Apr
7

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

by
Rebecca Greig

Use duo and tritone colour variations in Photoshop to give your portraits a creative twist

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

Gradient Maps in Photoshop offer complete creative freedom for making interesting colour effects, such as a tritone finish. As their name suggests, Gradient Maps work by mapping graduated colours over the existing tones of an image. Whether you are looking to do a simple monochrome conversion, add a new tone or produce an effect with multiple colours, a gradient map can effectively change the mood of your image. Gradient Maps also work best when combined with Photoshop’s blend modes, such as Color, which allows them to accurately re-render new colours onto your image as carefully as possible.

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

1  Set blending Add a Gradient Map adjustment by going to Layer>New Adjustment Layer. In the New Layer dialog box set Mode to Color to blend the Gradient Map into the image. Hit OK to apply.

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

2   Arrange tones Inside the Properties panel for the adjustment, make sure the Gradient Map shows its darkest tone on the left and its lightest tone on the right (tick Reverse to switch them around).

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

3  Keep it simple To open the Gradient Editor, click on the gradient preview in the Properties panel. Load the Simple set of gradients by clicking on the cog icon. Click OK in the pop-up box.

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

4  Pick a preset The Simple gradients include basic colour-to-white presets for quick toning effects. Click one of the presets to apply it to your image. Choose one that is complementary to the colours in your image.

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

5  Add a colour Now we can start adding other tones to the effect. Underneath the gradient’s preview, click about a third of the way along to add another colour swatch between the existing two swatches either end.

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

6  Create duotone effect Double-click on the colour swatch to open up the Color Picker menu. This lets us choose a tone to complement the purple effect. Choose a pale yellow colour and then hit OK.

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

7  Add a third colour We can create a more dynamic tritone effect by adding another colour into the mix. Click two thirds of the way along (between the pale yellow and purple swatches) to add another swatch.

Add split-tone effects with Gradient Maps

8 Set colour Change the colour of this swatch to a pastel blue tone, or one which complements your image. Hit OK in the Gradient Editor menu when all the colours have been set to complete this effect.

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