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Can you convert from color to grayscale and/or black/white in Affinity Designer and/or Photo?

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Can you convert from color to grayscale and/or black/white in Affinity Designer and/or Photo?

 

This is very helpful for designing for the very few people who cannot see color in checking for background/foreground contrast.

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There are a number of different ways to remove colour, however these are probably the most common ways:

1) Go to Document > Colour Format > Greyscale.  Although I never use this as it's destructive and removes the colour information permanently

2) Go to Layer > New Fill Layer, fill it with white and set the layer blend mode to 'Colour'

3) Add a Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer and change the Output Channel to 'Grey'

4) Add a Curves Adjustment Layer, set the layer blend mode to 'Colour', then drag the bottom-left corner point of the curve to the top-left corner (so that it's a horizontal line)

5) Add a HSL Adjustment Layer and drag the 'Saturation Shift' slider all the way to the left (-100%)

6) Add a Black & White Adjustment Layer

7) Add a Black & White Adjustment Layer, and change the default values from 100%, to the following values to mimic method 3 (adding a Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer).  R=29.8%, Y=88.5%, G=58.9%, C=69.9%, B=11.4%, M=41.2% (for RGB 8-bit images only, the values will be different for RGB 16-bit images).  You can record this as a macro.

8) Add a Soft Proof Adjustment Layer and set the Proof Profile to 'Greyscale D50'.  This will mimic method 1 (Document > Colour Format > Greyscale)

9) To do it via 'Layer Effects' for a layer or group.  Open the 'Layer Effects' settings.  Go to 'Colour Overlay' and set Blend Mode to Colour, Opacity to 100% and Colour to white or black.

 
It's worth noting that the different methods give different end results as a straight B&W conversion, as per the below examples (click on the first image, then use the left/right arrow keys to scroll through them).  The Monochromacy/Achromatopsia 'Color Blindness Simulator' on this site, appears to be using something similar to methods 2 or 3 above.

000.thumb.jpg.a279c8ed87e704b0825bc2d10593ad6f.jpg

001.thumb.jpg.db83a5b141cec6cf029f1ade6c1095db.jpg

002.thumb.jpg.4dda715ae19763694537296420c9e5f5.jpg

003.thumb.jpg.0d072d5b0809434b93e1913623080c97.jpg

004.thumb.jpg.fc84ef60facf566c3b7bca65c3dd2df2.jpg

005.thumb.jpg.d9f6b8f3a54e801e1ac3458fdd114eab.jpg

006.thumb.jpg.ff93a951ac2422f7f542be7c4b5a8f8f.jpg

007.thumb.jpg.3cca1763bcf01f107ffc636385dcb9b9.jpg

008.thumb.jpg.e8b6d9888677e43488145a6b945af4d0.jpg

009.thumb.jpg.831999812e40e14fdfaefc9b74073010.jpg

 

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You can also use the free NIK plugins in AP. They have an app just for B&W conversion.


Skill Level: Beginner, digital photography, digital editing, lighting.

Equipment: Consumer grade. Sony Nex5n, Nikon D5100, (16MP sony sensors)

Paid Software: Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, Lightroom4

Free Software: NIK collection, Sony CaptureOne9, Cyberlink PhotoDirector6, Hugin, ImageJ, MS Ice, Davinci Resolve

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22 minutes ago, Nic727 said:

There should be an option in "effect" to convert into grayscale/black&white in Designer. There is just too many steps to achieve that right now.

What is wrong with the first method @Sima mentioned? That is a one step method, albeit a destructive one.


Affinity Photo 1.9.1, Affinity Designer 1.9.1, Affinity Publisher 1.9.1;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
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32 minutes ago, R C-R said:

What is wrong with the first method @Sima mentioned? That is a one step method, albeit a destructive one.

 

Method 6 is one step. Methods 2 and 3 are more than one step, but they’re almost as quick and easy.


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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows 1.9.0 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.9.0 • Designer for iPad 1.9.0 • iPadOS 14.4 (iPad Air 2)

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1 hour ago, Nic727 said:

There should be an option in "effect" to convert into grayscale/black&white in Designer. There is just too many steps to achieve that right now.

 

Designer  Layer > New Adjustment > Black and White (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + B)

Photo  Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White Adjustment (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + B)

 

are both one step processes, with keyboard shortcuts.

 

You even get the option to adjust the conversion, if you want. Or not, if you don't want the extra step of dragging a slider to improve the conversion.


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

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16 hours ago, Nic727 said:

There should be an option in "effect" to convert into grayscale/black&white in Designer. There is just too many steps to achieve that right now.

