The Triple Tone feature by VitaminBW dramatically changes the approach to black & white conversion. This article explains why.

Imagine Triple Tone as a flawless waiter: in a minute he will serve you on a silver tray three different black and white versions of a color original, all in a single Photoshop document. The pictures below are the result of the Triple Tone process. The process produces three variations based on the Single Tone process: one without filters, one with a blue filter, one with an orange filter. As you can see, one of the versions will often have a surprising and unexpected appearance, which would have been difficult to imagine in advance and therefore to obtain with standard Photoshop instruments.

Manually navigate back and forth using the keyboard left/right arrow keys or swipe on devices.

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It is important to have multiple choices because black and white is not an objective representation of reality and is therefore a personal interpretation.

Below you can see the original and two final versions: the first is more respectful of the original, the second enhances the exotic character of the model. They are very different, but they’re both good versions. They were of course produced with Triple Tone and that’s the reason why we claim that Triple Tone boosts your creativity.

Beautiful Girl With Orchid Flowers. Perfect Make-up

© / Subbotina


What about the quality of the conversion? Photoshop Vs VitaminBW

Below: a comparison between the Photoshop default conversion to Grayscale using the Black & White Filter (automatic) and VitaminBW (“no filter” version). Of course, you can improve your PS version by using the whole PS arsenal, however it can be time-consuming and difficult.

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Neutral (No filter). Sometimes the best, often the best starting point

Among the three versions, the one without filters is often the best on the overall, although the other versions will probably exhibit a better appearance in some parts. It may as well happen, as in this case, that the neutral version can be used “as is” without further intervention.

Japan ©Elio Marchi 2014



Blue, the Wow! version

The Blue is usually the most extreme version. While it may not be the best in every area, in most images there will be parts where it wins above any other version. It is, therefore, a very useful version for blending in specific areas. The only drawback of the Blue version is that it may be relatively noisy and show artifacts in some occasions. Therefore, it should be used for what it may give and treated with some care.

Valli del Mincio nei pressi di Grazie (MN)

Left Neutral (No Filter), right Blue. / ©Roberto Bigano

Aquila - Chiesa delle Anime Sante

Aquila – Chiesa delle Anime Sante after the 2009 Earthquake. Left Neutral, right Blue, Mixed Hue. Notice the 3D effect of the Blue version


Orange, the finishing version

The Orange version is very often useful for subtle finishing touches and to mitigate the usually strong contrast of the Blue. It can be a very interesting starting point, as well, instead of the neutral version. As a rule, the Orange version will usually give you the best rendition of blue, cloudy skies which will be reproduced with more contrast than in the other versions. Also, it will enhance the contrast between the sky and any other non-blue object.

Bologna Airport

An apparently minor improvement yields a great result. The orange filter (right) has slightly lightened the hand and darkened the sky, therefore creating an optimal transition. / ©Roberto Bigano


A great cloudy sky enhanced in the orange version. Netherlands / ©Roberto Bigano 2013



Triple Tone | Basic and advanced tri-tonal editing made easy

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