Split-toning in Photoshop

In this lesson we will look at some of the provisions of the theory of color, as well as learn to use the knowledge gained for split-toning (when the photo is tinted in two shades: shadows in one color, light in another). Most often, split-toning is used to process black and white photographs. But this technique can also be used to process color images.

Before we consider the split-toning, let’s deal with the Theory of Color (Color Theory).

Color circle

Color Roulette (color wheel) – is the alternation of colors, which is an illustration of the Torii of Colors. This excellent tool is used when it is necessary to alternate, combine colors.

Color circles are different. The circle shown above is based on the model of Isaac Newton and consists of the following primary colors: Red, Yellow and Blue. (Red, Yellow and Blue (Ryb). The remaining nine colors of the circle are secondary colors from the main ones.

Why were these colors chosen that way? Isaac Newton divided the sunlight (white) into a spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and blue. And then, “connected” the edges of the spectrum, in order to show how the colors progress to one another.

Some colors are more pleasing than others. Such “nice” colors are called “Color harmony»(Color Harmonies). They are located where two or more colors have a fixed connection on our color wheel.

Primary, Secondary, Tertiary colors

Back in school (kindergarten), we were told that there are three Main colors (Primary) : red, yellow and blue (a more detailed explanation we reviewed above):

If we start mixing primary colors, we get Secondary colors (Secondary): green, orange and purple:

Tertiary (Tertiary) colors are obtained as a result of mixing primary and secondary colors.
As you can see, everything is pretty simple! I hope you get the main idea!

The interaction of colors. Additional colors (Complementary Colors)

Pairs of flowers located on a circle against each other are called complementary, or Additional (for example, green – red, yellow – violet, blue – orange).

Those colors that are located next to the color roulette are called Similar. These colors complement each other well.

In order to get more color segments on a circle, you need to mix the tertiary color with the main color, so we get Quadratic Colour.
For even more colors, you need to act in the same way.

Warm and Cool colors

The color wheel can be divided into warm and cold colors.

Imagine that the room was filled with warm tones. Most likely, you will have a feeling of comfort, warmth, comfort, summer, fire.

Cold tones cause us, often, completely different images – the sea, sky, ice, winter, a large open space.

There is a biological basis for these sensations, which is based on the length of the color waves, but to discuss this issue, you need to consider a separate topic.
Talking, exploring and exploring color is very interesting! If you have free time, pay attention to this issue and you will undoubtedly learn a lot of interesting things.

In today’s lesson, we will look at the question: how do colors affect the mood of a photo.
As an example we will use split toning. Our main goal is to understand how to find the right balance between warm and cold tone. I think many of you have photos in which I would like to add some accents, make them more airy or, on the contrary, warm and “cozy”? Understanding how to use color will help you achieve the desired effect.

Split-toning in Photoshop

In order to examine split-toning in detail, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the interesting lesson “Quick Tip: 2 Split Toning Techniques in Adobe Photoshop”

Tinted in gray shades

To start working with the split-toning effect, first select a photo.
Then open the selected picture in Camera RAW. To convert a photo to gray, click on the fourth icon in the settings panel, which is called HSL / Gradient Gray (HSL / Grayscale). Then check the box next to the function “Convert to gradient gray“(Convert to Grayscale). Then you can use the menu”Blending grayscale“and adjust the look of the photo to your own taste.

Next, click on the next icon in the settings panel called “Split tones“(Split Toning).

In this menu you will see two basic settings. Color tone (Hue) and Saturation (Saturation). Please note that these settings are separately split to adjust the Light and Shadow.
Recall the previously described material about color theory and try to combine two shades for light and shade. For example, I will combine blue (for the shadow) and yellow (for the light) color.

Also, in this settings menu there is the possibility of adjusting the ratio between light and shadow. This slider is located in the middle of the panel and is accordingly called Balance (Balance).

Experiment with different shades and their saturation ratio. Literally, you will immediately realize that even a slight movement of the slider can overhaul the appearance and mood of your photo.

How to effectively use split-toning

Split-toning is a universal technique that can be successfully used in various fields: tinting portraits, landscapes, objects of architecture.

For example, I took a photo with a flower and slightly raised warm colors and lowered cold shades, which helped to get a beautiful fairy-tale effect for the picture:

In the next photo I wanted to beat the warm yellow color. In addition to this, I added a darkening of the edges of the picture, which creates a feeling of intimacy, and focuses the viewer’s attention in the center of the frame.
In addition, in the shade area, green and blue shades were added, which helped create a pleasant “airy” image.

And of course, do not forget about toning in shades of gray, which we examined earlier.

As you can see, toning is a great tool that is indispensable in creating mood.

Let’s summarize a little of the material covered. So:

  1. blue is good to use when shading shaded areas to add depth to them;
  2. yellow color – suitable for toning bright areas and creates a warm effect, which allows you to “warm” the picture;
  3. Red is great for autumn photos.

Do not forget that split-toning will help you easily create a series of photos. This effect will help to add a uniform atmosphere to the pictures. Pay some attention to the settings of toning, experiment and you can emphasize your unique style!

I hope that the material you have learned will come in handy, and you will be guided by the theory of color when processing your collection of photos.

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