Tutorial: Split-toning in Photoshop

Photoshop Tutorial

Toning an image began in the darkroom in traditional film photography where an image printed from film is “toned” in a special bath. The most popular is the Sepia toning, but there also is Selenium (bluish) and Bronze. Photoshop allows you to tone an image with any color you choose. Split-toning is the process of applying two or more colors to an image, allowing you to add, or “tone” the shadows (darker areas of the image) one color, and the highlights (lighter areas of the image) another color. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Open an image in Photoshop and select the Background layer in the Layers palette.
  2. Click the 1 Color Balance icon from the Adjustments palette to create a new layer above the background layer.
  3. On the Properties palette, you should see the “Color Balance” sliders appear like this:
  4. In the Properties palette, select “Shadows” from the “Tone” drop-down menu.
  5. Now you can adjust the color sliders to “tone” (add color) to the shadows and dark areas of your image.
  6. This will change how the shadows appear.
    (Notice how shifting the sliders at the top affect the darker areas of the photo.)
  7. Then, adjust the lighter areas of the photo by selecting “highlights” from the “Tone” drop-down menu.
  8. Now you can “tone” the highlights and lighter areas by adjusting the color sliders.
    (Notice how adjusting the highlights affects the bright areas of the photo.)
  9. Selecting the “Preserve Luminosity” option on the Color Balance Properties can have an extreme effect. Use this with caution.
  10. Try using multiple sliders at once. You can also affect the balance this way by applying contrasting sliders. ie. Red and blue or cyan and magenta.
  11. Have fun “toning” your image!