Friday, 26 October 2012


Duotone is a halftone reproduction of an image using the superimposition of one contrasting colour halftone (traditionally black) over another color halftone. This is most often used to bring out middle tones and highlights of an image. The most common colors used are blue, yellow, browns and reds.
Now due to recent advances in technology, duotones, tritones, and quadtones can be easily created using image manipulation programs.
Duotones are grayscale images that overprint with a second ink to add a tint and extend the tonal range of the image. They are quite easy to make with Photoshop. Just keep in mind these guidelines when creating them. 

A duotone can add a lot of pizzazz to otherwise dull black-and-white images. Many designers rely on duotones for images in full color CMYK jobs, as well. Why? A duotone can smooth out the inconsistencies in a set of images that need to work together, like photographs of customers, employees, or boards, for example. The full-color images below each had different background colors, exposures, and lighting; by converting them to a simple black-and-grey duotone, we were able to harmonize the images as if they were taken as part of a single photo shoot. 

Duotones (or tritones or quadtones, if you create the image with three or four inks, respectively) can also make quality photographs look even better. While 'better' is a matter of taste, we specifically chose photographs of relatively ordinary people to demonstrate the improvement a duotone can deliver.
Designers often equate a duotone with a two-tone image produced with black and a spot color, and that's great if you are printing two-color. Bear in mind, however, that regardless of the number of colors you are printing, proofing spot-color duotones can be very tricky. That's why we've focused this piece and the related gallery on multi-tonal images that rely solely on CMYK inks. 

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