Do the various Duotone presets in PS have some origin/significance?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by Colin O, Jan 17, 2022.

  1. I shoot (film and digital) in colour, but sometimes I'll feel that an image would work well in black & white, and I've come to enjoy using Photoshop's "Duotone" mode in these cases (which actually includes tritones and quadtones). I generally stick to one of the presets built into PS, but I've just been wondering where these presets come from. Maybe nobody can answer – they might be just settings that PS developers find pleasing – but does anyone know if the presets have some significance/pattern/origin?

  2. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

  3. Dunno if I am getting your question. The displayed menu lists a bunch of somewhat common Pantone colors, that could be used to mass print your image on offset presses.
    I have no clue how Duotones got separated in the pre-digital days or who might have been a pioneer in doing so.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2022
  4. The bottom line is that the duotone (and general color) choices are not a Photoshop 'invention'. Photoshop just provides a representative range of standardized color palettes (a.k.a palettes or 'books') when it's initially installed. All users are free to download and install additional color palettes (a.k.a. swatches).


  5. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Pantone colors are indeed a group of known process colors based on a CMYK print process but indeed, one can select said colors to produce a duotone or tritone with said colors.
    There is more to Photoshop's duotones and so forth than just those defined colors.
    What colors you indeed get outside of a defined print process comes down to YMMV.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  6. Thanks for the replies all, and sorry if my question is not clear... I have to admit a bit of ignorance here... My understanding is that duotones (and tritones and quadtones) come from, let's say, pre-digital days - a way of combining a small range of colours (inks?) to produce an image, so it's not just monotone, but rather a kind of combination of "a few different monotones". So, what my question really relates to is - do those options in the Photoshop dropdown correspond to some kind of regularly-used tones used in creating traditional duotones? Also, what do the cryptic "Bl", "CG10", "WmG9", etc stand for?
    mikemorrell likes this.
  7. Ah! Bl = black, should be higher pigmented than 4c's process black / k.
    WmG9 = Pantone Warm Grey base with a wee bit of transparent white
    CG10 = Pantone Cool Grey base, barely diluted

    I have no Pantone Color Guide with mixing instructions here at home, they are horribly expensive some $150-300 and should get bined every couple of years. But an online search on your hopefully calibrated screen should give you kind of an idea.
    And yeah, with conventional screen dots we can print just close to 255 shades, so using more than just black gives a greater tonal range to the image.
    Offset printshops tend to have Pantone inks at hand or at least in reach. AFAIK the one I am dayjobbing at hasn't done duotone+x printing but needs Pantone inks to create stationary or business cards etc. Printing your corporate colors 4c separated is cheap or untraditional.
    mikemorrell likes this.

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