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Photoshop has the ability to emulate several traditional color toning effects that photographers have previously achieved in the darkroom. And now we can create those color effects without actually using any chemistry. The way I'll do that is I want to use what's called a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. So, over here on the far right bottom corner, I'm going to click to add a Gradient Map. Now in my Properties panel we can see that Photoshop is applying a gradient from black to white. We can change that gradient by clicking on the downward pointing Arrow here, but you'll notice that I have a very limited number of gradients to choose from and honestly none of them look that good. But Photoshop also ships with a number of gradients that aren't loaded by default. So if I click on the Gear icon here, you'll notice that I get a drop down menu and there are a lot of different gradients, in fact there's one called Photographic Toning.
I'm going to select that and then I'll Append my gradients, meaning that I want to add the Photographic Toning Gradient to the end of this list. And now we can see all of those gradients. Now I can click through these, and I can select the ones that I want. If I'm not sure what the traditional effect is that it's emulating, I can also use the Gear icon, and I can change the way that my thumbnails are displayed. So instead of having a small thumbnail, I can go ahead and see a small list. Then I can use the grabber handle at the bottom right, and just elongate this.
So now, when I scroll down and I walk through these different ones, these different gradients, I can see for example, that this one emulates platinum or selenium. We come down further, we've got gold, we even have blue tones, we have cyan type. We have a copper tone, but one of the things that I am noticing is that all of these effects are really quite strong, they're a little bit too strong for me. If that's the case, then I can just select the one that I want, but when I decrease the opacity on the Layers panel, you'll notice that I start seeing the original color from the background layer.
So I need to add a Black and White Adjustment Layer, so I'll click on that in the Adjustments panel and then I can customize how I want each of the color ranges converted. So for example, I could decrease my cyans if I wanted to darken down this area in the upper left. Then I need to change the stacking order because right now the Black and White Adjustment Layer, of course, is hiding the Gradient Map. So I'll just click and drag that down underneath the Gradient Map. And now if I choose the Gradient Map and we change the opacity, you can see that even as I change the opacity down for a much more subtle effect.
It's not giving me the original color from that background layer. And it's as easy as that to emulate one of the traditional Photographic Toning effects in Photoshop.
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