'Gradient Maps & Toning'

Clive R. Haynes FRPS

'Gradient Maps' can provide an attractive method of toning.
They are 'editable' and flexible.
They exist on a separate layer and can be both blended and worked with layer masks.

And, what's more, they are simple and quick to do.

Above: This image of the ruined Abbey of Maillezais will be our example

The Method

Open the picture as a Background Layer

Make a copy of this layer, placing it on the layer above

Make this layer into a monochrome image by whatever method suits the picture best (do not use the Mode > Greyscale route).
The quickest way to monochrome is via Image > Adjust > Desaturate (Ctrl + Shift + U)

Select the Gradient tool and use the 'Linear Gradient' (usually the default) option and from the options bar choose 'Foreground to Background'

Choose the two colours (set as Foreground & Background) that you wish to use for the toning

Return to the copy (now monochrome) layer

Click on the Adjustment Layer icon.......... at the bottom of the Layers Palette and from the drop-down Adjustment Layer menu choose Gradient Map.


(Above: the Gradient Map dialogue box - the colour settings are just for example

Note: Clicking on the colour gradient area itself reveals the 'Gradient Editor' dialogue box - this allows many options, other gradients to be loaded and plenty of room for experimentation, see below
Once you have selected the gradient required, edited it, or simply clicked 'OK' in the Gradient Map box, the gradient map will appear on a new layer and wash over the image - it usually looks pretty awful at first!
But we're going to work on it!

(Above - the first 'wash' with the Gradient Map - pretty amazing, unless you like this sort of thing!)

To improve the image, change the layer blend mode to 'Overlay' and reduce the Layer Opacity - see below.
Experiment by blending with other 'modes' too.

Below: The final image - a warm (almost selenium tone) monochrome picture



Related Topics
Toning with 'Variations
Toning with 'Curves'
Know-How Contents
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