How to Convert to Black & White in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6 provides a great way to convert a color image to grayscale with the Black & White feature. The great thing about the Black & White feature is that, like the Channel Mixer, you have a lot of control over how your colors are converted.

Here’s how to go to grayscale by using Black & White:

  1. Choose Image→Adjustments→Black & White.

    Your Black and White dialog box appears. In addition, Photoshop automatically applies a default conversion to your image.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/WorldWideImages/Image #4363392]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/WorldWideImages/Image #4363392
  2. Adjust the conversion to your liking by doing one of the following:

    • Choose a Preset: Select a preset conversion (or a custom one you saved previously) from the pop-up menu. Note that you can also use one of the presets as a starting point and then adjust from there.

    • Click Auto: This option analyzes your image’s color values and then converts to grayscale, while trying to maximize your gray tonal values. Again, this conversion can be used as a starting point.

    • Adjust the sliders: Drag the sliders left to darken and right to lighten the tones. Note that your mouse turns into an eyedropper when you move or click over your image. Click areas of your image to highlight that dominant color in your dialog box. Click and drag on the image itself with the eyedropper to move the color slider for that color, making it darker or lighter.

  3. If desired, select the Tint button to apply a tone of color to the black-and-white image.

    Adjust the Hue and Saturation sliders to choose a tint color and intensity of that color. Click the color swatch to access the Color Picker, where you can select another color.

If you totally goof up your image, hold down Alt (Option on the Mac) and click the color chip to reset that adjustment. To reset all adjustments, hold down Alt (Option on the Mac) to convert the Cancel button into Reset, and then click that button.

After you establish a custom conversion setting, save it to apply to other similar images by selecting Save Preset from the Preset Options pop-up menu, just to the left of the OK button.