Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Tinting with the Gradient Map adjustment, part of Nondestructive Exposure and Color Correction with Photoshop.
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One my favorite adjustments inside Adobe Photoshop is the Gradient Map. It essentially takes the darkest and lightest values and maps a new color to them. This got even more useful with Photoshop CS, because there was the introduction of several very cool presets to simulate photographic stocks. Here is how it works. I've applied a gradient map here and you see that it's mapping new colors to the image, in this case a very stylized approach. Let's add a new adjustment layer for gradient map. It's right at the bottom. And when you do that, there is a list of several default options.
You can go ahead and apply those. Some are quite obnoxious. But you see that it's mapping the values. For example, in this simplified version, it's mapping red to the darkest area and green to the brightest areas. You can modify that by clicking and simply adjust the stops, or even change their colors, such as go from a dark red to a very light red, and we'll take that to a darker value. And you see how we are getting a very nice simplified toning.
It can of course be reversed if necessary to create a solarized image. But what I really like are some of the useful presets. Clicking here and then clicking the gear icon, you'll see a list of several options, and new to CS6 is the Photographic Toning category. These are really cool. And you'll see several black and white presets, as well as ones that introduce some warm tones for some very natural-looking sepia-tone effects.
You can simply click through these to see the effect, and as you scroll down the list, there's lots of choices. If you want to back it off, you could change its blending mode to something like Hue, or more gentle to a Soft light, and you see that that does a nice job of aging the photo. However, the standard Normal or subtle Hue or Color option will do the heaviest tint and really lets you take advantage of this photographic tint.
I really like that for a black and white conversion, a little subtle brown tone that matches the mood of the photo, and it's super fast and easy to use.
- Performing an image-correction triage
- Cloning to an empty layer
- Using adjustment layers
- Opening a raw file as a smart object
- Making selective adjustments
- Recovering the detail in skies
- Fixing exposure
- Saving time with Auto Tone and Auto Contrast
- Adjusting hue and saturation
- Controlling adjustment layers with masks
- Adjusting shadows and highlights
- Converting an image to black and white