For best results, start with a high-contrast image with the least amount of dark backgrounds. Go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold and move the slider to taste.
Results of the basic adjustment
For this image, I created an Adjustment Layer by clicking the black rectangle with a circle in it at the bottom of the Layers tab. I chose Threshold from the list of choices and adjusted the slider to taste.
This shows the simple slider in the Threshold Tool. The results are immediate.
Here are the results of the Threshold Adjustment Layer. For some, this could be the finished image.
This screen shot shows my adjustment of the Opacity slider to roughly 52%. This value will be different for each image.
Here are the results of the change of the Opacity slider from 100% to 52%.
High contrast images usually work well with little tweaking.
You can always “paint” with white or black to remove or fill in unwanted elements from the resulting image.

Put Photoshop’s Threshold Tool to work

Click and slide to create high-contrast graphics that work great on signage

By Mike Jackson

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2016

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If you own Photoshop, any version, you already have the tool that is a hidden gem for many sign designers! The Threshold Tool turns a color or grayscale image into a highcontrast black-and-white image.

The commands are extremely easy to use—and there is only one slider—making it a great tool for many beginning Photoshop users. Experienced Photoshop users can take advantage of more advanced Adjustment Layers and Layer Masks.

This tool lets you easily convert a photo in a high-impact graphic or silhouette. Not all images make the switch to high-contrast black-and-white well, but if you try a few, you’ll soon get a feel of which ones will work. It helps to start with an image with a fair amount of contrast in it.

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Mike and Darla Jackson operate Golden Studios in Loveland, Colorado, and do a variety of sign-related projects. Mike’s website is His email address is You can see more of Mike’s photos at and

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