Blake Rudis is a 3 time self-published author and the founder of EverydayHDR.com & HDRInsider.com. He has also recently developed Zone-Edit.com. This site is devoted to his Photoshop post processing technique that utilizes the limitless potential of the Zone System and the power of Photoshop to capitalize on the contrast in any image.

There are many times when toning a photo can make it pop off the page, give it a unique feeling, or just clean it up a bit. There are several ways you can tone a photograph and there are even more tones that you can apply to the photo. Just take a stroll through ReStyle, there are thousands of tones, but which one is right? Is there a correct tone for a photo?

I would like to think that there is based on the concepts of Color Theory. In a nutshell, in painting, if you mix a vibrant color with a little bit of its complement you will subdue its affect in the composition to create a more harmonious piece. The same is true in photography.

When I tone an image I like to look at the image and see what the predominant color is. I then apply colors with Curves Adjustments that are opposite of the predominant color on the Color Wheel.

The image below is predominantly Blue.  I would look at the color wheel and see what this color blue’s complement is.  I would use either Yellows or Oranges to boost the tone in the photograph.

The Perfect Custom Preset with Topaz ReStyleWith Topaz ReStyle and a couple of Photoshop tricks, we can use this principle to make compelling compositions.

***Be sure to download the action as well as view the video tutorial***

The Steps to Creating Beautifully Toned Images in Topaz ReStyle

  1.  Bring the photograph you would like to tone into Photoshop. Go to Image > Mode > 8BitChannel  (the Filter Gallery will only work on 8 Bit images).
  2. Duplicate the layer by pressing CTRL+J (CMD+J on Mac)
  3. Start by super saturating the duplicated image layer. I normally would not suggest this, but it is helpful for ReStyle to pull colors from the Super Saturated example. To do this press CTRL+U (CMD+U on Mac) and increase the saturation to +100 and press okayThe Perfect Custom Preset with Topaz ReStyle
  4. With the image super saturated, go to Filter > Filter Gallery and choose Cutout. In the Cutout settings use the following options:
    • Number of Levels: 4
    • Edge Simplicity: 10
    • Edge Fidelity: 1
    • Press Okay
    • You should be left with a really blocky pattern for an image.The Perfect Custom Preset with Topaz ReStyle
  5. To find the complement of these colors all we have to do is press CTRL+I (CMD+I Mac). This will invert all of the colors in the block pattern to their complement. The Perfect Custom Preset with Topaz ReStyle
  6. This is the photo we will use to create our Preset in Topaz ReStyle.
  7. Open ReStyle and press the Reset button in the lower right corner to clear any past tones from our preset image.
  8. Next click the ( + ) button in the lower left corner to prompt the preset creation.
  9. Give the Preset a Name, I chose TOPAZ RESTYLE DEMO for this preset. Give your preset a name you will remember.
  10. I highly suggest creating your own Collection for these presets to make them easier to find. For this demo I created a new collection folder and called it TOPAZ RESTYLE DEMO. Most of my presets go in my collection titled “Blakes”
  11. When you press OK in the Save Preset Prompt, ReStyle will begin to build the Preset.The Perfect Custom Preset with Topaz ReStyle
  12. When the status bar has finished press OK to exit ReStyle
  13. You may now delete that duplicated blocky layer. We only needed it to obtain the colors for ReStyle.
  14. Click on the original photograph in the layers palette (or a duplicated version of it for non-destructive purposes).
  15. Open the photo in ReStyle.
  16. Navigate to the new Collection, in this case that collection is TOPAZ RESTYLE DEMO. Notice our new Preset is now there with the colors from our test subject!
  17. Apply the preset to our image.The Perfect Custom Preset with Topaz ReStyle
  18. The photo may look hideous like it does in the screenshot above. Do not be alarmed! Remember, we just want to add a little bit of the complement.
  19. I always suggest going up to Opacity and changing it to anywhere between 30 and 50%The Perfect Custom Preset with Topaz ReStyle
  20. I would also like to encourage you to experiment with the Blending Options. Try applying Soft Light for a nice effect. Also, experiment with the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness adjustments to tweak the colors to perfection!Steps 1-5 are all taken care of for you in the Action that you can download here.  Simply press play to obtain your base image before creating the Preset in ReStyle.  If you are more of a visual person or want some more tips and tricks using this technique, you may watch the video below.

Steps 1-5 are all taken care of for you in the Action that you can download here or in the resources to the right.  Simply press play to obtain your base image before creating the Preset in ReStyle.  If you are more of a visual person or want some more tips and tricks using this technique, you may watch the video shown at the top.


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