Aperture vs Lightroom: Split Toning

Aperture vs Lightroom: Split Toning with Lightroom & Aperture

One of the most common issues I hear about when discussing Aperture vs Lightroom has to do with developing photographs. We addressed that in the general sense with a previous post about using multiple selective adjustments with Aperture. Today, we’re going to take a look at a specific feature of Lightroom’s Develop module and demonstrate how to achieve the same result using Aperture’s tools.

Lightroom Split Toning

Aperture vs LightroomLightroom offers a useful tool for Split Toning an image. As you can see, there are two major sections for Highlights and Shadows.  Each of those sections includes a Hue and Saturation. Between them is a slider to adjust the balance between Highlights and Shadows.

To make a Split Tone image, start by reducing the overall Saturation of the image until it’s black & white. Next, you can choose the Hue you prefer for Highlights and another one for Shadows. Think of the Saturation slider as a volume control. You can make the Hue as subtle or punchy as you like.

Another option for selecting the Hue is to click on the small color rectangle above the Hue slider. Lightroom produces a larger color block for you to use, and also has some default color options as a place to start.

Aperture Split Toning

Aperture vs LightroomThe key to Split Toning with Aperture is to use multiple Enhance blocks. As with Lightroom, drag the Saturation slider to the left in order to create a black & white image.

By default, the Tint wheels aren’t displayed. These are the tools you need to use in order to replicate the same style of Split Toning that we see in Lightroom. All you have to do is click the triangle next to the word Tint to reveal them.

We’re going to need at least one more Enhance brick to make this work. The first one only needs to remove all of the Saturation. Then click the gear icon in the upper right corner. From the flyout menu, select the option to Add new Enhance adjustment. When that appears, click the triangle by Tint to reveal the color wheels.

Instead of Highlights and Shadows, you have Black, Gray and White controls.  The Black & Gray wheels are most compatible with  the Hue sliders of Lightroom’s Highlights and Shadows. The White color wheel has a very subtle effect. You can use it or ignore it, depending upon your own preference.

There is only one Saturation slider per brick.  If you want your Saturation spread evenly between the two, then you can adjust the Black & Grey on this second Enhance brick. If you prefer to have a separate Saturation adjustment for each color wheel – no problem.  Simply add a third Enhance Brick.  Adjust the Blacks & Saturation on one, and the Gray & Saturation on the third.  If you’re really picky, you could add yet another Enhance Brick to do the same with the White color wheel.

Aperture vs Lightroom: Split Toning Differences

The only feature in Lightroom Split Toning that’s missing here is the Balance slider.  You can achieve the same result using Aperture Enhance bricks, but it takes a bit more dabbling with the Saturation sliders to do it.

The Split Toning feature in Lightroom is global, meaning it affects the entire image. By default, so does the Aperture Enhance brick. If you want to apply Split Toning selectively, you can click the gear icon on the Enhance brick to brush the adjustment in or out of the image. If you really want to get some funky images, you could create multiple color tones with additional Enhance bricks and paint them in where you want. It gives Aperture a great deal of control over your color toning.

A feature I like in Lightroom’s Split Toning panel is the ability to enter a numeric value for the Hue & Saturation you desire. If you need to select a precise value, that’s the best way to do it. Aperture’s tint wheels only work with the eyedropper or by manually sliding the color wheel. The only way to get a price value is to have a known color you select using the eyedropper.

Aperture vs Lightroom: Split Tone Examples

I decided to see if I could reproduce the same kind of Split Tone image in both programs for an Aperture vs Lightroom comparison. Click on the examples below to see a larger view.

Lightroom Split Tone Example

Aperture vs Lightroom

Aperture Split Tone Example

Aperture vs Lightroom

As always, thanks for visiting the Aperture vs Lightroom blog.


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