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Is it possible to apply duotone through an adjustment layer?

Like this:

Adjustment layer: duotone
Adjustment layer: black and white
Ground layer: original color file (smart object)

I don't need this for printing, just saving the final result as a JPEG for screen display. I want the duotone to be adjustable in the same way as "Mode > greyscale > duotone" (choosing colors, setting curves).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean duotone? I think 'duotone' means 'duplex' in German... \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    May 1, 2013 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BobT - from what I can gather, Duplex appears to be what Duotone is referred to as in some other languages. I'm not sure what language it was, but all the results I found were in a foreign language and looked like Duotone images. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    May 1, 2013 at 19:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ If duotone, do you need a real duotone (an image prepared for duotone printing on an offset lithography press) or just an image that looks like a duotone (for screen display or inkjet/chromogenic/CMYK process printing)? The latter can be done with a gradient map in Color blend mode. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    May 2, 2013 at 0:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Than you for your help. Yes, duotone. "Duplex" is not a German word, so I assumed it was the international technical term and did not consult a dictionary. I edited my question to (hopefully) answer your return questions. @StanRogers Thank you for that answer. That is a way to do it, but it lacks a preview etc. and will be very hard to fine-tune. But it certainly is a possibility, if there is no other. \$\endgroup\$
    – user19253
    May 2, 2013 at 6:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ English is a silly language. Here in the US at least, outside of scientific use duplex almost exclusively means either a) a two-family house or b) printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    May 2, 2013 at 12:31

2 Answers 2

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While the process is a bit of a pain in the butt to set up manually, fake duotone/tritone/quadtone images can be created using a "monochroming" layer¹ and a Gradient Map adjustment layer set to Color blend mode.

If you are using a Smart Object as your original image, though, you can create a conversion-and-preview template image that will speed up the process tremendously. Adobe guru Julianne Kost provides both the method and a template (using the CS6 gradient presets, but adaptable to other versions) on her Adobe blog. There is also a video tutorial available.

Setting up custom gradients will be a bit of a pain, but once they're done they're done, and you can use the templating technique to choose the best match for your image quickly. It won't be quite as handy as a good B&W conversion plugin with presets (like Nik Siver Efex Pro or Topaz Black & White Effects), but it'll take a lot of work out of future conversions.


¹ For the monochrome conversion layer, I'd suggest using a Curves adjustment layer rather than the more obvious Hue/Saturation; it will produce less tone shifting, especially when combined with contrast adjustment layers. Create a Curves layer, and drag the black point to the top. That will make the whole image white. Then set the layer blend mode to Saturation.

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It's a color mode so the actual channels change, making the method you describe not possible. Duotone can only be achieved once the image mode is converted to Grayscale.

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/photoshop/cs/using/WSfd1234e1c4b69f30ea53e41001031ab64-778ea.html

Consider maybe using Hue&Saturation or selective color or some other adjustment layer to change the duotone colors.

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