There is nothing quite as un-sexy as the term “duotone” so I’ve decided to make a tutorial showing you not just how to duotone, but 5 pretty cool different duotone effects that you can use practically in projects you are working on now. We’ll create a text masked, multi-colored duotone effect to a portrait photograph, we’ll create a simple comic book styled duotone effect, we’ll create a retro/vintage photograph effect which will take your photos back to the 1800’s, we’ll create a grunge movie poster image effect, and we’ll create the new Apple Music Festival 2016 poster effect using brightly colored gradients and masking duotone gradient map layers. It’s all pretty simple and once you see it, you’ll never forget it! Make sure you use the form below to grab the free duotone gradient pack that I’m giving away! NOTE: You maybe have to disable pop-up blockers for a moment to allow the form to pop open the new tab with your download in it.
Creating a Text Mask Style Duotone Effect
The first effect we’ll create begins by cutting out a building or a person in your photo using whatever tool you like. Don’t worry about it being a perfect selection, it’ll still look really good. You’ll want to download the gradient pack available above and add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer above the image and choose one of the gradients to apply a cool duotone color effect to the image. To see how I create the rest of the text effect, check out the video above and I’ll go over how to finish this effect.
How to Create a Comic Duotone Effect
Creating a simple comic book duotone effect begins with a Threshold Adjustment Layer set to something around 65 so you can reduce the detail you see and then merge these layers up to a new layer by hitting Cmd/Ctrl + Alt/Opt + Shift + E and I like to hit this layer with a little Filter>Distort>Wave and give a subtle wave to the edges of our illustration and also use the Filter>Gallery>Texturizer and add some texture to this layer. Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer above this and pick any gradient and then tick on the “Reverse” option in the Gradient Map properties panel. To see more about how I created this effect check out the video above.
How to Make a Retro/Vintage Style Photo with a Duotone Gradient Map
To create more of a retro effect we’ll begin by dropping a Tilt-Shift filter onto the image and then create a Curves Adjustment Layer and pull up on the black point and down on the white point to reduce contrast. Then create a new Gradient Map and choose the “brown-yellow-fade” gradient and reduce the saturation with a Vibrance Adjustment Layer and darken the overall image using a Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer set to the blend mode of Multiply. Check out the video above to see exactly how I created this effect and worked with tilt-shift and grain to really top off this effect and make a really cool vintage effect.
How to Create a Paint Splattered Duotone Movie Poster Effect
This is a more complex effect so I’ll only cover a part of it here, be sure to check out the video above for all the details. You’ll want to cut your subject off of the background and throw a Gradient Map on top of this. I grabbed the very first gradient in my pack, it’s a flat blue to flat red color. Group the Gradient Map and the model who we’re coloring and create a mask and fill it with black and then use some brushes like these and paint with a few clicks to reveal only a part of the gradient map, duo-toned image below to allow that to “show through” the area we masked. I cover so much more about this effect in the video if you’re interested in building this entire effect.
Let’s Create a New Apple Music Festival ‘10 Style Poster
To create the new Apple Music Festival 2016 poster we need a brightly colored gradient background set behind a duotone or tritone gradient map. I dragged a light green to teal colored gradient out behind my subject and then used two Gradient Map Adjustment Layers (both clipped to my subject’s layer in Photoshop), one with a deep purple to mango/peach color and the second one a deep purple to hot pink and used a mask on the hot pink gradient and only painted that effect in on the left-side of the subject’s face. As with the other steps here, check out the video above for all the details.