Duotone step-by-step instructions.
A duotone tutorial for self-publishers. Photographers, you can learn how to create duotones for print production or to print your book. Print your black and white photography book with the visual impact of duotones.
You can see in the post image, that the photo on the left in in color. The photo on the right is the same image, converted to a duotone. The duotone is an image printed in black and white, and in one other Pantone Matching System (PMS) ink.
Image format in 8-bit PSD, TIF or JPG. Don’t use 16-bit.
Let’s say that a logo or another image is in full 4-color process, also known as CMYK. The color image will automatically make the book printing a 5-color job. That changes the quote and increases the cost. Instead of a 2-color printing for duotones, black (K) plus the selected Pantone, it will become the 4-color process CMYK plus the 1 Pantone.
Start with 8-bit images. It is the standard and what we recommend, not 16-bit images.
Here are the steps to create a duotone:
- Convert to Grayscale by going to Image > Mode > Grayscale.
- Once you’ve converted to Grayscale, you will then have the option in the same menu to select Image > Mode > Duotone.
- A new Duotone Options dialog box will open. Under Type, select Duotone. Then select the two inks you want to use.
Most often, the first ink is black. Make sure it is the black from the correct color library, Pantone Solid Coated for coated paper, or Pantone Solid Uncoated for uncoated stock.
Very Important: Then choose process black, 100 percent (K=100).
To select a second duotone ink, click on the box on the right. For the photo in our sample image, we selected Pantone 279 C.
Be careful which color library book you select. Again, choose Pantone Solid Coated for coated paper, or Pantone Solid Uncoated for uncoated stock. These libraries do not designate paper stock to be gloss or matte. Before you select the library, either check the final quote, or contact Star Print Brokers to verify paper selection.
If you want to save this Preset, simply click on the little wheel to the right of the preset that now says ‘Custom’. Give it a new name if you wish, and your duotone set-up will always be there for you! This is especially useful if you are doing the entire book on one duotone PMS color plus Process Black.
If the final image seems a little dark as compared to the grayscale original, we have two suggestions. You can select a lighter secondary ink. Another solution suggested by photographer Macduff Everton, is to create a curve setting. Thank you Macduff! You will be able to adjust each image with an individualized curve setting. Read more about curve settings at Adobe Photoshop help. See just two of the books he prints with us. The Book of Santa Barbara and Patagonia.
When working with a duotone, or any image, be sure to understand resolution and effective resolution.
Star Print Brokers will always be here for you too. If you have a question about a duotone or need a quote, call us at (844) 603-1777 toll-free, or (425) 603-1777. You can also use our contact form.