2 Easy Ways to make an image black and white in Illustrator

In this article, I will show you How to make an image black and white in Illustrator and how you can adjust the basic color balance on an image. This article will work with a flat JPEG image or PNG, not an editable vector file.

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based software. However, despite this, you can still use it for some basic Photo Editing if you do not have Photoshop. 

For example, you can use Illustrator to crop images, resize images to the correct sizes, and even change image colors to some extent.

2 ways to make an image black and white in Illustrator

There are 2 ways that you can use to make an image black and white in Illustrator. Both options will be available under the Edit Colors tab on Illustrator. You can convert the image to Grayscale or desaturate the image using the Saturate feature.

Unfortunately editing the curves and levels further after changing to black and white is not possible in Illustrator. You will have to use Photoshop for this function.

black and white

Method 1: Convert to Grayscale

  1. Go to File>Open and navigate to the image to import it to Illustrator
  2. Select the image then go to Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to Grayscale
  3. Your image is in black and white
How to make an image black and white in illustrator

Method 2: Desaturation

  1. Go to File>Open and navigate to the image to import it to Illustrator.
  2. Select the image then go to Edit > Edit Colors > Saturate.
  3. Moving the slider up will saturate the colors and make it more colorful.
  4. Moving the slider in the opposite direction will desaturate your image to black and white.
make an image black and white in illustrator

Conclusion

Those are the 2 ways you can convert an image to grayscale or black and white in Adobe Illustrator. This method is not limited to images but works with vector files. Just select the vector files and follow the same steps.

How to make a black-and-white image in Photoshop

You now know how to change an image to black and white in Illustrator. If you are using Photoshop, it is also easy to do it. There are several ways you can achieve the same result. The easiest one that you can use is by desaturating the image.

Go to File>Open then navigate to the image file. You will notice that the image opens in a locked layer. Double-click on the layer to unlock it.

With the layer selected, go to image>Adjustments>Hue and Saturation. A pop-up menu will appear. Ideally, you want to desaturate the image to achieve the effect. To do this, Slide the Saturation slider in the middle to -100.

Click OK to accept changes. Your image will now be in black and white. If you want to learn graphic design, just click on this link for the best video courses.

Changing Color Modes

In Photoshop, you can change an image to black and white by changing the document color mode. There are 3 main color modes available in Photoshop all of which will affect how the image looks. These color modes include CMYK, RGB, and Grayscale.

If you set your image to Grayscale color mode, it automatically becomes black and white. To change the image color mode, just open the image and unlock the layer as you did in the earlier desaturation process.

With the layer selected, go to Image>Mode and choose grayscale. Click OK. Your image changes to black and white.

For more information check out. Check out our previous posts if you do not know the difference between CMYK and RGB color modes.

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  1. How to make an image black and white in Illustrator

    Click V to pick the selection tool. Select the image you want to change to black and white. Go to the Edit menu on top, choose Edit Colors > Convert to Grayscale. This is the easiest way you can do it.

  2. Can You trace an image to a vector before converting it to black and white?

    Yes, you can. Select the image and choose Object > Image Trace to create a vector version.

denis maina kamau

Written by: Denis Maina

I am an experienced and skilled graphic designer with a strong focus on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. He specializes in creating a wide range of design materials, such as digital art, business cards, stationery, logos, flyers, posters, banner ads, brochures, PSD templates, and other graphics.

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