I wanted to create this little introduction to a Photoshop plug-in called Powertone. Powertone allows you to take a full-colour image and covert it to just 2 colours, but with far more sophisticated results than Photoshop’s “Duotone” function.
Let me show you. Here’s the original comic:
It’s not as if that Duotone look isn’t nice, but you’ll tend to get a very flat, muddy colour. The two colours I chose in both above cases were “orange” and “teal” and though it does its widdle best, Duotone really just mashes them together and says “there” before rushing out to play with half its toast still hanging out of its mouth. And that’s after I tried tweaking the colour to get the best result with the nicest contrast. A pro can almost certainly achieve something better but I cannot.
Powertone on the other hand leaves you with a bright, rich colour. You can actually see both orange and teal. It pops. It looks lovely. It doesn’t necessarilly look like there’s been any reduction in colour at all.
But that’s with a flat-coloured digital comic with only a few colours anyway. Here’s the effect with real medium full of different tones. On the left is the Powertone’d image, the right is Duotone.
As before, I think the Duotone is quite nice, but once again, it’s a muddy, flat colour. The Powertone has preserved the distinct qualities of the two colours I chose (orange and teal again) and the final result is just undeniably lovely.
Powertone - yeah!
The terrible pity is that this plug-in is long dead, and even very thorough searches on the internet will only find you many forum posts of people lamenting its absence. Any supposed copies I found were just trojans and viruses.
But in the end, I managed to find a copy snuggled in amongst a collection of a hundred or so old Photoshop plug-ins. Scanned by Avast and Ad-Aware (I think it’s safe), I am saving you the trouble I went through.
I had no trouble using Powertone with Photoshop CS3 so hopefully you’ll be okay too. I’ll give you a brief introduction to using it. It’s unbelievably simple. I don’t know all the ins and outs of it yet, but this is what I can do. You’ll have to install Powertone first in whatever way you typically install plug-ins.
Open up the image you want, go into File -> Export -> Powertone.
That will open up the plug-in, like so:
You can see your original image and a quick preview of what the two colours you’ve chosen will look like. There are a few standards in Set that you can choose from, or you can make your own colours and combination. That’s what I’m gonna do!
So double-click on the big splotch of red and you’ll get the colour chooser thing:
Whee, huh? There are lots of ways to pick a colour, I’ll let you do that on your own. So pick a colour and click OK, and repeat the process for the second colour if you like.
Now you’ll get a kinda accurate preview, but you’ll want to click on Spectras… now to set the balance of these colours properly.
I’m sure you can do all sorts of complicated things here if you wanted. I don’t! I just click AutoWave which balances the colours for you, and then Apply.
Then back on the generator screen again, you can just click Save… and, well, you know, your Powertone files will be saved! You’ll have two files with extensions .1 and .2 and another .eps. To view your image, you can open up the .eps again and see what beautiful monster you’ve created.
Nice! Thanks, Powertone!