Photoshop black and white conversion: contrast control
Selectively darkening and brightening the colours that make up the image has an impact on contrast, but you can also use a Curves adjustment to manipulate brightness.
As usual, the best way to do this is by using the Curves control in Camera Raw or an Adjustment Layer.
To create a Curves Adjustment Layer, select Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves, or click the Create new fill or Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel and select Curves.
The default shape of the curve is a straight line running diagonally from the bottom left of the control panel to the top right.
To boost the contrast, click the line near the bottom left corner and drag it down slightly to darken the shadows, then click the line near the top right corner and drag it up to brighten the highlights.
These adjustments pull the curve into a shallow S-shape, steepening the gradient of the middle of the curve.
Manipulating the curve in the opposite direction reduces the contrast, brightening the darker parts of the image and darkening the highlights.
PAGE 1 – Photoshop black and white conversion: use a black and white Adjustment Layer
PAGE 2 – Photoshop black and white conversion: use the hand
PAGE 3 – Photoshop black and white conversion: contrast control
PAGE 4 – Photoshop black and white conversion: toning with a Gradient Map
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