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Digital Split-Toning
© 2011 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Split-toned 54 Dremz

Straight, neutral grayscale image.


Split-toned 54 Dremz

Split-toned (warm) image.

This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially these directly to Adorama, Amazon, B&H, Calumet, Ritz, J&R and eBay when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.


April 2011   How to Use Photoshop   Camera and Lens Reviews

Sample images:

Route 66, February 2011

Yosemite in Winter, February, 2011


Introduction         top


B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Ritz Camera

I personally buy from Adorama, Amazon, Ritz, B&H, Calumet and J&R. I can't vouch for ads below.


Toning is when we take a traditional black-and-white paper print and dip it in chemicals to change its color and make it more permanent.

Toning has been around for centuries.

Here's how to do it on your computer in Photoshop CS5. (I also have an older article from 2006 on how to do it in Photoshop CS2.)

Ansel Adams often used selenium, which made his prints slightly purple in the darker areas.

In fine-art black-and-white book and poster printing, black-and-white images are printed with duotone, tritone or quadtone ink processes. These use one or more mid-toned inks along with black. The colors of the other inks allow the printer to alter the tone of the image at various gray levels.

If the printer chooses a warm mid-toned ink, he gets a print with warm mid-tones, still with white whites and black blacks.

In the 1990s, Adobe hired a master printer to provide samples of the very finest split-tones, and Adobe then captured these and has included these inside every version of Photoshop since the late 1990s.

This is very easy to do, but not well known.

To get these toned images, all we need to do is:

1.) Image > Mode > Grayscale (say YES for throwing away information).

2.) Image > Mode > Duotone.

3.) In the box that opens, select your choice from the drop-down "Preset" menu. I prefer "Bl 404 WmGray 401 WmGray," and you have your choice of dozens.

4.) If you are printing on a press, you can stop now, but for 99% of us, click Image > Mode > RGB Color to return to an ordinary image for online, photo-lab or inkjet printing.


I record these steps as a Photoshop Action, so all this happens in one click.

It is more elegant to do these conversions before resizing or sharpening, but you can do them at any time.


Other Ways

You also can do this by tweaking a curves adjustment layer (drag down the middle of the blue and lift up the middle of the red curve for a warm tone), or follow Ken Lee's method for using a fill layer. These are more complex, and do the same thing. It all depends on which give you the results you prefer: this is art.


Starting from Color Images

This process works on any image, black-and-white or color.

It will convert from color to black-and-white automatically.

If starting from color, you may prefer to convert to black-and-white more carefully than the simple Image > Mode > Grayscale command. See Making Great Black and White Images.

Today, and even easier method in CS5 is to add a new adjustment layer, selecting "Black and White:"

1.) Layers Pallet > Click the Half and half black and white circle > Black and White.

2.) Move the sliders to taste.


Help me help you         top

I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem.

The biggest help is when you use any of these links to Adorama, Amazon, eBay, Ritz, Calumet and J&R and when you get anything. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. eBay is always a gamble, but all the other places always have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

If you find this page as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof. Thank you!

Thanks for reading!

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

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