Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

With the help of Phantasm CS, you can apply a Duotone Effect or Filter to both vector artwork and embedded images directly in Adobe Illustrator. It is the equivalent function of Photoshop's Duotone tool, even with the ability to directly exchange settings.

We will look how to apply this effect to your vector artwork in this article.

Introduction

The Duotone effect is the reproduction of an image by overlapping a contrasting color — usually black — over another color which represents a halftone (as in shades of a ink). Most often, this effect is used to better reproduce medium and bright shades of monochrome images, where it is not possible to convey all the shades when printing with black ink only. For the color of the halftones, blue, yellow, brown and red colors are often used. The use of warm colors (yellow, brown, red) is called Sepia toning. To reproduce monochrome image, you can use 3 "Tritone" and 4 "Quadtone" colors. Duotone is often used in printing, design and advertising.

Note: the Phantasm CS Duotone Effect and Filter tools allow for genuine ink-based duotone results where each color tone used may be a process or spot ink which then separates correctly for printing. However, it is also possible to mix spot and process, or exclusively use CMYK process colors for each color tone.

Step 1

For applying the Duotone Effect I will be using my vector artwork "Happy Drummer".

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Set CMYK color mode for the proper color reproduction (File > Document Color Mode > CMYK color) and Overprint Preview (View > Overprint Preview).

Step 2

Select all the elements of the image, group them up (Cmd / Ctrl + G). Now go to Effect > Phantasm CS > Duotone….

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

If you apply the Duotone Effect to ungroupped objects, the colors will overlap.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

In this case tick "Create Undercoat" in the dialog window of Phantasm CS Duotone.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

You can apply Phantasm CS Duotone Effect to individual layers of your image. If you apply the effect to a layer, then there is no need to group up the objects to avoid color overlapping. Another benefit of applying the Duotone to a targeted layer is that adding or deleting objects in that layer automatically translates into the final duotone effect.

Step 3

If your vector artwork has blend objects containing opacity, after applying the Phantasm CS Duotone Effect, these objects may lose halftone tints.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Unfortunately, this happens with such blend objects after applying any Live Effect in Adobe Illustrator. One way around this would be to apply a Phantasm CS Duotone Filter (Filters > Phantasm CS > Duotone… for Illustrator CS3, or Object > Filters > Phantasm CS > Duotone… for Illustrator CS4 and above). But be aware that Filters are permenant changes and not live like Effects.

For more details about the differences between Filters and live Effects, please refer to this movie: www.astutegraphics.com/products/phantasm/movies.html#filters-effects

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

If you need live effect for a quick reconfiguration, you should transform blend objects into a group of regular vector objects (Object > Blend > Expand).

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Step 4

You can use process or spot colors as Duotone colors. Click on a Color Tone row's color square to specify a new local process color or click on Color Swatches in the color picker to select a pre-defined color swatch.

If printing commercially, remember that specifying additional spot colors will add cost!

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

I chose black color for the first contrast color.

Step 5

The Curve Graph in the Phantasm CS Duotone dialog window is used for fine adjustment of the tones of each color for the artwork. By default, it represents an inclining straight line. To create new points, simply click on the graph at the right spots. Create the three points A, B and C, as it is shown in the picture below.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Point A corresponds to the highlights, point B corresponds to halftones, and point C corresponds to shadows of the image. Changing the position of these points, you get control over all the tones of the image.

Note that unlike the Curves tool, a point can only be at fixed intervals along the horizontal axis of the graph (0%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 30% … 90%, 95% and 100%). This is to ensure settings exchange compatibility to Photoshop which employs this unique attribute to Duotones.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

To delete a point on the curve, select it and hit Delete or drag it off the graph area. The currently edited curve can be quickly flipped horizontally or vertically, or defaulted to one of the three common "curve" types via the five buttons to the right of the curve graph.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Step 6

Choose a brown color for the second color of the halftone.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Now controlling the curves, we achieve the desired result.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Experiment by using different color combinations and types of curves.

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

Duotone Effect for a Vector Image

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