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Toning (Part III)


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Toning (Part III)

21 Jul 2020 2:48PM   Views : 370 Unique : 289

Last time I went through my techniques for toning an image with a single tone. But you can add a second tone for even more options.

Split toning, which has its origins in the chemical darkroom, allows you to apply different colour toning to the shadows and highlights in an image. It's easy in software to adjust the point at which shadow and highlight toning changes. So for example you can have the majority of the image toned one way but just the very brightest highlights a different colour.

I've used duotoning and tritoning in Photoshop. There are limitless hours to be had choosing and modifying the colours used together with adjusting their intensity in the shadows, mid-tones and highlights using the associated Curves adjustments.


I like using split toning with urban scenes, often blue for shadows and yellow for highlights. I apply these quite subtly though sometimes push them harder. It all depends on the image content. The processing shouldn't shout out its presence but enhance the content. For the roses shot the leaves are dark tones and the flowers light so I used green toning for the shadows and pink for the flowers. That's a reflection of the original colours but I could have chosen anything.


Conversely, and perversely considering we're talking split tones, you can choose to just apply your sepia toning to just the darker tones and have no toning in the lighter areas. Global sepia toning would affect those light areas with a very soft light browns. Nothing wrong with that at all, I'm thinking of the possibilities. Indeed you could split tone with the same sepia but at different amounts so your shadows are strongly toned and your highlights much less so. I'm sure you're already thinking of trying that!

Mix up your own recipe and add it to your library of effects. I tend to roughly set the controls for each image as I go along, as different images respond to different settings.


Split toning was used with mono prints because of the chemical reactions with the silver salts in the emulsion coating on the paper. In software it's used with mono images to reproduce the effect albeit with moe options and flexibility. However, software being what it is, you can apply split toning to colour images. All you'r doing is applying a mathematical alteration to the RGB values of each pixel.


So you can end up with some weird, interesting or cool effects.

All text and images Keith Rowley 2020

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20 7.5k 11 England
24 Jul 2020 10:52AM
Food for thought Keith, thanks for sharing.
I have tried split toning in the past but to have some guidelines is very useful.
I have some grungy urban images that I'll try it on.
Once again thanks for the inspiration

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