Lyric Black and White

Black and White

The Lyric Black and White filter provides a comprehensive set of options for converting a colored image to black and white. In addition to FCP's 3 built-in desaturation methods, it provides an RGB channel-mixer that gives advanced control over conversion. For example, the left-most effect variation above emphasises the head-shot by lightening the blue-channel and darkening the red-channel in the channel mix.

The filter also includes a set of standard level and gamma controls to allow fine-tuning of the conversion and a built-in posterizer and solarizer for black-and-white special effects.

The Lyric Black and White filter includes a set of effect controls that are common across all Lyric effect filters. For a detailed description of these controls, please see the Common Effect Controls documentation.

Additionally, all Lyric Effect filters can be applied through mattes or masks to constrain the filter effect to particular areas of the image. For background information on mattes and masks, please refer to the Lyric Matte Primer.

The Method dropdown menu lets you choose between 4 black-and-white conversion methods.


RGB Channel Mix provides manual control of the red, green and blue channel's contribution to the final image via the Channel Mixer sliders, described in detail below. YUV Luma takes uses the luminance channel after converting the image to YUV, HSV Value takes the Value channel after converting the image to HSV (effectively the brightest pixels in the R, G and B channels), and FCP Desaturate applies Final Cut's built-in desaturate primitive. Each of these last method gives slightly different results and you should try each to see if they achieve the effect you desire.

The Channel Mixer sliders only have effect when you select RGB Channel Mix in the Method menu. The final gray-scale image is achieved by adding each of the red, green and blue channels in proportion to their slider % values, which can be positive or negative and then adding in the Offset slider. These are essentially the same controls provided in the Photoshop channel-mixer and any procedures recommended for use with Photoshop's mixer can be applied with this filter's mixer as well. Generally, the sum of the percentages + the offset should equal 100, to preserve overall luminance of the final image. The default values of 70% red, 15% blue and 15% green achieve the common darkroom effect of applying a red-filter when performing color to black-and-white conversions in conventional photography.

The Level Adjust section contains standard Photoshop-style level controls. The White Level sets brightness level in the source image that is scaled up to full-white, so moving it to the left increases overall brightness of the image. The Black Level sets the brightness level in the source image that is scaled down to full-black; moving it to the right decreases overall brightness. Moving the Gamma to the right pulls the midtones towards white, lightening the scene without lifting the blacks or blowing out the highlights; moving it to the left pulls them towards black, again without overly darkening the highlights or dropping the shadows.

The Posterize section lets you apply a brightness level-stepping effect to the conversion. When the Steps slider is changed to any value above 0, it sets the number of discreet steps in brightness level in the final image, and each pixel's brightness is forced to the nearest level, subject to a rolloff controlled by the Softness slider. Setting the Steps slider to 1, for example, means that all pixels are set to either full-black or full-white. The Balance slider adjusts the brightness thresholds at which the pixels are forced up or down to the nearest discreet level.

Finally, Solarize applies an inverted V-shaped levels curve, causing darks in the original image to remain dark, mid-tones to be maximum brightness and highlights to be dark.

The Effect Controls section is a set of common controls that are documented on the Common Effect Controls page. They can be used to achieve masked and other specialized filter effects.


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