Understanding the Meaning Of Duotones In Digital Sports Photography

Published: 04th June 2010
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As in every other type of digital photography, in digital sports photography as well much of the art of traditional black and white printing lies in making the most of the limited tonal range inherent in the printing paper. A com¬mon tactic is to imply a wider tonal range than really exists by making the print contrasty. This suggests that shadows are really deep while high¬lights are truly bright. The success of this depends on the subtleties of tonal gradation between these extremes. A further technique is to tone the print, adding colour to the neutral grey image areas.

In digital sports photography also, modern-digital printers have opened up the possibilities for toning well beyond that possible in the darkroom. The range of hues is virtually unlimited as you can simulate all those that can be created with the four-colour (or more) process.

Starting with a digital sports photo, even a colour one, first turn the file into a greyscale using, in Photoshop, the Image > Mode menu. This per¬manently deletes colour information, so you need to work on a copy file. Similar results can be obtained in the Sepia Tone effect, a menu option in almost all image-manipulation applications. This is mostly used in digital sport video.

Now that you have a greyscale image you can enter the Duotone mode, where you have a choice of going it alone or loading one of the preset duo-tones. If you are not familiar with the process some digital sports photography tips can be of some real help, like using the Duotone Presets (usually found in the "Goodies" folder of Photoshop).

Clicking on the coloured square in the dialogue box changes the colour of the second "ink". Bright red could give an effect of gold toning; dark brown, a sepia-toned effect. This is a powerful feature that is frequently used in digital sports photography - in an instant you can vary the toning effects on any image without any of the mess and expense of mixing chemicals associated with the darkroom equivalent.

If you click on the lower of the graph symbols, a curve appears that tells you how the second ink is being used, and by manipulating the curve you can change its effect. You will need to know this if you are to become a master in digital sports photography and a master in using the digital camera sports photography. You could, for example, choose to place a lot of second ink in the high¬lights, in which case all the upper tones will be tinted. Or you may decide to create a wavy curve, in which case the result will be an image that looks somewhat posterized.

In version 5 and later editions of Photoshop, you can choose Previews. This updates the image without changing the file, allowing you to see and evaluate the effects in advance.
You need to bear in mind that a duotone is likely to be saved in the native file format (the software's own format). This means that to print it you may first have to convert it into a standard RGB or CMYK TIFF file, so that the combination of black and coloured inks you specified for the duotone can be simulated by the coloured inks of the printer. This is the case whether you output on an ink-jet printer or a four-colour press.

Following these basics guidelines and you will turn your digital sports photography passion into real art.

Willis J. Watson is a freelance writer since 2006, living in United States and he writes about his great passion...digital photography for about 4 years. If you want to read more informations about Digital Photography Classes and also read more reviews about Youth Sports Photography, you can check out his websites.



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