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Feb 21, 2012

Tips for Changing Color Tones

Change up Your Colors

In today’s episode see a cool way to add different tones into your image with a couple easy steps using Duotone. The colors in these presets determine what your shadows, midtones, and highlights will look like. You can also choose your own color palette, and combine the layers using different blend mode and opacity combinations.

Today’s Episode Timeline

  • 0:30 -Upcoming shoot
  • 1:50 – Getting into color
  • 2:15 – Duotone and Tritone
  • 2:50 – Making a new document
  • 3:01 – Working in grayscale
  • 4:15- Using presets
  • 5:15- Choosing your own colors
  • 6:26- Curves
  • 7:45- Blending these colors with your original images
  • 9:50- Taking it one step further
  • 10:20- Adding noise
  • 11:10- Light rays
  • 12:35- Show us your effects

Working Non-Destructively

Because you have to work in grayscale to be able to use this feature I would recommend making a new document. Grayscale converts the image into black and white, meaning you can’t make any changes later. To prevent this you can just bring the new document in as a layer after you finish in Duotone.

Push it Further

Another option after you finish is to add in light and grain to get the vintage style or film type look. You can add light into your photo quickly and easily by using the brush tool on dissolve and experimenting with opacity on that as well.

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  • user image
    Jim Karczewski

    There is a much easier way to do the same thing if you don’t mind playing with Smart Objects.

    Open your initial image as a smart object “File->Open as Smart Object”

    Duplicate your layer (do not just simply Ctrl+j or drag the layer down to the new to make a copy, it will not be a distinctly separate object!!!!!) instead go to Layer->Smart Object->New Smart Object Via Copy”

    Now you will have a copy that you can modify independently of the original layer. 

    Now double click on the thumbnail of the icon, convert to B&W, then Duotone and do your magic.. When you like the duotone, click save.

    Now go back to your other window (since double clicking opened that copy in a new window) and you will see that your duotone is now saved on top of your color image.  Now you can play with the color mode, opacity, etc.

    The cool thing about this method is, if you want to change your duotone settings, you can go back to your other window, edit the copy, save and it will update your main image again.   Now you can make slight modifications without constantly copying layers back and forth to see what colors work and don’t work.   

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    C. Allen

    The curve within the tones are just that.  The bottom grayscale slider will correlate to your historgram as well as the chosen color within the duotone dialog box.  So if you wanted only the shadows to be effected by a dark blue, then choose a dark blue and make sure it curves to zero when you’re transitioning from lowlights to midtones.

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      Michaelbenford

      Great explanation. I always adjust my curves in duotone images to control the blending of the inks.

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    Tom McCagherty

    I really like using these effects for street photography, it sort of emulates the first ‘capturing a moment’ of polaroid photos. I don’t have a polaroid, so I fake stuff :) http://www.flickr.com/photos/64796399@N05/sets/72157628895498413/with/6707971271/

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    B Jenks

    Duotone curve just seems to change the allocation of the color specified. Highlight or shadow so you could put a blue in just the shadows, green in just the mids, and yellow in the highlights. Could be wrong but seems like that’s what it does.