Duotones Made Easy
by D'Lynn Waldron, PhD
Who uses Duotones?
Duotones have become very popular for illustrations in glossy magazines, and in advertising, but until now they have not been easy to create. At one time Duotones were just a way to give some color toning and or a wider range of gradients to a grayscale image. Now, color photos are being turned into grayscale just so they can be made into Duotones.
What is a "Duotone"?
Duotone is the generic name for multitone printing, which can be done with two, three or four inks. This process requires that the press be set up with special inks, usually Pantone-designated colors, instead of the standard CMYK inks used for process color printing. True multitones use spot color plates, rather than dithered CMYK, but a good emulation can be done using the much cheaper and more available CMYK printing process.
Creating Duotones in Photoshop
Computer imaginging makes the creation of multitones much easier. With Adobe Photoshop, you have infinite control and previewing of what various curves and colors will look like. Photoshop will then create an EPS file with your multitone plates for the image setter. You can also use Photoshop to convert your multitone to RGB for monitor viewing, or CMYK for standard process color printing.
Two ways to create multitones in Photoshop
1) You can use the Photoshop Duotone facility, in which case you will not have access to the individual plates should you wish to do some hand painting or erasing to selected areas.
2) You can also create your own real or simulated multitones using Layers in Photoshop and designating them with Pantone Color names, in which case you can paint and erase individually on the different layers that will be printed with the different colors. This is very useful for adding emphasis to some element in the image by intensifying the color in a selected area.
The Multitone Presets Provided in Photoshop
Photoshop comes with small selection of "Duotone" presets for duo, tri and quadratones. These presets have preselected colors and preset curves, both of which you can adjust in the Photoshop Duotone facility. However, with countless other possible color and curve combinations, it is hard to visualize what will look best with a particular image, and difficult to achieve it.
PANTONE Color Fun Books
Now there is a marvelous new way to select and create the multitone that will look best with your image. PANTONE has brought two products that each have a pair of fan book guides (one for coated and one for uncoated stock). The fan book guides show what a wide variety of multitone effects will look like when printed.
Pantone Color Answers Book - Effects begin with black dominating the image, with color used to increase tonal range. The effects progress from this to a greater and greater color influence, with the black providing detail and contrast. Pickerbook has created a color weight index with special curves for inks fthat are Extra Light, Light, Medium, Dark and Extra Dark. The accompanying Mac/Win CDs provide preset curves and colors to be opened in Photoshop. This results in fast, accurate and dependable multitones.
- Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color by Leatrice Eiseman
- Designers Complete Index by Jim Krause (Paperback)
- PANTONE ColorVision Spyder2PRO Studio by Pantone, Inc. (CD-ROM) - Mac OS X, Windows XP / 2000
- Pantone Process Color Guide Uncoated Stock - Printer color management kit by Pantone $64.95
- Color Index: Over 1100 Color Combinations, CMYK and RGB Formulas, for Print and Web Media by Jim Krause ( Turtleback ) $16.79
- Process Color Manual, 24,000 CMYK Combinations for Design, Prepress, and Printing - by Michael Rogondino, et al (Spiral-bound) $22.05
- Colors for Your Every Mood: Discover Your True Decorating Colors - by Leatrice Eiseman (Paperback) $13.60
- The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations: 500+ Historic and Modern Color Formulas in Cmyk - by Leslie Cabarga (Hardcover) $17.63
- See this Pantone Movie (QuickTime) which gives an overview about using duotones from the Pantone books.
- See: Pantone Pantone Metallic Chips Coated GB1106 by Pantone, Inc. (CD-ROM) $124.99 along with this movie about PANTONE Hexachrome products (QuickTime)
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