In this tutorial we show you a simple split toning effect for Photoshop Elements. Learn how to apply attractive washes of colour to the shadows and highlights of your black and white conversions.
One way of creating an eye-catching landscape is to remove the image’s original colour information. This helps the eye focus on tonally contrasting shapes and textures in the scene.
You can further enhance your mono conversions by gently re-introducing a delicate wash of colour to the shot’s shadows and highlights.
A hint of colour can make a monochrome shot look more interesting and influence the mood that it evokes.
In our split toning end result, for example, the shadows have a cool dark blue tint, while the lighter tones have a warmer wash of yellow. These colours also help to tease out the different textures and shapes.
Photoshop CS users have a Split Tone command in the Camera Raw editor, which enables them to independently colourise a monochrome conversion’s shadows and highlights.
As the cheaper Photoshop Elements lacks a dedicated split-toning command, here we’ll show you an alternative technique that involves using layers, Blending Modes and gradient maps.
We’ll also demonstrate how to use Elements’ Convert to Black and White command to create an effective mono conversion in which key features in the scene (like the tree) stand out due to a range of shadows, midtones and highlights. You can then add washes of colour to the contrasting tones.
Split toning step-by-step in Photoshop Elements
01 Duplicate layer
Go to File>Open and browse to your start image. Click Open. Click on the locked Background layer’s thumbnail. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it. You could just remove the shot’s colour information, but that risks giving a low-contrast wash of greyscale tones.
02 Convert to mono
To make key features stand out more in your monochrome conversion, go to Enhance>Convert to Black and White. By choosing the Infrared Effect preset you can darken the tones of the blue sky so the clouds stand out. Click OK to apply the changes.
03 Burn in contrast
The foreground grass lacks contrast. To reveal more texture, choose the Burn tool from the Tools palette. Choose a soft round tip from the Brush Preset picker and set Size to 1,000 pixels. Set Range to Shadows and Exposure to 15%. Spray over the grass.
04 Add Gradient Map
Choose Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map. In the New Layer window click OK. In the Adjustments Gradient Map panel, click on the greyscale preview bar to change the colours that make up the gradient. The Gradient Editor will now appear.
05 Sample shadow colour
By default you’ll have a black-to-white foreground-to-background gradient. To change this to another colour, click on the black colour stop at the bottom left of the gradient preview window. Click on the colour swatch to open the Select Stop Colour window. Sample a bluey-purple. Click OK to apply the change.
06 Change the Blending Mode
Click on the white colour stop at the bottom right of the gradient preview. Now click the colour swatch icon to change its colour. Choose a yellow colour and click OK. Click OK again to close the Gradient Editor. Finally, set the Gradient Map’s Blending Mode to Overlay and its Opacity to 44%.
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