photoshop creative

Top 5 monochrome effects in Photoshop

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 28, 2013

Embrace the joy of monochrome with these swift and effective Photoshop edits

1. Infrared

Duplicate your layer and open the Channels palette. Click the Options arrow and choose Split Channels – delete all but the Green one. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and enter 9 pixels. Set the blend mode to Screen in the Layers palette. Open up Levels and use the sliders to add a bit of definition. The aim is for dreamy, glowing whites.

2. Duotones with Gradient Maps

Go to Adjustment layer>Gradient Map, click the gradient spectrum in the Adjustments palette and then click the black colour stop underneath the main spectrum in the Gradient Editor. Click on the square next to Color and chose your hue from the Color Picker. Pick a dark colour for best effect and then click OK.

3. Replicate traditional film grain

Black and white film has lovely grain, which can be replicated in Photoshop. Open your image and use the Channel Mixer to convert – click the Monochrome box, head to the Presets drop-down and select something with a bit of punch (Black and White with Green filter works well). Head to Filter>Texture>Grain and set to 35% Intensity.

4. Convert using the Channel Mixer

Go to Adjustment layer>Channel Mixer. Click the Monochrome box in the Adjustments box and then use the colour channel sliders to add impact to the image. Each slider targets a different part of the image, so you can use them to control shadows, highlights and background detail.

5. Selective colour

Duplicate the colour image and go to Adjustments>Black and White. Pick a preset option – here we plumped for Infrared. Zoom in, select an area you want to be coloured and press delete on your keyboard. This reveals the original colour photo. To increase the effect, click on the original photo layer and use Hue/Saturation.