If you want to do it via the 'Layer Effects' settings for a layer or group, I've added it to the original post as method 9 (this creates the same end result as method 2).

Dialogue.png.1bcc22f77140caa5ed011af414eb9a1f.png

 

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is there a way to add warm to the black and white? coming from lightroom, i can use split tone to achieve that.. in Affinity Photo split tone doesn't seem to apply to black and white images.

Any advise?

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Look at the Adjustment Panel and choose Split Tone


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3 hours ago, ryan.lio said:

is there a way to add warm to the black and white? coming from lightroom, i can use split tone to achieve that.. in Affinity Photo split tone doesn't seem to apply to black and white images.

Any advise?

Look at the Adjustment Panel and choose Split Tone


Win 10 x64 System with Intuos Pen & Touch
 - Sys : Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.80GHz (8 CPUs), 16GB RAM
 - GPU 1: Intel HD Graphics 630, GPU 2: NVIDIA GTX1050, 4GB

iPad (8th Gen) 2020

 

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However, what if you want the smaller greyscale file size? If I'm not going to use the image as a color image, why would I just use a filter that still retains the original color file size? Why isn't there just a mode change you can select and then edit contrast and such after that? This is one thing you can easily do in Photoshop and it sure makes sense. I'm bummed about this.

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1 hour ago, Molly M said:

However, what if you want the smaller greyscale file size? If I'm not going to use the image as a color image, why would I just use a filter that still retains the original color file size? Why isn't there just a mode change you can select and then edit contrast and such after that? This is one thing you can easily do in Photoshop and it sure makes sense. I'm bummed about this.

You can simply change to grayscale if you want to. But as mentioned above different methods will give different results, and you may prefer one to another.

I think you could probably convert to grayscale at the end. Or, you could keep your .afphoto file in color, with the filters, in case you want to amend it later, and simply export in grayscale to a JPG, TIFF, or PNG.


-- Walt

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For example, in AD use File menu > Document Setup > Color tab > Color Format > Grey/8 or Grey/16.


Affinity Photo 1.9.1, Affinity Designer 1.9.1, Affinity Publisher 1.9.1;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
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Well, I did a test of an image I wanted to be grayscale. I opened an RGB image in Affinity Photo and used the B/W adjustment layer to produce the type of black and white file I wanted. Then I exported the image as a .jpg and took note of the file size. Then I opened the converted image in Photoshop and saw that the MODE for the image was still RGB, NOT grayscale... so grayscale adjustment images in Affinity Photo do NOT become true grayscale images when exported. Then I converted that image into a true grayscale image in Photoshop and saved it and guess what? After converting to a true grayscale, THE FILE SIZE WAS BIGGER THAN THE AFFINITY PHOTO FILE SIZE OF THE IMAGE I USED THE ADJUSTMENT LAYER ON! Photoshop actually added file size to the image. So I guess I don't need to worry about this, do I?

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29 minutes ago, Molly M said:

I opened an RGB image in Affinity Photo and used the B/W adjustment layer to produce the type of black and white file I wanted. Then I exported the image as a .jpg and took note of the file size. Then I opened the converted image in Photoshop and saw that the MODE for the image was still RGB, NOT grayscale... so grayscale adjustment images in Affinity Photo do NOT become true grayscale images when exported.

If you would look under the JPG export panel's "more" button options, you will realize that as a default for the pixelformat the "document's format" will be used (RGB in your case, since you've opened an RGB image). If you switch that JPG export pixelformat option to "grayscales" it should usually be saved as an grayscale image.


☛ Affinity Designer 1.9.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.9.1 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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Well, thanks so much for that hint. I still don't notice all the things that show up in Affinity windows... they pass me right by. I had checked the More option previously, but simply didn't see that. Very helpful.

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17 minutes ago, Molly M said:

I still don't notice all the things that show up in Affinity windows... they pass me right by.

Maybe it also helps you a little bit to look over the Affinity Photo online help or search there for specific things/themes of your interest. Though certain things might be only described shortly there in the Affinity help online files.


☛ Affinity Designer 1.9.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.9.1 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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Oh, I've been watching tutorials endlessly, both on Affinity and youtube. There's lots of great stuff out there. The tutorials I watch just haven't always matched up to my need at the time. But I'm learning! I'm quite impressed with the Affinity programs, although my 30 years of experience using Adobe programs actually gets in the way. I keep expecting things to work the same... and for the most part, they don't. There seems to be a different kind of logic behind how the programs work. Anyway... thanks for the good advice.

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