I am looking to create an image with this similar strong monotone style.

I have tried to use the Duo-tone, but you lose lots of nice colors within by limiting. I also tried to Posterize, but the detail gets lost quickly.

One thought was to limit it to 4-5 colors in a similar tone, but again, posterize lost lots of detail. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

Duotone example


3 Answers 3


Obviously you want only a limited set of hues, but a full range of brightnesses. Check this:

enter image description here

It has two layers. Both layers are the same image, only colored differently with Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation > Colorize

The same image is pasted to the layer mask of the upper layer. It's contrast was adjusted with Image > Adjustments > Curves until a good separation was found. The mask is now this:

enter image description here

You can get the mask onscreen by clicking the mask icon in the Layers panel and holding the Alt key at the same time. This is needed when pasting (in place) the image to the mask.

The adjustments affect to the mask as soon as its icon is selected, no need to have it onscreen.

If the mask has low contrast or is made a little blurred, you will get plenty of mixed tones at the grey areas of the mask. Here the mask is blurred:

enter image description here

It can be useful to adjust the contrasts and brightnesses of the layers separately or at least add a curves adjustment layer over the lower layer.


Looks like a duotone to me...

I have tried to use the Duo-tone, but you lose lots of nice colors within by limiting.

Well of course you're going to lose colors if you reduce it to two colors!

I think you probably actually mean that you're losing details...

Try to start by increasing the details/contrast/sharpness in your source image. Here is an example before and after making these adjustments:

Before example

After example

Hope this helps


The easiest way I have found to create duotones is to first make any adjustments I want to make my image look good (curves, etc.). (If you click on the images, you will get a larger version, which makes it easier to see the Photoshop panels.)

Original Image

Original Image

enter image description here Image with Curves Adjustment Layer

Then I add a Black & White adjustment layer, click the Auto button to let Photoshop make the first set of adjustments, and then make any other edits to the contrast by using the little hand adjustment (just above the list of colors in the B&W panel).

enter image description here With Black & White Adjustment layer added. Note the little hand icon--click on this icon, then move your cursor from left to right over sections of your image to adjust the contrast.

When I am happy with the contrast, then I click the box that says "tint." Double click on the color square to change the color of the tint.

enter image description here Final image with duotone

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.