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Advanced Blending is the second installment in Deke McClelland's series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course explores blending options and shows how to use them to create sophisticated effects and seamless compositions, often without masking. Beginning with the basics of blending layered images, the course sheds light on the formulas behind the Photoshop blend modes and shows how to comp scanned line art, create double-exposure effects, correct skin tones, and work with the luminance sliders.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to map our artistic surface texture onto an image. And let's go down here to the Black & White icon once again, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and go ahead and choose the Pattern command. In order to create a New Pattern Fill layer and we'll call this layer texture and then click OK. Now inside the Pattern Fill dialog box, you'll be able to select from just two patterns by default. Neither of which are all that useful, but there is a bunch of other patterns to choose from. To get to them click this right pointing arrow-head and then choose one of these libraries down here at the bottom of the fly-out menu.
I'm going to go with Artistic Surfaces, and then click on the Append button in order to load those up and keep the original two patterns. And I'm going to start with this pattern here, it's called Hard Charcoal light, and I'll click on it and then I'm going to change the Scale to 200% like so. Now all of these surface textures have a lot of gray in them and that gray is going to drop out if we change the blend mode assigned to this layer to one of the contrast modes such as Overly let's say. That's not really the effect I'm looking for, I wanted to look as if for face is actually sort of mapped into the texture, and so I'm going to press the Escape key in order to deactivate that blend mode and then just press Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N on the Mac in order to restore the normal mode.
And now let's go ahead and convert this texture to a smart object, so we can keep it around and modify it later if we want to. Click on the Layers panel fly-out menu and choose Convert to Smart Object command like so. Then let's turn this into a real texture by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Stylize and then choosing the Emboss command. For this sort of effect you can change the angle to anything you please, but I recommend you set the Height value to just 1 pixel and Amount of 100% is just fine, and then click OK.
And now we have something closely resembling a texture and it's got a lot of gray in it, which means we can dropout the gray and just keep the highlights and shadows by switching to one of the blend modes. Now I always recommend you start off with the Overlay mode, see what you think. If that's not quite enough, now you can switch to Hard Light, because you're working with two totally different images this time around, and you will create an enhanced effect, if that's still not enough, well then just go ahead and bump it up to Linear Light and see what happens.
Now of course this is too much of an effect, so I'm going to back it off by pressing Shift+5 to reduce the Fill opacity to 50%. Now at this point let's say, you're thinking, well, it's a pretty cool paper texture, makes the image look a little painterly or as if you've printed it on nice stock, what have you. However, this isn't quite the texture you're looking for. Well then, all you need to do to switch out to texture is double-click on the Smart Object thumbnail here inside the Layers panel. If you get the alert message, just click OK, that'll open the image and an independent window like so.
You'll end up with the Texture layer and then this empty Layer 1 below it, just go ahead and get rid of Layer 1 by clicking on it and pressing the Backspace or Delete key, and then double-click on that thumbnail to bring up the Pattern Fill dialog box. Let's go ahead and switch to a different pattern. The one I think works really well with this images is Coarse Weave, so I'll go ahead and click on it to select it, then you could if you wanted to, you could modify the scale value to make it bigger or smaller or what have you. However, this is going to work out fine, so I'll click OK and then just go ahead and close the image, and click Yes to save the image here on the PC.
You'd click the Save button on the Mac, and you change out that texture. So if I press Ctrl+Z or the Command+Z on the Mac, this is that original texture and then this is the new one. The new texture is over the top, it's just too big, so I'm going to press Shift+2 to reduce that Fill Opacity value to 20% and we end up with this nicely textured effect right here. And you know what, I think we're going to be able to see it better if I press the F key a couple of times to switch to the Full Screen mode, and that's how you map a surface texture onto an image, using a combination of the Emboss filter along with a Contrast mode.
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