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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
In order to really get a handle on how these Blending modes work, let's take a look at a couple of demo files which will really help us deconstruct the different Blending modes. All right, well the first thing that I want to look at is a Gradient, and I've created this Gradient and kind of chopped it up, so that we can really define the different areas here. You'll notice it goes from 0% all the way to 100%, and then right in the middle is middle gray, right at 50%. Well, what would happen if I were to apply a Blending mode to this particular gradient, let's say, for example, the Darken Blend mode? Well, interesting, what happens here is it just focuses on the darker side.
For that matter, the white isn't even affected at all. It's completely dropped out of the equation. Well, if you had to guess, what do you think would happen with Lighten? If we go ahead and apply a Lighten Blend mode, it's going to be the exact opposite, again, brightening the right-hand side over there, not even affecting the Blacks at all. Well, if we move down to one of these Contrast Blend modes, say, for example, like Soft Light, we're going to see it's going to make the Blacks blacker, the Whites whiter, and not affect the middle here at all, interesting! So we're starting to discover that these different Blend modes affect different areas of the image.
In other words, the Darken, what it does is it bulks up the Blacks, and it really looks at those darker pixels. The Lighten, or the Screen, what it's doing is it's brightening things up. Sometimes you can think of Screen as if you're projecting two images on the same screen, giving you two times the intensity of the Brightness of that image. And then down here, Soft Light, that's really where we focus in on Contrast. Well, let's take a look at a different Gradient and apply the same thing. Again, let's start off with Darken. In comparison, if we move down to Lighten, that will affect the right side of the histogram over there, and then Soft Light, we can see darker pixels over here, brighter over here, in the middle, nothing at all.
Okay, well, let's take a look at yet a different type of a Blending mode. In this case, what I want to do is I want to take a look at what's called the Exclusion Blend mode. And what that allows us to do is to do a comparison, or a particular type of an effect. Here you can see that this image is overlapping the other one. And when I use this Exclusion effect, I can then hover over the image, and it can help me find my edges. Even more, I can actually use this Difference effect. Difference is incredibly helpful for alignment. As I move these two images close together, and I'll do so, say with my arrow keys, you can see it's becoming more and more aligned, and once it's perfectly aligned, everything goes black.
Now this particular Blend mode here, Difference or Exclusion, they can be really helpful if we need to compare something, or if we need to align something for compositing purposes, or for that matter, if we simply want to come up with some kind of a creative effect, or some kind of look, or color effect. All right. Well, let's keep moving here. What about some of these Color Blend modes, for example, the Color Blend mode itself? Well, in this case, I have a red square. If I change that to the Color Blend mode, what we're going to see here is that we can now see through this red square.
We can see detail underneath this. Father than simply having it be a block of red sitting on top of the image, that Color Blend mode, again, allows us to see through and to pick out texture in some pretty interesting ways. The last Blend mode that I want to look at is called Luminosity, and Luminosity is actually quite fascinating. What it allows us to do is to take a layer like this where I have these different colors and then these different little color swatches. We can then change this. We can remove the color and just look at the Luminance value of this layer.
In other words, it's taking color out of the equation completely. Now this Blend mode can be really helpful, say, when sharpening. We can sharpen a new layer, and sometimes when you sharpen you exaggerate color Noise. So rather than having that artifact being introduced into the sharpening, you simply need to change your Blend mode to Luminosity, so it's just looking at the Luminance value of that layer, so it's not exaggerating that Noise. And again, we'll talk more about that later. But what you're starting to see here, as we make our way through this, is that we have different ways to access our Blending modes, whether in layers or with our brushes, or cloning, or healing.
And really we have these different groups, where Darken is focusing in on that left side of the grayscale, Lighten, the right side, Contrast, that's going to boost overall Contrast and Color Saturation. Then we have a couple of Blending modes, which are really helpful, either for special effect, or to create comparison, or for alignment purposes. And then finally, we have this group which allows us to have some controls in order to do some interesting things with Color.
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