Live Greyscale or Duotone Images

There are a number of ways to generate a greyscale image of course, but for print production, they don’t always generate a true greyscale image. For example, if you use the Black and White Adjustment Layer, the image you have is still RGB. You can of course save a copy of that as a true greyscale, but that means if you need to tune the original, then you’ll need to create another copy.

Here’s a technique that you may want to employ, that gives you a true greyscale file, from one PSD original—”live” greyscale.

  1. Open your file, and if it isn’t already, convert it to a PSD. If you need to do this in bulk, then you could use the Image Processor script to do that for you.step1
  2. Convert your Background to a Smart Object.step2
  3. Change the Image Mode of the file to Greyscale—you’ll get an option dialog and choose Don’t Rasterize to preserve your Smart Object—the file will now behave and print as a true greyscale image, with one single channel.step3
  4. Save the file and keep the option to Maximize Compatibility.
  5. To edit/tune the greyscale values, double-click the Smart Object thumbnail in the Layers Panel.
  6. Once the Smart Object is open (you’ll know—it’ll be in colour) again, convert the background to a Smart Object, so that you can infinitely edit the image.
  7. From the Filter menu, choose the Camera Raw Filter. step4Assuming you’re ok with the colour values already—you can adjust them here if you want to—then choose the HSL/Greyscale tab on the right-hand side of the screen. Check the Convert to Greyscale box, and then tune as desired.step6
  8. Exit the dialog, save and exit the Smart Object and you’re back in the PSD, with a true greyscale image.step7

InDesign Tint Duotones

Greyscale images (TIFF, JPG or PNG) placed into InDesign can be tinted by applying a colour swatch to the image frame; InDesign treats the white values as transparent so you’re effectively “seeing through” the image to the colour underneath. The above technique doesn’t work for this kind of operation, but you could always go one step further—you’d have more control and a much finer result.

Live Duotones

Now that you have your greyscale PSD, you can create a duotoned (or tritoned or quadtoned) version really easily.

Go to the Image menu and change the mode to Duotone. step8Then choose a toning type (duo/tri/quad) and then choose your colours below, or start with one of the many presets at the top of the dialog.step9

Image Attribution:

The image being used in this post is “Lakeside of Mono Lake.jpg” by Michael Gäbler (licensed under Creative Commons) and can be found on Wikimedia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lakeside_of_Mono_Lake.jpg

Wrapping Up

Does this method make things easier for you? I’d love to hear your comments, and please share the post!

Note: This post didn’t get automatically published on time as planned—entirely my error, sorry—so if you’re a regular reader via a feed, there’s nothing wrong with your app/kit, it’s all down to me. I have deducted some awesome points from my running total.

Comp CC Enhancements

In case you haven’t had a chance to explore Comp CC in any more detail, then there are some features that were added in the Autumn release that may have escaped your attention. If you don’t yet have Comp CC, then pop across to the App Store and get it now—it’s available for iPhone, iPad and iPad Pro.

Gesture/Layout Mode

The first thing to notice is that the small purple tab—that used to be the switch on the left of the UI between gesture mode and layout mode—has been removed. Now, if you need to do something other than a layout task, like maybe to draw with a gesture, you just do it, and Comp CC plays along. It saves a lot of to-ing and fro-ing backwards and forwards, changing modes.

Drawing Gestures

CC_iPadAir-IMG_0500There are a few new or modified gestures to work with:

  • Line—it’s a subtle difference that your line gesture now is a continuous swipe in one direction and then reversed
  • Lasso—draw a lasso around objects to select them
  • Grab Styles—make a selection, and then target the object that you’d like to copy appearances from
  • Duplicate Selected—make a selection draw one or more + plus gestures to duplicate the selection

To see the drawing gestures in action, go to the gear icon at the top-right of the screen, and select Drawing Gesture Help, then tap on one of the gestures and you’ll see an animation so you’ll know how to perform the gesture.

Not Shown

There are a couple of gestures that were in the original version of comp, but not shown in the Gesture Help—but the gestures still work:

  • The rounded image frame option doesn’t show in the Drawing Gestures screen but if you draw an image frame and a rounded gesture on one of the corners, you’ll get that as a result.
  • You can still draw corner triangles with the old gesture

Grids and Guides

It’s now possible to get even closer to a really balanced design—and by extension, closer to a “finished” layout—as grids and guides are now available from the gear menu at the top-right.CC_iPadAir-IMG_0506

When tapped, the Grid & Guides screen appears; you can set the margins by dragging in the tabs on the top, bottom, left and right, and add/remove columns using the plus and minus icons at the bottom.CC_iPadAir-IMG_0503For precision, all of the margin, column and gutter values can be set by tapping the icon at the top-left:CC_iPadAir-IMG_0505

Horizontal and vertical guides can be introduced with the guides icon (also at the top-left); once a guide is introduced, it can be dragged into position or deleted by tapping on the guide to select it:CC_iPadAir-IMG_0507To exit the Grids and Guides screen, tap Done at the top-right.

Lock Items

To prevent page items being accidentally moved, it’s now possible to lock them on the layout. Make a selection, then tap the Ellipsis () menu at the bottom-right of the screen, followed by the Lock option:CC_iPadAir-IMG_0508Objects can be unlocked individually or all-at-once by visiting the Locked Objects item in the gear menu:CC_iPadAir-IMG_0509

These are all great additions to Comp CC, and make design-on-the-go even faster, even more accurate and even more fun!

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