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How To Create Dramatic Seascapes In Tonality

How to give your coastal shots more impact by converting them to moody monochrome.

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If you manage to catch a seascape or beach scene at sunset and sunrise then go ahead, make full use of those glorious colours. However, if, as is more likely, there’s a sky full of clouds, it’s dull and murky, or you simply didn’t get out of bed in time, then converting your image to monochrome can give it more impact. You lose what little colour there was in the scene and gain a range of black and white tones, giving the image a more powerful and stark feeling. Tonality from MacPhun has a range of presets for converting your image, and while some are suited to portraits, the majority are aimed at landscape images. You can try anything from classic analogue film emulation to misty and intriguing to full-on tonal chaos with HDR simulations. There is more to it though, as all the elements that go into making those presets can be tweaked and ones that weren’t used can be added to further enhance the image.


Seascape before and after edit


Step-By-Step Tonality Tutorial: 


Open Your Image

Load the image and it will be converted to a flat monochrome immediately. Click on the side-by-side icon at the top to get a before and after shot. This is simply to compare any new filtered effects with the basic conversion. Click on the Presets, bottom right to see the categories.

Tonality Pro


Start With The Basics

Select Basic to start with. The preset previews are loaded in a strip along the bottom of the screen. Select Push Process and note how the clouds are darkened and the sand becomes much grainier. Many of the presets have a percentage slider built in as well, which is a quick way of varying the strength of the effect. Try the slider on the preset thumbnail to tweak the effect.

Tonality Pro


Add a Vignette 

The panel on the right side has all the specific elements that go into each preset. Scroll down the list to Vignette and put a tick in the box. The Size slider sets how far into the photo the vignette occurs while the Amount dictates whether it is a white (positive amounts) or a black (negative amounts) vignette. The Feather slider makes the transition from vignette to photo smoother while the Luminocity slider brightens the non-vignetted area.

Tonality Pro


Add Grain

Zoom in to see the effect of the next effect, Grain. All three sliders here are positive amounts so simply vary the amount of the effect delivered. The Amount slider gives fine grain at around +33, medium grain at around +50 and very thick grain at +66. The Softness slider is most effective with thicker grain and blends it into the photo. The Contrast makes the grain effect more pronounced or more subtle.

Tonality Pro


Create A Frame 

Add a frame next by ticking that selection. There is a choice of 11, with some black and a majority in white. With a darker image, white borders work well and conversely, black borders work best with light images. There’s also a Width slider to make the border more pronounced.

Tonality Pro


Adjust Highlights, Midtones & Shadows

Finally, scroll back up to the Tone section and use the Highlights, Midtones and Shadows slider to tweak the photo so it isn’t too light or dark and has the desired impact. You can save your work in progress with Tonality’s native file format and when completed use File> Export to save as an image file.

Tonality Pro





After editing with Tonality Pro


Try For Free

If you want to have a go at the above tutorial, you can try Tonality for free by downloading a trial version from the Macphun website

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