Task 5 How to Build Duotones for the Web

Duotones are grayscale images that are tinted for a graphic effect. Although they originally were designed to push the tonal range of standard grayscale images, designers have embraced duotones for their graphic look and feel. This task shows you how to set up a pseudo-duotone effect for the Web, adding a second color to tint a grayscale image. Task 6 addresses setting up actual duotone plates for print.

  1. Open the File

    Select File, Open to launch the desired image. Open the Layers palette by selecting Window, Layers.


  2. Create a New Adjustment Layer

    Select Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Gradient Map to create a new adjustment layer that will generate the duotone effect. If you want, change any of the settings in the New Layer dialog box and click OK to create the new layer. You can also make these modifications from the Layers palette at any time.


  3. Launch the Gradient Editor

    After you click OK in the New Layer dialog box, the Gradient Map dialog box opens, showing the default black and white gradient. With the Preview check box enabled, click the gradient to launch the Gradient Editor.


  4. Select the Duotone Colors

    Click the color stop on the lower-left of the gradient to select it, and then click the Color swatch to launch the Color Picker. From the Color Picker, choose the first color you want to use in the duotone and then close the Color Picker. Repeat this step with the color stop on the lower-right of the gradient to select the second color in the duotone.


  5. Add Tritone and Quadtone Colors

    To create a tritone image, click anywhere in the color stop row, just below the gradient bar, to create a third color stop. Click the Color swatch to select the color from the Color Picker, and drag the stop to the left or right to control where the third color is applied to the image. To create a quadtone image, repeat this step to add a fourth color.


  6. Save the Gradient

    Move the cursor into the gradient swatch palette at the top of the Gradient Editor window and click to add the gradient to the palette for future use (use the Name field to provide an appropriate name for the swatch). Click OK in the Gradient Editor window and again in the Gradient Map dialog box to complete the effect.


How-To Hints

Electric Color Effects

Change the gradient to a Noise gradient to shake things up even more. In the Gradient Editor window, select Noise from the Gradient Type menu. Change any of the RGB sliders or even select the Randomize option to experiment with different effects.

Reversing the Effect

Close the Gradient Editor window and click the Reverse check box in the Gradient Map dialog box to reverse the color mapping and create a negative effect.