erased with the blurred areas).[/size]

12.  I change the eraser tool to a larger, softer tip (usually :fuzz, soft"), and, keeping the bottom layer invisible (to see just the layer with erasures), I soften the edges of the erased areas to further blend them with the background layer.[/size]

13.  I check to make sure the picture looks right.  If not, I go back and redo.  The hair detail in particular, it's easy to go too far with it.  Once satisfied with the result, I merge the two layers.  After this, for a colour picture, I resize (or not), sharpen, and it's done.  For a b/w picture, in this case I cropped the picture a bit more so that less of the neck would be showing (I like to include the full neckline of the jumper in the colour picture, but not in the b/w).  After cropping, I used the smudge tool to slightly smudge the jumper (dress) detail (the plaid).  I then converted to b/w using "Channel Mixer", using my "People" preset (40% red, 61% green, 12% blue, constant set to -12%, monochrome of course).[/size]


14.  Finally I toned the picture using "Manual Color Correction".  One of my favourites is "Hair Colors", "Silver" I think it works well with people pictures.[/size]

15.  After that, it depends, if I'm satisfied, I stop.  Sometimes I like to tinker a bit with lightness at this point, especially in the eyes area.  In this case, I used the "Fill Flash" feature of PSP9 set to 13, to lighten the picture just a touch.[/size]


16.  After that, if the picture is for the web, I resize and sharpen (usually USM at Radius: .40, Strength 103, and Clipping 4, Luminance only).  For print, I'll also sharpen with USM but the setting I usually use are Radius 1.00, Strength 103, Clipping 13, Luminance only.  Sharpening varies so much from picture to picture.  Another way I like to sharpen (especially colour images) is to split the image into Hue, Saturation, Lightness channels, use the Lightness channel for sharpening, then recombine the image.

The final image is below.



Ursula, thanks so very much for the wonderful tutorial.

I've printed my little granddaughter's photo out and it's now on my fridge!  I'm planning on trying your technique.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"


That is an excellent tuturial, Ursula.  You do things differently then I do. Awesome results.


Pat, thank you so much for posting this.  I really enjoyed working on your granddaughter's picture!

@Soni, what do you mean?  I guess, come to think of it, we probably all do things quite differently. 


Ursula, this is a great tutorial.  I don't have 9, but 8.  I wonder if I could use your tut with that?  Different names for filters and things, of course.   The picture sure looks different than the first one did.  I'm printing this out.....just in case. :)  Thanks.  Nita


Quote from: Nita on November 28, 2004, 02:11:49 AM
Ursula, this is a great tutorial.  I don't have 9, but 8.  I wonder if I could use your tut with that?  Different names for filters and things, of course.   The picture sure looks different than the first one did.  I'm printing this out.....just in case. :)  Thanks.  Nita

Hi, Nita, all that's done here (in PSP 9) can be done in 8, there's nothing unique to 9 here except for the screen look and some of the names for the brush tips and presets.


Hi Ursula

Congratulations on a great tutorial.  It's extremely well written and easy to follow, with  a lovely end photograph, you worked wonders on it.

I shall have a go at the tutorial with some of my pics.

Well done



That's great Annie.  If you do, I hope that you post something here so that we can see how you made out with Ursula's tutorial.

"Click for Waterloo Wellington, Ontario Forecast"