I have a bunch of social media icons that are in color that I'd like to make grayscale. I've opened them all in Photoshop and am applying a black and white adjustment layer to each one. The problem is each icon has a different underlying hue so I'm getting different shades of gray in the icons. Is there an easy way to tell the black and white adjustment layer that I want the resulting gray hue to be a specific color (e.g. #666) so all icons match or do I have to just futz with the adjustment layer settings to match each one by sight so the grays all look the same?

Thanks in advance for your help.

  • 2
    Off the top of my head, what I'd do is convert them all to grayscale, then individually tweak the curves of each one to get as close to a black as you can. Then, at that point, you can adjust them all together to change the darkness of the black to the particular gray you are wanting.
    – DA01
    Jun 14, 2012 at 4:19
  • The colour sampler tool can also be useful here (it enables you to monitor the colour values at a point while making adjustments)
    – e100
    Jun 14, 2012 at 10:21
  • Thanks very much for your comments. That did the trick. I added a B/W adjustment layer on each icon, zero'd out all the sliders to get the icon to black, and adjusted the sliders to get the color I wanted with the help of the color sampler tool. Jun 14, 2012 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


My two favourite ways to make things black and white are: The gradient map adjustment layer and the channel mixer adjustment layer. Given what you're after, and the kind of control you want, I'd be opting for the channel mixer adjustment layer.

The channel mixer gives you control over the brightness of each channel, plus lets you make the image monochrome. By adjusting the channel levels while in monochrome, you have the ability to control how the black and white image is constructed.

channel mixer adjustment layer

If you imported all the icons into one document, then added a channel mixer adjustment layer as the top layer, you could find a balance that works for most of the icons, and use that to process them. You could also identify icons that need custom treatment, and even apply that as an adjustment layer, clipped to the icon's layer.

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