random blather, shutterbug

a black & white experiment

Remember way back when, when we were all still learning to use Photoshop and similar software, and LJ icons with creepily oversmoothed skin, oversharpened eyes and mouths, and eleventy textures and effects all layered on top were like, the height of artistry?

Back then, there were A LOT of tutorials out there, teaching you how to do all sorts of stuff. I still have a lot of them bookmarked (and I have no idea how many of them are still valid links), and I know I learned a lot from them. (Of course, I then had to unlearn a lot of that – some techniques changed, some are no longer used, and some were just plain wrong.)

One of things I remember many of the tutorials pointing out was not to make things black and white just by using the desaturate function in Photoshop. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways of doing this, but in this particular case, the advice was to use the gradient map function instead.

I watch quite a few Lightroom-related tutorial videos on YouTube, and in LR, there’s the B/W button that you click and it takes your photo to black and white. I’ve been wondering for a while how it compares.

animated image of various methods of editing an image into black and white

As you can see, there are plenty of ways of turning and image black and white.

I picked this picture because it had both extreme lights and darks, so if anything got lost in the process it would be visible. And honestly, I think the Lightroom B&W looks the best. The gradient map is similar, but the whites are too bright and there is too much detail lost in the clouds. At first, I considered the fact that the Photoshop desaturate wasn’t the worst of the five strange, but I’m thinking that process probably has more behind it than simply taking the saturation sliders in the HSL tab down to zero with no other adjustments.

This concludes this episode of Paula’s Silly Experiments. 😉

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