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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
Alright! If you look at the final version of the composition Martini Hour banner.psd, you'll see that the stars are interacting with the martini glasses behind them which really doesn't make that much sense because logically the martini glasses are sitting here floating around space in the foreground, and the stars are several zillion miles in the background. However, thanks to the power of Blend Modes inside of Photoshop. You maybe able to stack your layers in just about any order you want and still achieve the same effects. Let's switch to our image in progress. It's called Full of stars.psd found inside the 10_layers folder.
What I need to do is I need to drop away the blacks and keep the whites so that I keep the stars and the black just goes away, and reveals the darkness of the background because it is dark. So what I need to do, I'll go ahead and press F7 and bring up the Layers panel. For the moment, I am going to turn off the Noise and Starmaker layers. What I need to do is be able to see through the white of the stars, because I want to see the stars everywhere, and drop out the blacks so that we reveal the light details of the martini glasses as well as the black background.
So let's go ahead and turn these guys back on. Click on Noise to make it active. So just as we were able to drop out the whites of the glasses for example, and keep the dark choosing the Multiply Blend Mode, we'll do the opposite. We'll drop out the blacks and keep the bright stuff by switching to Multiply's opposite which is Screen. That gives us this awful effect right here. What in the world has gone wrong? I mean, the stars look okay against the background but the martini glasses have become garishly saturated and quite jagged as well.
That's a function of the Starmaker layer right there. Recall that we have turned Use Legacy on which turns brightness contrast into its battled self. That serves the stars quite well but it doesn't do us any good for the martini glasses. If I were to turn it off, the stars look gummy and awful now but the martini glasses look good. So what in the world are we to do? Well, what we need is an adjustment layer that doesn't affect all the layers below it but rather affects just the one Noise layer and that's it. You can achieve that effect using what's called a Clipping Mask.
So I am going to turn on Starmaker once again, make sure it's active. I am going to clip it to the Noise layer below it by going up to the Layer menu and choosing Create Clipping Mask or pressing Ctrl+Alt+G or Command+Option+G if that keyboard shortcut isn't already servicing Google or something like that. Notice, when you choose that command, everything gets better inside the image. But also you'll see the layer indent and it'll have a little arrow in front of it, showing you that it's servicing the Noise layer only. Then, if you click on noise, what Photoshop does is it takes noise and Starmaker together and blends them with the layers below.
So use Clipping Masks in order to assign an adjustment layer to just the layer below it and nothing more. Another way to assign layers to a Clipping Mask is to Alt+Click or Option+Click on the horizontal line between them. So when I Alt+Click or Option+Click the first time, I am releasing the Starmaker layer from the clipping mask. Then, if I Alt+Click or Option+Click again, I am once again clipping it. Now, at this point I am looking at this composition. I am thinking, I don't really want these colored glasses. I liked them before, but now they seem out of place.
Now, I think I want a more monochromatic composition. Well, one thing I could do is be really tidy. I could click on colors and I could press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac and just get rid of it so that I never have to see it again. But, if you do that, it's gone for good. Especially, if I now choose the Save command and then quit the program then, that color layer has gone forever more. That is rarely something you want to do. My advice is when in doubt, undo, don't delete, and turn off the layer.
Just go ahead and turn off its eyeball and leave it sitting there exactly where you had it before in the layer stack. This tends to be the way people work, because you learn your lesson overtime, that being overly tidy inside of Photoshop just doesn't do anybody any good, especially you. So if you take a look at working artist compositions, you'll see that they have 30 or 50 or 100 or 200 layers fully half of which maybe turned off at any given time just because it's better to have them, sitting there cluttering up the layers panel than losing them.
So only delete if you know that you really want something to go away, because at this point for example I could click on colors, I could turn it back on, and I could say you know what? I'll press the 2 key to reduce the Opacity to 20%. That looks pretty good, or then five minutes later I could say, no it doesn't, and I could turn it off again. So I have all the flexibility in the world. Anyway, this is where I am going to leave it off. We have now successfully blended Noise and Starmaker with the stuff before it. In the next exercise, I am going to show you new ways to introduce a different image into this composition.
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