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Thread: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photoshop

  1. #1

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    A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photoshop


    Although the Photoshop Color Fill method (described here) is convenient for general toning, the tint is applied uniformly across the brightness scale. It may not be suitable for all images.

    What if we want slightly neutral high values - or strongly neutral shadows - or strongly tinted mid tones ? What if we want the ability to apply tonal adjustments gradually, without any conspicuous gaps or transitions along the brightness scale ?

    The Advanced Color Fill Method allows us to apply a tone as a Curves adjustment layer, with all the control that provides.

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    Alas, this is one of those things doing it old school in a darkroom sink can be so much more nuanced and far simpler. Digital toning can sorta mimic, yes; I've seen plenty of it, but it always seems to looks pasted onto the surface and never part of it.

  3. #3
    Tim Sandstrom
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    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    this is pretty cool, sort of like a split filtered approach applying toning to one part of the spectrum... say the darks/mids, leaving the highlights alone... nice work and thanks for sharing...

  4. #4

    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    Quote Originally Posted by dasBlute View Post
    a split filtered approach applying toning
    Great tutorial as always, thanks! Speaking of split toning, I was wondering if you've come up with an approach that catches the selenium/gold tone vibe? (I've been looking at a lot of Thomas Joshua Cooper photos lately, but have never seen a digital analogue that quite catches the look.)

  5. #5

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    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    We can choose from all colors and apply as many layers as we like. Tritones, Quadtones, etc. can be blended with no apparent gaps or discontinuities unless we want them.

    This is not my artistic preference but here are some examples where the shadows have been cool-toned, the middle values are neutral gray and the high values are rendered in gold. We could have chosen hot pink and lime green: it doesn't matter.

    This method works with any printer and does not require Quadtone RIP, custom inks or MacOS.




    Last edited by Ken Lee; 19-May-2020 at 08:35.

  6. #6

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    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    Couldn't you do this same thing with Blend If?

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    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    Couldn't you do this same thing with Blend If?
    As far as I know, the Blend If feature gives us discontinuous transitions. Using a curve instead of a strict cutoff, we get a blended effect where one tone gradually transitions into the next. The degree of blending is determined by the shape of the curve.

    In this example, the lowest values get no toning and the high values get only partial toning. The middle values get extra toning.

    However, examining the photo we can't quite tell where this happens along the scale because there are no abrupt transitions. It's a curve function, not a step function.



    Of course, if we want abrupt transitions we can specify curves which start or end abruptly: that's an artistic decision.

  8. #8

    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    As far as I know, the Blend If feature gives us discontinuous transitions.
    Excellent, thanks--FWIW, "Blend If" in PS at least lets you "split" the sliders to control transitions a bit, but I imagine your Curves approach is a bit more nuanced.

  9. #9

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    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    As far as I know, the Blend If feature gives us discontinuous transitions.
    Not discontinuous, if you split the triangles.

  10. #10

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    Re: A brief article on digital image "toning": Advanced Color Fill Method in Photosho

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    Not discontinuous, if you split the triangles.
    I see your excellent point. Is this what you're talking about ?

    Note: In the following images, the lower portion is the original Grayscale step wedge, the middle portion has a standard Color Fill (which by default is applied across the brightness scale) and the top portion has an additional adjustment of type Blend If.


    Here we have cut off the toning altogether abuptly, from brightness level 0 to 127.
    Above brightness level 127, toning is unaffected.


    Here we have split the triangles and reduced the toning from 0 to 127, in a gradual way.
    Toning is reduced the most at level 0 and the least at level 127.
    Above brightness level 127, toning is unaffected.


    Here we have cut off the toning abruptly, below 78 and above 182


    Here we have split the triangles and reduced the toning gradually below 78 and above 183
    The result is quite smooth: very natural in appearance.

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