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How to Make an Easy Duotone in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will show you two methods of creating an easy duotone in Photoshop. The first method is by using an adjustment layer, and the second method is by using a gradient map. 


There are tons of great stock photos available on Design Bundles. The one we’ve chosen to use today is this adorable pug stock photo.


Step 1: Add Contrast with an Adjustment Layer

In Photoshop, open the image you chose to work with, then go to the adjustments panel and create a new posterize adjustment layer. You can explore other adjustment layer options such as a threshold that may work better depending on your image.

Posterize adjustment layer in Photoshop


Move the lever until you get some nice contrast (we used a value of 4).

Posterize settings in Photoshop


There are a couple of ways you can use to create the duotone, with a solid color adjustment layer and blending modes or with a gradient map adjustment layer. We will illustrate both ways.


Option 1: Adjustment layers and blending modes

Step 1: Create a color fill adjustment layer

Create a new color fill adjustment layer by clicking on the small black and white circle on the bottom of the layers panel and choose solid color.

Solid color fill layer in Photoshop


Choose the shade you want to use on the solid color picker (we used #2a95a8).

Color fill in Photoshop


Step 2: Adjust the color with blending modes

Then, change the blending mode to multiply to fill the white portions of the original image with the selected color.

Multiply in Photoshop


If you use screen instead you will fill the black portions with the selected color.

Screen in Photoshop


You can also check out how other blending modes work on your image. Like hard light.

Hard light in Photoshop


Or subtract.

Subtract in Photoshop


To change the fill color, double-click on top of the solid color fill thumbnail (we used #a8a42a).

Change fill color in Photoshop


Option 2: Gradient map adjustment layer

Step 1: Create a gradient map adjustment layer

To create a duotone with a gradient map adjustment layer head to the adjustments panel and choose that option.

Gradient map adjustment layer in Photoshop


Step 2: Select your gradient

Click on top of the gradient on the properties panel to open the gradient editor and choose one of the presets or create a custom gradient yourself.

Gradien map settings in Photoshop


You can also check the reverse box to reverse the gradient.

Reverse gradient in Photoshop


Check out all the different ways you can use gradient maps:

Easy duotone in Photoshop


If you liked this tutorial, we have tons of other great tutorials in Design School such as enhancing sunsets in Photoshop and curving text in Photoshop.

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