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GIMP Tutorial #15 – Simple Color to Black & White Conversion

If I had to introduce GIMP to someone who had never heard of it I would most probably say that it is simple as answering this question: who needs a high-priced, system resources-demanding “big name” commercial piece of software if you can achieve professional results with a free image editor that only occupies around 62 MB in your hard disk? So, that is GIMP a highly efficient and solid image editor that allows you to create, edit and compose images, retouch photographs and manipulate all kind of pictures with layer control and offering an extensive set of tools, filters and effects. This tutorial is about how to convert your color images into black & white in a simple and easy way.

What you need to follow this tutorial is a color picture and GIMP installed and running on your computer. You can get GIMP in a matter of seconds by clicking on the “Download” button above. When you have the “.exe” installer on your folders just launch it and the InstallIQTM manager will take care of the rest.

Open the color picture you want to convert by going to File → Open... in the explorer like dialog select the picture file and click “Open”.

Your image will be opened in the main window.

Now duplicate your image so that you do not work directly on your original picture, to do so right-click anywhere on the image and select Image → Duplicate or you can just press Ctrl+D on your keyboard.

Now you have two identical pictures. You can close the original one if you want, but I will keep it opened for comparison.

The next step is to right-click on the duplicate image (you'll difference it form the original for its “Untitled” name) and select Image → Mode → Grayscale.

And voilà! Your color picture is now black & white!

You can save and name it by right-clicking and selecting File → Save...

Another interesting more contrasted effects can be achieved by selecting the Indexed option instead of Grayscale. For the next example I selected the “black and white (1-bit) palette” and got this jaw-dropping contrasted effect

Interesting, huh?

Final Words

That's all! Now you can have a lot of fun turning your color pictures or photos into black & white and other really cool effects with GIMP. This solid free image editor can be obtained for free by clicking on the “Download Now” link below this lines, do not hesitate and get your fully functioning copy and start converting your images like pros do!

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