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Aperture Monday: Split Toning Black & White Images

About a year ago I got very interested about B&W conversion once I got the Silver EfexPro plugin, because it made it easy for me to get the results that I was looking for. In this software I usually add a split-toned toning to my images with a blue tint in the shadows and a yellow tone in the highlights and now I was interested how to achieve the same effect in Aperture.

Since a Split-Tone panel is not available in Aperture I thought about how I can achieve this adjustment in Aperture. My initial thought was using two of the color-monochrome panels and paint these into the shadows/highlights. The results somehow were not very satisfying. Just the other day I figured out a better, more flexible and faster solution using the curves panel which I will discuss in this quick tutorial.

The first thing to do is to convert the image into a B&W by setting the saturation slider to 0. This has the advantage that the curves and color-panel remain fully functional and therefore it’s possible to adjust specific tonal values of the image individually. It is important to NOT use the B&W panel for this tutorial as it will not work with this approach.

The image is now monochrome and I want to apply the toning. I add a curve panel to the adjustments and as I would like to have a blue tone in the shadows, I select the curve of the blue channel and raise the curve only in the shadows and drop it slightly in the highlights to further enhance the yellowish tint which will be added in the next step.

To create the yellow tones in the highlights, I select the Green and the Red channel and raise the curve in the in the highlights and maybe drop both of them slightly in the shadows to further enhance the blues.

If I want to have a stronger toning I now can adjust the curves a little more or I can go into the color panel and adjust the saturation and lightness sliders of the blues and yellows to fine tune the toning. Alternatively it’s possible to either adjust the curves again or simply adjust the opacity of the curves using this method.

And that’s about it. Further overall toning can be now be added by using a color-monochrome panel and drop the strength of this pretty much down, to not override the curves we just created.

As in Photoshop, there are probably more possibilities to achieve this effect in Aperture, but I found this one to be effective, easy and to be very flexible. I’m planning to create one or two presets using this method which I will probably post next week.

  1. Excellent post Sven – this is good! I can highly recommend Topaz Labs software, especially their new ‘B&W Effects’ plug-in… superb!

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