by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (0)

Created

February 11, 2016

One of the lesser understood features in Photoshop is the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. This is unfortunate because it is really useful for creating richly colored, yet subtly toned image effects including mimicking traditional cross processed looks. In the following examples, I converted the original image to black and white using Lightroom’s Develop module, then opened the file into Photoshop and added a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer from the bottom of the Layers panel. Instead of using the default gradients, I clicked on the downward pointing triangle to the right of the gradient swatch in the Properties panel, and then clicked the gear icon and selected Photographic Toning. Although most of the presets appeared overly saturated when applied at 100%, that was easily solved by lowering the opacity of the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. In the final example, I decided not to convert the image to black and white and instead use a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer to shift the colors in an RGB image.

Original black and white conversion.

Original black and white conversion.

 

Photographic Toning Preset - Gold Blue applied as a Gradient Adjustment Layer

Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Blue applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 30%.

 

Photographic Toning Preset - Gold Copper applied as a Gradient Adjustment Layer

Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Copper applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 50%.

 

Photographic Toning Preset - Gold Sepia applied as a Gradient Adjustment Layer

Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Sepia applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 45%.

 

Original image in RGB with Photographic Toning sepia selinium 3 Gradient Adjustment Layer applied.

Original RGB image with Photographic Toning Preset – Sepia Selenium 3 Gradient Map Adjustment Layer applied at 75%.

Note: although you may achieve similar results for some effects using the Split Tone or Tone Curve panels in Lightroom’s Develop module or ACR, I prefer the level of control over both color and tone achieved using Photoshop’s gradients.