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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right gang, in this exercise we are going to merge these various bicyclist using masking and we are going to be taking advantage of the Difference blend mode here inside Photoshop. It's going to help us terrifically. Now I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Stunt cyclist layers.psd found inside the auto_align folder and we have got these various bicyclists as you may recall and I want to go ahead and keep the bicyclist so we see the motion of him jumping across this chasm right here. And I want the Background to move as little as possible.
All right, so there is not really anyway to do that with just a regular blend mode. If we had shot this guy against the white background, then we could just take one of the cyclists and multiply it into place against another, like so. However, we have got all this blue in the sky and so that's making a mess of things and we are darkening this guy incrementally and if we go and add another stunt cyclist, oh! My goodness we are really in bad shape and so on. So we have really darkened things quite a bit. Now you might say, well hey, what about if we drop out the blue using that Luminance blending that you taught us Deke and you could try. I'll go to Stunt cyclist-3 right there, with the blend mode set to Multiply, double-click on an empty region out there and then I would go ahead and let's change the Blend If option to Blue.
So we are just taking into account the luminance levels as they exist in the Blue channel and then I'll go ahead and back off the Blue in This Layer slider. So I took that white triangle down to 113. So anything with a Luminance level of 113 or brighter is not turning transparent and then I could create some softness by Alt+Dragging or Option+Dragging the triangle apart. Now right about there, I'm not seeing too much darkening sky. Actually, I'm still getting some sky darkening, but not too much and we get some nice transitions but we are loosing the flesh tones and it's definitely a kind of weird posterized effect at this point.
So it's not what I'm looking for. Here is another thing you can do, just so that we are exhausting all of our non- masking options. I'm going to switch back to the Normal blend mode by pressing Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N on the Mac. Let's say that we are interested in changing the Opacity of these layers. So that we have an equal mix of every one of the bicyclists. Well, what you would do is you would start with your second to bottommost layer. So leave your bottommost layer set to 100%. Then select your next layer up and change it to 50%, which gives you a 50-50 mix of these two layers and then when you add Stunt cyclist-2 into the mix, you now have three layers, so you need to change it to 33% so that it becomes 33% of the mix. The other two are 66% of the mix and because they are 50-50, they are each 33 as well.
Do you get the logic? Then you turn on Stunt cyclist-1 up here at the top, he is now a quarter of the mix, change him to 25%. So it's 25%+33%+50%+100% and if you added another guy on top of that, he would be one-fifth. So 20%, another guy on top of that would be one-sixth, which is roughly 17% and so on. So that's how you get a nice even mix of all your cyclists if you want. I don't want that, I don't think that looks good. But I just want you to know, this is in an especially useful technique by the way, if you are trying to merge, let's say frames from a video and you are trying to get rid of interlacing or you are just trying to get rid of noise or a film grain or something along those lines and you have multiple shots of the exact same thing, then you can mix them together using this technique right there.
Anyway, now what I want, so I'm going to press the F12 key in order to revert back to the original image, as I say what we want is to be able to find the differences between our images, for example, I might go ahead and select Stunt cyclist-3 here and I'll change it from the Normal mode to the Difference mode and we'll get this effect right here. Now that's a terrible effect, it's great however, for figuring out what my mask should look like and we'll explore that in more detail in the next exercise.
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