B&W - Use HSL instead of Channel Mixer

Instead of using Style-Toning and Channel Mixer, the HSL tool can be used with improved control on how colour is translated to shades of grey: Channel Mixer has six colours with fixed ranges, while HSL has 8 tones with a variable range each.

To use HSL for B&W, do this

  1. Click on the white dot and drag saturation to zero
  2. Adjust other colours to taste

Of course, both tools can be used to produce fairly similar results…

but that is not the point. HSL gives you finer control and can therefore produce a wider variety of results.


A good tip and I think not very obvious for new users. Especially for Lightroom converts desperately seeking for the color mixer. :wink:

Thanks for the info Platypus. I intended to give it a try but I would have had to find out how to proceed. Two short sentences from you and I am all set up. :smiley:

Started with desaturated HSL white / RGB channel and played around a bit

  • chose different colours / changed the range
  • shifted colours
  • changed Luminance / reduced Uniformity

added the Channel Mixer
played with global Color Temperature
threw in Ton Curve and Fine Contrast settings for more ‘bite’
chose Selective Tone to fine adjust luminance

added some Control Points

  • shifted Color Temperature locally
  • adjusted Brightness locally

adjusted brightness with Gradient Tool (instead of Creative Vignetting)
played with B&W-Film Grain

@platypus, thank you for the idea (and to remember about the ‘basics’)

edit … but still like (prefer) SilverEfexPro

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That’s a handy tip, Platypus … Thanks for sharing it with us.

Ah, yes - good point … as the Channel Mixer is available only if one has a Film Pack license.


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Simple, yet so powerful. Thanks!

Thanks @platypus for this very good tip.
I was used to work directly by using B&W Filmpack and this is also a good choice.

So simple that I never thought about it. Good hint.
Maybe this will set my amateur editing skills to a next level.

Thank you Platypus for the tip.
I’m one of the desperate LR converts that you were mentioning and I still think that Channel mixer is an essential tool when it is question of creating B&W. I regret to have to buy ad additional plugging to get that tool.

I thought too about HSL tool, it is a good workaround, but you can only extend tone amplitude and luminance. I would need to compare back to LR, but I feel its impact on B&W is limited comparing to Channel Mixer. Also I’m surprised that using external circle “hue variation” has no effect on black and white.

I wil also try FP trial version to check if my feeling is right.
It is always sort of confusing when you change your tool that you used for such a long time :slight_smile: And definitively I’m still in transition period

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