CoffeeShop B&W Classic and Bittersweet Vintage Action Set and Tutorial!

I finally got my act together and made a B&W action that works in both Photoshop Elements AND Photoshop. I already have the CoffeeShop B&W Action set which is great for B&W conversion, but you can't use it in Photoshop Elements. And since I am obsessed with figuring out how to make actions that will run in both programs I had to create this newest B&W action, the CoffeeShop B&W Classic and Bittersweet Vintage set.

CoffeeShop B&W Classic and Bittersweet Vintage is a really nice little action. It has 5 layers after running. The background is your original color image, and then you have a classic B&W layer, a high key B&W layer, a Vintage layer (from my CoffeeShop Vintage Action), and finally an automatic vignette layer. Each layer is quite basic, but when you combine them that is when the magic happens!

This action runs automatically without you having to do anything. After it finishes, just click on the little eye icon to turn on the layers you wish to use, and adjust the layer opacity's to get the custom look you want. Remember, if you leave a layer at 100% opacity, you won't see any layers underneath it. You can see some samples of what you can do with this action in the image above (click on it to see it larger). Turning on a few layers and adjusting their opacity's under 100% will give you some really unique looks.

For example, if you want a classic B&W, just turn on the B&W layer. If you want to add contrast, then also turn on the High Key layer and dial down its opacity to bring a nice contrast "pop" to your B&W image. Or for a nice vintage colored image, turn on the Vintage layer, set it at 65%. Make sure you have the background always turned on if you want any of the original color to show through. Keeping it on will not affect your B&W image if you have a layer at 100% above it. The different types of B&W and soft vintage effects you can get from this action is unlimited, just turn on different layers and play with their opacity's!

Download the CoffeeShop B&W Classic and Bittersweet Vintage PS/PSE Action Set HERE!

I have been lazy and have not been including tutorials with my actions. This is fine for Photoshop users as they can take apart the actions and figure out exactly what I did. But you Photoshop Element users get the short end of the stick as you don't have a clue what I do in these actions. When I started this blog I intended to teach and I plan on doing more of that by trying to include tutorials with each action. This way you can see exactly what I do and you can learn some new techniques. Then if you want to download the action anyway to save you some processing time, at least you will understand what is happening as it runs.

Classic B&W:
For Photoshop Users ONLY:
Channel mixer adjustment layer; +65 Red, +35 Green. Ctrl-J background, then soft light, 25%. I actually do the Channel mixer on a copy of the background rather than an adjustment layer in this action as I found out that even though PSE does not have Channel Mixer, if you apply the effect on a layer it will work in that program.
For Photoshop Elements users:
Gradient Map adjustment layer, black to white. Then levels adjustment layer and adjust gamma (middle slider) to taste to adjust the midtones.

Vintage B&W:
Ctrl-J the background (make a copy). Filter, Noise, Add Noise (4%, Uniform, Monochromatic). Gradient Map Adjustment Layer, enter these numbers as your foreground and background under the RGB to make a dark brown to pinkish gradient (#f8e0f5 to #524113). Put this layer into Color blending mode. Then make a black to white Gradient Map adjustment layer and adjust the opacity to 30%. Then add a Levels adjustment layer and adjust the sliders to 0, 1.25, 245 (to brighten the shadows and bring up the midtones slightly).

High Key B&W:
Add a Gradient Map black to white adjustment layer to make the image B&W. Flatten the image. Then Ctrl-J to copy the background; Filter, blur, Gaussian blur (5) and put that layer in Overlay blending mode. Finally, add a Levels adjustment layer and adjust the gamma (midpoint slider) up to slightly brighten the midtones.

Automatic Vignette:
Gradient adjustment layer (not Gradient Map!) (white to black, radial, 90%, scale 150, Reverse) and then double click on the Gradient and move the white slider on the top right to the left until it reads 5o). Then put this layer in Overlay, Soft Light, or Multiply and adjust the opacity to taste.

If you want your screenshot to look like mine above, after each effect, make a new layer above it, hold down the alt key and go to Layer, Merge Visible and that will do a Stamp Visible (it will make a new layer with everything combined underneath it). Then label that layer, and delete all of the layers that you merged below it (other than your background). Do this with each effect, turning off the effect after Stamping Visible.

Hope you enjoy this action! I have many more actions coming out in the next days/weeks. I have a nice golden vintage one, a set of cross-processing actions, a lomo action, and even an action that will give your scenic images that "fake model" look.

Want all of my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one simple download AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures. For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


Brittany April 3, 2009 at 9:54 PM  

Very cool!

Thank you. :)

Anonymous April 3, 2009 at 10:03 PM  

Thank you ssooo much for EVERYTHING you do, Rita! I swear, I've learned SSOOO much from you! This action is gorgeous, too. I can't wait to play around w/it!

