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In Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training, Ted LoCascio teaches casual photographers how to organize, edit, and share their digital image libraries using this powerful software package from Adobe. He tours the included Adobe Bridge application, used for importing and organizing photographs, and explores every feature of Elements itself. He demonstrates how to navigate the Elements workspace, which is used to correct and improve images, combine them into projects, and produce slideshows, photo books, web galleries, and more. Ted also explains how to get the most out of each editing mode, and shares tips for correcting, retouching, and sharpening photographs. Example files accompany the course.
With this movie I would like to show you how to reduce the opacity of a selected layer and see through it to the layers underneath. This common blending technique is often used in conjunction with layer blend modes. By selecting a layer and changing its blend mode the colors contain in the selected layer blend in with the colors contained in the underlying layers, resulting in a special effect. Different blend modes can create different types of effects. So I'm currently in the Bridge application and I'm viewing our exercise files folders. What I want to do is scroll down to the Working with Layers folder Chapter 9.
Double-click on that folder and we're going to open up this image here Enzo_beach_layers.psd. We will double- click that to open up this layered file. So we can see over here in our Layers palette, we have three layers: the background layer, there is a white border and a blue border. We can turn off the visibility for these layers and preview each one. There is the white border and there is, with none of these layers turned on, just the background. So let's go ahead and just turn on the blue border for now. The first thing I want to point out here at the top of the Layers palette we have off on the right an opacity setting. Notice that we have 100% currently chosen. So this is a purely opaque border. We're not seeing through it at all. We're seeing sold blue color covering up the imagery underneath it in the background layer.
So when we turn off that visibility, there is that imagery. There is the color covering it up, perfectly opaque. If we would like, we can lower the opacity using this slider. Clicking on that arrow we can lower the opacity by dragging the slider to the left. As we do we can start to see through to that background layer underneath. So we can control the opacity setting. It's great that we can do that. We can also use our scrubbies here by hovering over the word Opacity and dragging to the left or to the right, or you can highlight the value and type in a specific value, like say 57, something like that. Then pressing Return in order to apply it.
You can also control its opacity if you're not using a tool that has an opacity setting like this one does. Let's go ahead and choose the Move tool, which doesn't have an opacity setting, and type in a number like let's say 7. When I do that it automatically goes to 70%. 8 for 80%, 9 for 90% and you get the idea. That's another way that you control opacity settings using some keys on your keyboard quickly and easily. So that's the whole idea with opacity. We also have this menu to the left. It is your Blend Mode menu. If you click on the down facing arrow you can access the drop-down list here. You will see we have lots and lots of different blend modes.
The default is normal which has absolutely no blending effect whatsoever. But if you were to choose some of these other effects, let's go ahead and choose Multiply. That's a very common one. That means that the color in this layer that you're changing the blend mode for is going to interact with the colors in the underlying layers. That's what's happening, they are blending together. The way they blend together depends on which blend mode you select from the list. This group of blend modes in this section here between these two lines generally has a darkening effect, and Multiply is one of the most common. You usually see this used with things like drop shadows and things like that.
They're supposed to take on a natural darkening effect, a shadow like effect. That's what happening here with Multiply. Darken is a sort of a softer version of that. We can get more colored effects using things like Color Burn and Linear Burn and things like Darker Color; so all variances on a similar theme. In the next group you have these lightening effects, between these two lines. Screen is the most popular in here. That generally lightens the color in the image that you're changing the blend mode for, and have it interact with the colors underneath.
So a lighting effect, Lighten is a softer version of that. We have things like Color Dodge, Linear Dodge and Lighter Color. Now all of these things are going to look slightly different depending on what colors you're working with. Sometimes things like pure white and pure black have no effect at all depending on what you choose. That's why I'm not working with the white border. Instead, we're working with the blue border in the background. We also have this group in here. The Overlay group is what I call it, but these have much more exotic effects. Overlay is actually a very nice one. These are very saturated, most of these in here. We also have Soft Light and Hard Light.
Again, all different variations on a similar theme in this group. Vivid Light, Linear Light, Pin Light and Hard Mix. That one is very, very interesting one there, get sort of a posterized effect with that one which is actually cool. We also have Difference and Exclusion, which can give you sort of inverted type of effects. Then we have ones at the bottom, which aren't going to do too much for us here because we're working with solid colors. These come in handy when you're blending imagery together. Things like Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminosity.
These are all of your blend modes and they can all have different effects depending upon which one you choose. So if we were to choose something like Multiply in order to have a nice sort of transparent border effect, which I actually like, I think that's pretty cool. We can also still add an opacity setting to that and lighten the effect by dragging this to the left or entering a lower opacity setting. So those are all very, very cool effects that you can apply here using blending modes and opacity. Just to show you that you can also create some interesting effects with imagery and not just solid colors, I'm going to go ahead and duplicate this layer, the background layer. One easy way to do that is to use this keyboard shortcut. It's Command+J.
It now says background copy and it places it above the copied layer. So with this image now above the background I'm going to change its blend mode. Let's go ahead and choose Overlay. When I do that it's going to create an overly saturated effect. It's going to really saturate the colors in the image underneath. Now that's way too much. We obviously don't want to go this route. But if we lower the opacity of this setting, bring it down to say something like 20%, maybe even a little bit more, and then preview the Before and After by turning the visibility for the layer on and off. We can see how we've boosted the saturation in the colors.
It's very similar to working with the Saturation slider in the Quick Fix mode or with the Hue/Saturation dialog box controls and the slider in there for saturation. So that's a very interesting effect that you can do that here using layers, using blend modes and opacity. Lots of control here at your finger tips when you're working with these controls in the Layers palette. So what we learned here is that we can have our colors on different layers interact with each other differently by choosing different blend modes from the Blend Mode menu. Also, we can control the way that the imagery and the colors interacting with each other by lowering the opacity settings in here as well and create some really nice transitions.
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