Paint Shop Greyscale

Paint Shop greyscale conversions can produce stunning black and white images.  The conversion methods range from the very basic and quick conversion to much more sophisticated conversions.

I'm not sure what it is about black and white images because they have retained their popularity through the years.  It probably has something to do with the fact that the viewer has to become much more involved with the subtle tones and shades of black and white than with color images.

Whatever the reason it is very rewarding to create a fabulous greyscale image from a color image with Paint Shop Pro.

Let's get going ...


This is the easiest and most basic method of Paint Shop Greyscale conversion.  

It' simple - do this ...

Image > Greyscale

See - simple and the results are acceptable.

paint shop monochrome color paint shop monochrome converted
Original Color Image Converted to Black and White
With Greyscale

Not terribly exciting but it does the job, right?

Hue and Saturation

This method of creating a Paint Shop Greyscale provides more adjustments and that means you get a nicer black and white image.

Let's work with Austin Powers (a double for sure) once again.

Here's how this one works ...

  1. Open your image and create a new Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer.
  2. Move the Saturation slider (on the left of the palette) to -100 and watch the image convert to black and white.  
This is a comparison of Greyscale and Desaturating the image with the Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer.

paint shop monochrome greyscale psp monochrome hue saturation
Greyscale Hue and Saturation

There isn't much difference, is there?  The Hue and Saturation image may be a bit lighter in the face and background, however.

But wait - there is more you can do with the Hue and Saturation dialogue.

Leave the Hue slider alone and make some small test adjustments to the Lightness slider - wow - that does make a difference, doesn't it?

paint shop monochrome hue and saturation dialogue paint shop monochrome last
Hue Saturation Dialogue Lightness Decreased

When this Paint Shop Greyscale image is compared to the other two it is easy to see that the last one is the lightest of the three.  Is that good?  Who knows?  It seems to be easier on the eyes.

Here is a nice little hint with this technique.  If you really like the results and want to apply the same adjustments to another image then save the adjustment as a Preset.  You do that by clicking the little diskette icon near the top of the dialogue and then giving your preset a name.

When you want to use it again just drop down the preset list and select your wonderful preset.

paint shop monochrome preset

Black and White Film

This is the Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 automatic adjustment found in the Effects menu - Effects > Photo Effects > Black and White Film ...

This may be as far as you really want to go with Paint Shop Greyscale conversions because it does a great job.  There are infinite adjustments plus you can change the Brightness and Clarify.

paintshop monochrome black and white film

Lets try the Black and White Film dialogue on an image and here it is ...

paint shop monochrome green valley
Green Valley Ranch
Henderson NV

Here is the Black and White Film dialogue set to "Suggest Color" ...

Paint Shop monochrome dialogue

And the resulting image ...

Paint shop Monochrome Green Valley

Now I don't know about you - but I like this conversion from color to a greyscale image.

And how can we survive without using this dialogue on our friend, Austin, from earlier.

paint shop monochrome dialgoue paint shop monochrome austin
Black and White Film Mr. Austin - again

If you compare this version of Austin with the earlier versions I think you will like this one better - I know that I do.

This Paint Shop Greyscale conversion offers an infinite number of permutations - all you need to do is drag the little black circle around the different colors and wait for the preview.  When you get something you really, really, really like why not save it as a preset so you can use it again and again?

You can even find a conversion you really like and then, just for the heck of it - run the conversion again for a new and interesting look.  

You can do anything you want because you own your copy of Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 and experimenting with different looks is highly encouraged!

So much for the Black and White Film conversion - now onto the Channel Mixer ...

Channel Mixer

The next Paint Shop greyscale conversion will use the RGB channels.

So what are channels?  Well, from the Paint Shop Pro Help files this is the answer  - "Image files store color information in channels, or planes, of colors. You can separate an image into RGB, HSL, or CMYK color channels. An RGB image has three channels: red, green, and blue."

Does that make sense?

The Channel Mixer used here is an Adjustment Layer and here is the Channel Mixer Dialogue ...

paint shop monochrome channel mixer

Some housekeeping stuff ...
  1. The default setting is Red 100%, Green 0% and Blue 0% with the Monochrome box checked.
  2. Typically the three numbers for Red, Blue and Green should total 100% but when you look at the Red Channel you can see it can go beyond 100%.
  3. Similarly, the three channels can also have negative numbers.

The problem with the Channel Mixer is this - how does one determine which percentage of Red, Green and blue to be used when creating a black and white image?

One method is to just mess about with the three sliders and find something you like.

Another more precise method is to find a starting point for the three sliders using the individual channels that make up the color image and this is how you inspect the individual channels ...

Image > Split Channel > Split to RGB ...

And up will pop three new images with one being the Red Channel, one the Green Channel and one being the Blue Channel.  With the original color image open with the three channels do this ...

Window > Tile Horizontally ...

This is what will happen (ya - I know I am using Austin again).

paint shop monochrome channels

Now you can inspect the three channels in leisure and comfort.

The channels are:

  • Top Left - Blue
  • Top Right - Green
  • Bottom Left - Red
  • Bottom Right - Original

Blue Channel - very dark and closer inspection than available here shows that it is noisy.  That is not unusual in the Blue Channel.

Green Channel - not as dark but kind of flat and lacking contrast between his face and the background.

Red Channel - lots of contrast between his face and the background.  It is interesting that the shine on his cheek and nose has disappeared in the Red Channel.

In the Channel with this image I would be tempted to start with Red at 50% and Green at 50% and then work from there.  When you have your starting point close the three channels and work with the color image only.

Now make your adjustments, click OK and check out the result.  If it is not acceptable then double click on the Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer and re-do the adjustments until you like the result.

At the bottom of the palette is something called Constant.  This will darken or lighten the overall image and not much change in the value is needed to produce a big change on the image.

Here is the Channel Mixer Dialogue ...

paint shop greyscale channel mixer dialogue

And here is the linage at these adjustments ...

paint shop greyscale austing final

And just for anyone interested - here is the ending layers palette ...

paint shop greyscale layers

The Channel Mixer method of making a Paint shop Greyscale is very powerful and will create excellent black and white images.

Grab yourself a color image and give it a go.

If you have mastered the techniques on this page and you are ready for a challenge - well I've got one for you.

The next technique uses two Hue and Saturation Adjustment layers and is adapted from a Photoshop technique developed by Russel Brown.

Check it out right here ...

On Page Links


Hue and Saturation

Black and White Film

Channel Mixer

Paint Shop
Greyscale Conversion

Greyscale - black and white - monochrome - they all pretty much mean the same thing.

Remember - a technique such as greyscale conversions does not have to stand on its own.

After you have created your black and white masterpiece you can, and should experiment with some of the other Paint Shop Pro tools like Curves and Levels.

They can take a good image and make it truly outstanding!

Some Greyscale Images

paint shop greyscale thumb

paint shop greyscale thumb

paint shop greyscale thumb

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