This is the second post in a four-part series on how to do advanced toning of your monochrome images. The techniques shown in this series are all done using Photoshop CS4.
In many cases you can add a touch of sophistication to your monochrome images by adding some subtle toning. Often toning your monochrome images can also help you emphasize a particular mood or feeling in your images. This four-part series on advanced toning will show you how.
If you are starting out with a full colour image and you want to apply a digital toning effect you should make sure to convert your source image to a black and white (or desaturated) image in the RGB colour mode before you start. There are several ways you can do this but the most straight forward way is to simply drain away all colour by going through the menus Image>Adjustments>Desaturate to ensure the result stays in the RGB colour mode.
Using the Colour Balance Controls
Compared to the toning we did in Part One of this series the results you can achieve by using Photoshop CS4′s Colour Balance controls are more sophisticated. In darkroom terms, this technique somewhat replicates printing a black and white negative onto colour paper using the enlarger’s colour filters.
Toning the Midtones
There are two ways you can get to the Colour Balance controls dialog window. You can go through the menu via Image>Adjustments>Colour Balance or you can select Colour Balance in the adjustments panel by clicking the icon that looks like two scales (as shown below).
The advantage by going through the adjustments panel is that the colour balance will be applied as an adjustment layer and therefore is non-destructive to your original image.
In the Colour Balance dialog window you’ll notice the familiar Cyan to Red, Magenta to Green and Yellow to Blue opposites.
To tone the midtones simply move the sliders around until you achieve the desired tone effect in your image, but be sure to keep the Midtones and Preserve Luminosity buttons checked for best result. In my example image further below I toned my Midtones with -20 Cyan and +10 Blue.
Toning the Highlights
You can apply a different colour to the highlight and shadow areas too by checking their respective buttons and then moving the sliders accordingly. To create a colour in the highlights I used +5 Red and -20 Yellow in my example below.
As with most post-processing work it’s a matter of ‘seasoning to taste’ and in the case of toning it’s a good idea to avoid saturated colours and be careful about not making the image too ‘heavy’, as shadows can clog up relatively easy during printing.
Here is an example of an original monochrome image and the split-toned result:
As you can see from the example above I have achieved a split-toned effect by adding Cyan and Blue to the Midtones and then adding a little bit of Red as well as Yellow to the Highlights.
I hope you enjoyed this second instalment on how to do advanced toning in Photoshop CS4.
If you’re looking for a great resource on learning more about digital photography and Adobe Photoshop in general, then check out Vincent Bockaert’s The 123 of Digital Imaging which has impressed even Adobe Evangelist Julieanne Kost.
You can also check out the great Adobe Photoshop tutorials available at Lynda.com for more resources.
Finally I can also personally recommend many of the excellent courses at BetterPhoto.com. When I was starting out in photography I took 8 of the courses including a one with specialised training in Photoshop. Check them out.