How To Convert Your Images To Black And White Using a Gradient Map

There are probably 50 different ways to convert your images to black and white in Photoshop. It could be done by using plugins, playing with the channels, by changing the Hue/Saturation bar, or by using the 'Black and White' tool. And these are just few of the ways. In this video, Glyn Dewis shows you how he converts his images to B/W just by using a gradient map. It's a one-layer solution that gives you a lot of control over the final result. Fast and useful.

Do you have different techniques you use to convert your images to black and white? share them with us in the comments below.

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17 Comments

David T's picture

VERY informative... but gosh dang, he takes so long to say anything!

I really like the info in his images but agree, I keep wishing he would get to the point! I subscribe to his YouTube channel but rarely watch because they take so long... When I do watch, I keep skipping ahead and he still didn't say anything, but when he does, he keeps me subscribed.

Noted...I'll cut to the chase :)
Thanks for sharing mate

WOW, to get a reply from you is cool! You do give great information, but I'm impatient. :)

It could be the beer before I start recording...lol :)
No worries mate...always open to hear feedback, and again BIG thanks for the share :)

Noam Galai's picture

You can always make a the first part of the video a short-fast paced explanation, and then expand in the 2nd part. but you vids are great.

Hmm, I prefer having more control over the color range. Gradient map simply replaces everything with a gradient tone. With B&W-conversion you can pick what color ranges you want emphasized in a fashion not available when using a gradient map. I much prefer that method.

True, but like he said, having more techniques readily available in your head means that when an image doesn't need all that control, you may chose to do things differently because it maybe faster, and time is money. Or you may simple want a different look.

esp say BnW grad with Soft Light in Ps :-)

You have a point, but I found I was getting such consistently good results with this technique that it became my go-to "first try" method. If I didn't like the results I'd move along to something else, but 9 times out of 10 I would. There's just something about it that's really quite classic.

You can also tweak the gradient, putting in extra control points and moving them around. Surprisingly versatile!

Next up: duotones! I could do a whole article on that, but I don't have the video-making skills (yet).

DuoTones? Cool idea...I'll bet there are folks out there who have different experiences with Photoshop that don't know about those either. Thanks for the suggestion....it was a suggestion right? :)

Suggestion? Hey, if you know how, call it "inspiration." :-) I've used them for a few decades in print, and you can get effects with duotones that it's hard to get any other way.

thanks for the technique, i've given it a shot and it works well! less is more in this case, when i see the color selections on typical B&W adjustments it makes me want to work too long and perfect each channel - i end up annoying myself with indecision!

This might cure that.. not a ton of channels, just changing the gradient and it's little sub-gradients, I'm interested to see what I can achieve with it.

So what's the difference between this and RGB > Luma -> curves?
I used to know a guy that preferred levels over curves. He's no longer with us any more.

I prefer RGB -> Lightness by Hue -> curves.
Then maybe Luma -> Hue/Sat by lightness for some split toning.

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