Black/White Adjustment Layer 101 Pt 1

checker boardThis is the first in a ‘beginners’ series of posts regarding one of the most flexible Adjustment Layers available in most post processing applications and which work in essentially the same way in all – The Black / White Adjustment Layer.

In this post we will be discussing its’ most obvious use – making a Black / White image from a coloured one, yet we’ll be using colour sliders to make a better black/white image – confused – don’t be, it’s just a few steps.

So how do we use the original colours in an image to help us convert it to black and white? A Black & White Adjustment Layer lets us control the tonality of different areas in the black and white version using the image’s original colours as our guide. And that’s not all, by using the Adjustment Layer, we will be working non-destructively, so keeping the effect fully editable.

To demonstrate how, we will use Photopea’s implementation as it is the least complex.

      • Step 1 – Create a Black & White Adjustment Layer from the main menu by Layer > New Adjustment Layer >  Black & White or click on the ‘half moon’ shapeselect adjustment layer and select it from the Adjustment Layer drop-down.
        • Ensure the Blend Mode remains as ‘Normal’.
      • Step 2 – Click on the Layer thumbnail and you’ll see a drop down of the colours and a default value for each.
      • Step 3 – You can then adjust the tones in the B/W image by moving the sliders left or right – experiment with them and see the results.

 Step 1                                                 Step 2                                                   Step 3

bw startbw startbw mod







As you can see in the above, we took the yellow and green sliders to the max and the remainder we minimised, extreme adjustments like that are not something you would typically do but it was just to demonstrate the results.

         Original  BW                                                                                                Result after applying sliders







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