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Creating B&W images that works

The popular Photoshop Channel Mixer approach to creating a black and white image from a colour original is something of a quick fix that may encourage us to mix channel data across the entire image. Without the use of layers and masks to isolate specific areas of the image the image-editor is restricted to ˇ°ˇ­choosing the percentage contribution from each colour channelˇ­ using a mix of the existing (source) colour channels in the imageˇ± (Adobe PS Help). However there is a better more discriminating method that makes good use of red, green and blue data separately anywhere in the image rather than in a global percentage mix of all three. It's better because stacked RGB channels in layers can be analysed for the good qualities of each. It really gets down to the essentials and unlocks the full black and white potential of your images. 

Image-editing software techniques can really extend the traditional darkroom approach to B&W. But it's not a fast learning curve. It takes regular practice. Some time ago I processed a colour negative frame into black and white. I used colour data for separate areas from all three channels to get a solid tonal range in the grass and trees. I was able to usefully cut through the haze in the shot and draw out detail on a distant mountainside. 

ACDSee easy-to-use photo editor
ACD Systems has produced a nice stable very flexible product with ACDSee 5.0. Unlike Adobe Photoshop Album, ACDSee didn't crash my PC!
I actually bought ACDSee 5.0 Powerpack ... and it includes FotoCanvas (for editing and creating images) and FotoAngelo (a slide show program). Unlike most of the other products, ACD Systems offers plug-ins that integrate very well with this core software including FotoSlate which is great for printing photo albums with or without captions on a variety of different paper sizes. 

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Creating B&W images that works

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