Split-tone RAW images in Photoshop

Learn to use the Split Toning feature of Adobe Camera Raw 4.1 to target and tint mono conversions

Mono images can be given extra warmth by converting them to sepia. To create the classy, antique look you can always use Photoshop to alter the hue and saturation of your raw format image, but Adobe Camera Raw’s Split Toning feature can be used to create more depth. You’ll also learn how to use the Balance tool to accentuate the tint in shadows and highlights.

1. Set preferences

Our source file is a JPEG, but we can still edit it using the tools in the CS3 Raw 4. plug-in. Go to Edit > Preferences > File Handling. In the File Compatibility section tick the Prefer Adobe Camera Raw for JPEG Files box. The Sepia_toning_before.jpg source file will now open in the Raw interface.


2. Go grey

For an image with more ‘punch’, click on the Basic tab. Drag the Exposure slider to +0.35 to brighten the whites. Drag blacks to 5 for stronger shadows. Click on the HSL/ Grayscale tab. Click on the Convert to Grayscale box. This creates a monochrome version of your image.


3. Tint the highlights

Click on the Split Toning tab. Drag the Highlight’s Hue slider to 42. The Saturation slider’s preview bar will show you a wide range of reddish brown colours. By setting the Highlights slider’s Saturation value to 36, the highlights and brighter midtones will be tinted a warm, sepia colour.


4. Tint the shadows

Go to the Shadows slider and drag Hue to 42. A range of sepia tones will appear in the Shadow slider’s Saturation preview bar. Set Saturation to 32 for a more gentle shadow tint. You can use this slider to tint the shadows any colour you like for striking duotone images.


5. Get the balance right

You can accentuate the tint in either the shadows or highlights by using the Balance slider. As this shot consists mostly of midtones and highlights the shadow values are less tinted. Drag Balance to -56 to increase the strength of the sepia tint throughout the image’s darker tones.