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Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.
Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
Photoshop gives you shortcuts for changing the Opacity value, shortcuts for changing the Fill value, so it's no surprise that you have keyboard shortcuts for changing the blend modes as well. In fact, altogether you have almost 30 different keyboard shortcuts to choose from. I'm going to tell you about every single one of those shortcuts inside of this exercise, and you can decide which ones you want to memorize, which ones you want to give the slip, and so on. I have currently selected the Statue layer inside of the Sky & statue.psd image, that's found inside the 15 Blend Modes folder, and that layer is set to the Normal blend mode. Now notice I can press Shift+Plus in order to switch to the next blend mode in the list, so Shift+Plus takes me to Dissolve, then Shift+Plus takes me to Darken, and then to Multiply, and then to Color Burn, and then to Linear Burn, and then Lighten, and Screen and so on. You don't know what a lot of these modes do yet, but I'm going to tell you starting in the next exercise.
But for now, just note that you can change those shortcuts by pressing Shift+Plus. You can also switch back, you can cycle back through the pop-up menu by pressing Shift+Minus. So that'll take you to Lighten, then Linear Burn, Color Burn, Multiply, Darken, Dissolve, and Normal. If you keep pressing Shift+Minus of course. Now the problem with working this way is that every single time you press Shift+Plus or Shift+Minus it gets recorded as an independent history state. So now if I go to the History palette, which I can do by clicking on this icon here or choosing the History command from the Window menu, notice that I have a ton of states that are called Blending Change, and that just shows me that I changed blend modes inside of my image. Now if I press Shift+Plus or Shift+Minus too many times, then I would roll off some of my previous states- which I have actually- making them unavailable to me. So you might not want to work this way.
It's great for just cycling between modes when you're not sure what they're going to do to your image, but if you have a sense of where you want to go, you're better off switching to that mode either manually or by switching to a very specific mode using a shortcut. Let me show you how those shortcuts work. I'm going to press Ctrl+Tab to switch to a different image than I have open here, and it's called Blend mode keys.psd, and it lists all the blend modes that are available inside the Layers palette, as well as the keyboard shortcut, which is Shift+Alt, along with a letter key. On the Macintosh side you press Shift+Option along with a letter key. This of course assumes that you have any of the tools selected except for the painting and editing tools in the midsection of the toolbox here.
So Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N gets you Normal. Shift+Alt+I gets you Dissolve. We have K for Darken, and so on, you can read down this list here. Now sometimes the keyboard shortcuts make sense, like M for Multiply, so I don't provide any additional information inside of my chart here. But B for Color Burn might be little bit of a stretch, which is why I show you a little bit of the rationale. It's B for Burn or A for the A inside Linear with Linear Burn. G inside Lighten, and so on. Sometimes it's a big stretch. For example it's W for the Linear Dodge mode. That doesn't have a W inside any portion of the blend mode name.
Well you can think of it as being an upside down M, because M is assigned to the primary darkening mode, which is Multiply, and Linear Dodge is the ultimate lightening mode, so it's an upside down M for W. Or you can just think of it as being 'Way Light.' F for Soft Light and so on. We have J for Linear Light, which is really odd, but J is a backward L, and there's a couple of Ls inside Linear Light, so you might remember it that way. Pin Light we have Z because it zeroes out the midtones. Hard Mix we have L, which is really weird because Linear Light and Luminosity have Ls inside of them, but instead L goes to Hard Mix. Well, it's the least of them all, as it turns out. It's probably the last blend mode you'd want to select, and so on going down the list. Now there's no reason to memorize every single one of these, and to this day I've never really gotten around to memorizing all of them, I must say. I just keep track of the most important ones, which I've gone ahead and circled in blue. So N for normal is very handy, and M for Multiply because Multiply is a great mode as we'll see. S for Screen is a really good one to memorize. O for Overlay, H for Hard Light, E for Difference, because Difference is the kind of mode you might want to come back to on a regular basis, C for color, and then Y being the last letter in Luminosity. Finally, in case you're noticing that a few of the letters are going unused, three letters in all, that's because those are the brush-only modes.
In other words, they only appear if you select the Paintbrush. And then you'll see them here inside of the Mode pop-up menu. They do show up elsewhere inside the program, it's just that they're not available from the keyboard except when using one of the painting or editing tools. So notice now that we have this new Behind mode, as well as Clear, and we also have this Airbrush option right here. Now those are available to us by pressing the P, Q, and R keys. All right in a row there, that's how you can keep track of those, if you're so inclined. So P gets the Airbrush, and that's because it's pushing out the paint when you're holding down the mouse button. Airbrush mode pushes that paint out. Q is just the letter after P. I don't know anything else to tell you there, but it does get you the Behind mode, and I'll show you that later when we talk about the brush-only modes. And R gets you the Clear mode.
So notice right here it's telling you at the bottom, these guys are the ones that are worth memorizing. I don't think any of these are particularly worth memorizing as it turns out. So those are all the modes that you have available to you, just remember that you've got Shift+Alt on the PC side or Shift+Option on a Mac, along with these keys that you can memorize or not, totally up to you. In the next exercise we're going to check out how the individual blend modes work starting with the darkening modes.
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