--Chloé A--

Marcie April 3, 2009 at 10:15 PM  

What a comprehensive B&W action! I can't wait to use this. THanks!

Nicole April 3, 2009 at 10:46 PM  

WOAH, this rocks!! THANKS RITA!

Amy April 4, 2009 at 12:10 AM  

Rita, girl.. you have outdone yourself!

Thankyou so much! I use your actions all the time!

Hugs.. Amy

Megan April 4, 2009 at 2:34 AM  

Seriously. You are AWESOME!

way outnumbered April 4, 2009 at 8:10 AM  

I hadn't been able to get to your site for a while and I can't believe ALL the incredible goodies I've missed! I've spent the last 1 1/2 hours of my day catching up on all that you've done. You're so talented...thank you!

Radha April 4, 2009 at 9:10 AM  

You are the sweetest! You are the sweetest! You are the sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetest!!!!!!!!!!


Annie April 4, 2009 at 9:12 AM  


J and R April 4, 2009 at 10:32 AM  

Thank you !! I wanna scream and thank you everytime I come here!
I LOVE everything you do on your blog, every post, every action.

Jennifer April 4, 2009 at 12:51 PM  

Thank you once again Rita!

Molly April 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM  

Thank you!

amymom24 April 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

Beautiful, thanks again, Rita!!!

Sylvia April 4, 2009 at 2:28 PM  

thanks so much for all those wonderful actions and the work you put in them!!!! LOVE them so much!!!

CreativeBusyHands-Scrapbook Freebies Search April 4, 2009 at 3:30 PM  

Thank you so much for this Freebie. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in Creative Busy Hands Scrapbook Freebies Search List, under the Uncategorized post on Apr. 04, 2009. Thanks again.

Heather April 4, 2009 at 6:20 PM  

I'm jumping up and down over how awesome this action is! Thank you!!!

Digi Free April 4, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

Thank you! Your blog post will be advertised on the DigiFree Digital Scrapbooking Freebie search engine today (look for timestamp: 04 Apr [LA 07:00pm, NY 09:00pm] - 05 Apr [UK 02:00am, OZ 12:00pm] ).

Stephanie April 5, 2009 at 2:21 AM  

Thank you so much for this awesome action! I've been looking for some good B&W actions for PSE and haven't had much luck! Really look forward to using these!

Kerry April 5, 2009 at 6:47 AM  

Thanks again Rita for sharing these actions with us!

Kristen April 5, 2009 at 8:15 AM  

Thank you SO much, Rita!!! These look great!

Gwen April 5, 2009 at 3:49 PM  

Thank you very much Rita!

Sharla April 5, 2009 at 8:34 PM  

Wow, you've done it again! Your generosity never ceases to amaze me! Thanks so very much!

Amber April 8, 2009 at 4:12 PM  

Thank you so much for your generosity. I LOVE your actions!

Jill April 8, 2009 at 4:25 PM  

Rita you are simply amazing. Amazing and incredibly generous. Thank you so much. You've saved and improved many a photo.

Juliet April 9, 2009 at 6:20 AM  

Hi there, I can't seem to be able to get your actions to run on PS elements v6 for mac. Is it possibly a mac/ PC problem or am I doing something wrong?

Jennifer Lee Swanepoel April 9, 2009 at 3:00 PM  

Hello! I found you from Carrie Evans' photography blog. I've just set up a new photo blog. Thank you for doing this work and sharing it with us. I've just downloaded it, and I can't wait to try it!

Mr. Tharpey April 14, 2009 at 9:34 AM  

that fake model action almost could take the place of a tilt-shift lens!

Anonymous April 25, 2009 at 4:16 PM  

AWESOME! This is so great! Thank you!!

Kristi April 28, 2009 at 3:08 AM  

I've been looking for just this site. Thank you for your help.

Kasia July 3, 2010 at 7:16 PM  

I'm addicted to your site :)

becca August 29, 2010 at 9:43 AM  

you are awesome, i appreciate you so much, you put your heart into helping photographers and you are appreciated!

Yulia Külahlı September 24, 2010 at 4:52 AM  

Rita, thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous September 28, 2010 at 6:47 PM  

Your site is amazing - many many thanks!!!!!

Anonymous July 30, 2011 at 2:50 AM  

Oh - I just installed an action only to discover it won't work on PSE9 :( Love the website by the way too! Awesome - from Tara, another homeschooling mum in New Zealand!

Rita July 30, 2011 at 10:09 AM  

All of these actions should work in PSE9!

carpeseason | Liz October 28, 2011 at 11:53 PM  

Thank you so much! I just discovered your site today...can't wait to start trying out a few of these actions.