Chapter 9. Specifying Duotones


  • Examining duotones, tritones, and quadtones

  • Choosing duotone colors

  • Adjusting duotone curves

If you produce a lot of black and white photographs, you may find that printing them to a single color on a printing press leaves plenty to be desired. They may look much flatter than they do on-screen or even when printed as a proof on your inkjet printer because they don't have sufficient tonal depth.

Or the occasion may arise when you need to create images using a custom color ink system, either for a specific look or for reasons of economy.

Duotones are the answer to better looking black and white, sepia, tinted, or custom-colored images. In this chapter, I go over all you need to know about duotones, tritones, and quadtones.

Exploring at Duotones, Tritones, and Quadtones

Duotone is the general term to describe images printed with multiple custom inks. Within this category are duotones, which use two colors, tritones, which use three colors, and quadtones, which use four colors. Usually the inks are colored, but you may also see a duotone created using multiple black plates. The two blacks can attain a tonal richness and depth that is out of reach of the simple one-color halftone which ultimately means a better-looking image.

Duotones differ from process color. Process color produces a complete color spectrum and tonal range by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink together in varying densities. Duotones produce color and tone using specific ...

Get Photoshop® CS3 Channels and Masks Bible now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.