Split Toning using ON1 Effects 10

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Have you noticed a trend going on over the past few years where more and more images are leaning towards that retro look? Whether it’s applying your favorite one-click preset phone or working on multiple layers to get that precise look, more and more photographers are going gaga over retro and it’s not hard to see why.

In ON1 Photo 10, it has never been easier to reproduce these vintage, toned styles using a filter in Effects 10 called Split Toning.


At its root, Split Toning allows you to tint the bright (Highlights) and dark (Shadows) areas of your image by selecting their respective colors. Experimentation is key and as you become more comfortable with how Split Toning affects the look of your images, the faster you’ll develop your own signature looks.

The Split Toning filter is very straightforward when you get used to it. Think of it as two identical tinting tools: one for the Highlights and one for the Shadows. And with ON1’s implementation of Split Toning, it’s easy to apply your tints. First, you have to select the color hue that you wish to use by clicking on the color swatch.


This brings up a color picker allowing you to choose a particular hue color (makes sense, right?) in either the Highlights or the Shadows, depending on which color swatch you clicked. Once you’ve selected your color, you can adjust the Amount slider to control the strength, or presence, of that color. A lower amount with add a subtle toning while a larger amount will add a more pronounced tint.

To pay homage to cyanotype, a legacy alternative film development technique, I’m going to start by applying a Split Tone to a Black and White image.

Standing Tall

To get an idea of how I want to tint my Highlights, I’ll select its color picker and choose a blue tint. Next, I’ll slowly drag the Amount slider until I reach an intensity that I am happy with.

Standing Tall SplitTone_06

Now it’s time to tint the shadows. I start by clicking on the swatch to the right of the Shadows header, which brings up the color picker. Next, I begin dragging the dropper around the color ramp until I find another blue tint that I like. Because this is an aquatic image, I opt to go with a cooler blue for the shadow tint.

Standing Tall SplitTone_08

Now while we’ve been talking about how Split Toning can be wonderful for Black and White images, it can also have quite an impact with color images. Take this portrait of my sister, Greta, for example.


I want to give this image a specific retro look, almost like it was faded or tinted over to time. I start by selecting a Highlight color somewhere between orange and yellow. I know that I want to complement that by using the opposing side of the color wheel and select a darker blue for the Shadows. The result is a beautiful tinted treatment that instantly boosts the look of the image.


Be sure to experiment with the multitude of color combinations across all of your images. If a result doesn’t float your boat on a landscape shot, try it on a portrait… or an urban scene. You get the picture.

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