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Converting a photo to 3 colors only: black/white/one type of gray

Hello everyone,

As a new member happy finding such a forum, I have a (could be dumb) question which I tried to find the answer here and everywhere but it's not easy to search it. I'd really appreciate if you can help me with this. I have a photo and I'm gonna paint it on a wall. Added to that I'm not really good in photoshop, this is my first time to paint a mural. So, I've a sample frame of the movie "Shining", the scene with Jack Nicholson's head coming out of the broken door. A a new member I can't send link of the exact photo now but I think it's famous enough for most people.

I'll convert it to grayscale first, but because I'm novice in mural painting, I want to have this picture only in only 3 colors: white (wall is already painted in white), black, and one type of gray only; not so many different shadows of gray which grayscale produces. It means I'll lose some details of the photo of course, but it'll be painted much easier on the wall. I tried the style with only black and white, and it doesn't look good that way, I need one gray shadow at least. Do you expert guys probably have a solution for this and can you please explain it step by step?

Thanks in advance to all. If I can do that I'll put a photo of the final mural here :)


Well-Known Member
Hi Morty

You may already of sorted this using Hooglemans advice and if so well done and it would be great to see the final image :) If not is this the type of thing you are looking for?


I wont explain what I've done right now as you may already of sorted it but just ask if you still want to know and I will be happy to help.




Well-Known Member
Hi Ivan

Could you explain that a little more by any chance please, I would be interested to know how to get the effect he is looking for with a gradient map as it would be easier than my method and I just tried it with no luck :(


Thanks to everyone! clever ideas, so I mixed some of them with my basic knowledge in photoshop and made this one (I can't send links so I put a space in the URL):
khabzade . com/shining.psd

It's not as good as you'd do, but good enough for me to put in on the wall. Ivan's idea is fast and good, but not for a novice mural painter.