1. Design & Illustration
  2. Duotone

How to Make a Pastel Duotone Effect in Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

You can create a duotone photo effect in a few simple clicks using a duotone Photoshop action or create it manually with adjustment layers. In this duotone tutorial, I will show how you how to create a duotone effect in Photoshop using adjustment layers.

If you want to learn these techniques via video, check out our lesson on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You'll Learn in This Photoshop Duotone Tutorial

  • How to create a duotone palette
  • How to make an image duotone in Photoshop using Adjustment Layers

Tutorial Assets

You'll need the following resource in order to complete this tutorial:

1. How to Create a Duotone Palette

Step 1

First of all, let's open our image. Go to File > Open or just hit Control-O and select the image you want to use.

opening the image in Photoshop

Step 2

Now we can create swatches for easy access to colors. To open the Swatches panel, go to Window > Swatches.

opening the swatches panel

Step 3

Open the Color Picker and use the following Color Code: #604e74. Once you've entered the code, hit Add to Swatches.

creating a color swatch

Step 4

Let's add the second color to our swatches using the following Color Code: #fcf9d7. Our little color palette is ready for creating a duotone Photoshop effect, but you can easily add more pastel colors the same way if you want to try different variations.

adding the second color code

2. How to Make a Duotone Photoshop Image Using Adjustment Layers

Step 1

Before creating the duotone effect adjustment layer, let's create a channel mixer layer to make the image a bit darker and save the skin color. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Channel Mixer and use the Black & White with Blue Filter preset.

creating a channel mixer layer

Step 2

Change the Opacity of this layer to 20%.

changing the opacity of the layer

Step 3

To finish the color correction, add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer with the following settings: Brightness: -15; Contrast: 25.

creating brightness and contrast adjustment layer

Step 4

Now let's create a duotone photo effect using a gradient map. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map and create a gradient with the colors from our palette.

creating a gradient map layer

Step 5

And for the last step, change the Location of the first point to 10% and the second point to 95%.

changing the locations of the points of the colors

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

In this simple way, we can create a duotone Photoshop effect using a few adjustment layers and a pastel color palette. This combination gives us a great faded look with an atmospheric vintage feel. If you need any help with the techniques we covered, feel free to contact me!

how to create pastel duotone effect in photoshop final result

Today we've learned how to make an image duotone in Photoshop, but if you are looking for a super fast and easy way to create this kind of effect, check our list of duotone effect Photoshop actions available on Envato Elements:

50 Duotone Actions

50 Duotone Actions

This pack of duotone effect Photoshop actions contains 50 instant effects with different well-combined colors. It's extremely easy to use; just select the action and hit play.

Duotone Master Kit - Super Easy Photoshop Actions

Duotone Master Kit - Super Easy Photoshop Actions

How do you make an image duotone in Photoshop in a few clicks? This master kit with 66 ready -to-use presets is suitable not only for photos but for product presentations, illustrations, and designs.

Duotone Photoshop Action Bundle

Duotone Photoshop Action Bundle

In this duotone Photoshop action bundle, you will find 100 color variations of the duotone effect. All the actions work on any size of image and create a professional visual effect with almost no effort. Enrich your collection of actions with this awesome package! 

Duotone Photoshop Actions

duotone photoshop actions

Want to know how to make duotone Photoshop images in a non-destructive and easy way? Try this collection of 36 duotone Photoshop actions with editable and adjustable end results. In the main archive, you will also find detailed instructions and a quick preview of all the effects in a JPEG format.

Duotone Effects

Duotone Effects

This product contains 35 different duotone effects in just one PSD file. Create stunning images with different color combinations applied to your photos using a smart object. Some of the duotone effects in this package create cool color transition overlays, so the number of combinations of the final look is huge!

Learn More About Adobe Photoshop Effects!

If you are looking for another duotone tutorial or you want to learn other Photoshop techniques, check out these amazing tutorials:

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