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Using Photographic Toning Gradients In Photoshop CS6
This tutorial is from Adam Smith at Photoshop Daily. Photoshop CS6 has a whole host of improvements and new features, which have been celebrated and covered extensively through different media outlets. But there is also a long list of discrete yet productive features that haven’t been over sold. Photographic Toning gradients are a notable example. You can apply this new hidden feature in Photoshop CS6 (free trial) to replicate print styles.
Essentially Photographic Toning gradients provide a library of gradient styles, which mimic the behaviour of specific chemical treatments from the era when photos were developed in a dark room. You might be wondering what is so special about another set of gradients. If you only use them with the gradient tool, you would be rather bewildered. But these were developed with the Gradient Map adjustment layer in mind.
A Gradient Map adjustment is a clever way of re-colouring a photograph, based on the image’s luminance values. The colours at the left end of the gradient are mapped to the dark and shadow areas of the image. The hues at the right are assigned to the bright and highlight pixels in the image. This allows a high degree of control for converting to black and white, or creating duotones. Follow along and see just how useful these can be.
Find your gradients
Begin by adding a Gradient Map adjustment layer. In the Properties panel, click on the small arrow to the right of the gradient thumbnail to open up the Gradient Selection and then click on icon in the top right corner. Select Photographic Toning from the fly out list. When Photoshop prompts you to replace the current presets, choose Append.
The new library
Open up the Gradient pull-down menu again to find 38 new gradients added to the list of presets. These are based on actual photographic chemical treatments. Choose the Sepia Highlights 1 preset to turn the image to black and white with only the bright areas tinted a sepia hue.
Simply mapping the new gradients creates an assortment of new, useful and interesting effects, opening up a whole library of potential. Yet that potential is multiplied by adjusting the blending mode of the Adjustment Layer. In this case, turning the blending mode to Soft Light create a warmer, high contrast appearance.
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