Using the Split Tone Tool

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Add a color to highlights and shadows with Split Tone.



What is Split Tone?

The Split Toning toolmceclip0.jpg adds a color tone to shadows and highlights. Before the start of color photography, “toning” started around the turn of the 20th century as artists sought to bring color to their black & white photos and movies using many different processes to tint images with a single color tone.

Split toning came later on with the onset of sepia toning, which would add a warm tint to only the highlights.

Nowadays, we can easily apply any color tone to any part of the image with modern digital tools like the Split Toning toolmceclip0.jpg. It allows you to add a separate color tint to the highlights and shadows, preserving the natural color of the image but adding the color tone.

Where it is:


Why would you use it?

Color is also a very emotional and personal experience and we all have life experiences with different colors. Adding a color tone to an image can change the feeling it conveys, for instance:

red-icon.jpg Red: excitement, anger, love, passion

orange-icon.jpg Orange: Enthusiasm, attention, happiness, health

yellow-icon.jpg Yellow: Warmth, energy, optimism, cheer

green-icon.jpg Green: Envy, evil, restful, natural, balance

blue-icon.jpg Blue: Calmness, sadness, power, trust, stable, smart

purple-icon.jpg Purple: Wealth, mystery, wisdom, arrogant, creative

However, since this is the Split Toning tool, you can apply independent colors to the shadows and highlights simultaneously, allowing you to add more complex color relationships to your image, such as complementary color. 


Here, we apply every combination of shadow and highlight colors, exploring the many different moods that can be created.


Here, we experiment with different moods this lighthouse image can convey. 1. We tint the highlights blue to add to the chilly feel, and then do the same to the shadows to take it even farther. 2. We do the opposite, adding a warm tone to the highlights that adds a more summer-like feel, and again doing the same to the shadows to push it even farther. 3. We try a blue tone to the shadows combined with a warm tone in the highlights, which creates a nice color contrast.



Tips & Tricks:

1. The Split Toning toolmceclip0.jpg is applied on top of most other tools internally, so few other tools will interact with the Split Toning tool. Many presetspresets_icon.jpgalso include some toning in their look already, so the Split Toning tool is typically applied near the end of the editing process.

2. You can only add one color from each section, so you cannot stack multiple shadow colors.

3. The Split Toning toolmceclip0.jpg can be effectively used to soften blown-out highlights (areas that are white when they should have detail). For natural-looking results, try the warmer highlight colors to soften blown out skin, and the blue color for blown out skies.

4. For instant-film effects, use the red, orange or yellow tint for highlights.

5. Film X presets all fade into a color tone somewhat with changes to the Character control. If you’re using one of these presets, try using that control before the Split Toning tool as it is more realistic.

6. By combining other tools like Exposuremceclip0.jpg, Contrastmceclip1.jpg, and Saturationmceclip2.jpg with the Split Toning toolmceclip0.jpg, you can create your own preset-like effects and save them as Recipesmceclip2.jpg to use later on.

7. To create a single color tone, juse use the same color for both the highlights and shadows.


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