April 22, 2010
Before & After: Baby Blue
One of the ladies this morning wanted to convert a picture of her son to black and white. Let me be the first to admit that I’m not the best at achieving this in PSE manually, but I have a ton of actions that can do this for me, with a little tweaking. I’ll show you my before and after first, then scroll down to see my steps. 
  1. I started with Squeaky Clean. Seriously people, download this action. (BTW, she just loaded a new action called “Berries and Cream.”)
  2. I then adjusted the skin tone (I went to adjust color for skin tone under enhance) – I then toned it down a little because it was too warm. 
  3. I cropped and filled in the background by stretching the canvas (just use the marquee tool to select the area you want to stretch, click ctrl+T to do a free transform and stretch – Coffeeshop has a great tutorial on this).
  4. I used Pioneer Woman’s Bring Out the Eyes action and then dodged the eye just a little more to make it pop. 
  5. At this point, I felt like the background was a little noisy. I selected the baby, then selected the inverse, created a new layer with just the background (ctrl+J), clicked filter and gaussian blur. I used a layer mask and then used a soft black brush to paint around the edges of the baby so the baby wasn’t blurred. 
  6. I may have used a soft (like super soft, 10% opacity soft) vignette to finish out the look.
Now, to convert to B&W: 
  1. I used Nelly Nero‘s Classic B&W action – you do need to tweak the layers just a little to get it right. 
  2. I also dodged the eyes a little more to make them pop again since the action made them look black. 
  3. I think I used Coffeeshop’s Baby Powder Room to soften just a little and lighten the area around his chest (it was also too dark).
That’s all for now – have a great day!