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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 catch a glimpse of how Blending modes actually work, let's take a look at combining two images together. And along the way, let's pick up a few tips which will help us out with Blending modes. The two images that we'll be working on are no_parking.jpg and brighton.jpg. Go ahead and hold down the Command key if you're a Mac user, or Ctrl key if you're a PC user. Click on both images. Then on the Mac, Command+O; on a PC, Ctrl +O. Well, here you can see I have these two images now open.
I'm going to select the Move tool, and then go ahead and click and drag one image onto another. Here you can see in my Layers panel I now have this new pavilion image on top of this background no_parking photograph. Well, let's press F to go to Full Screen View mode. And then let's zoom in a little bit so we can really focus in on the task at hand. Well, one of the things that I want to do is I want to try to find a Blending mode that might work with these two images. So I'm going to position this image, so that it's covering the entirety of the background file.
Next, I'm going to go ahead and choose from my pulldown menu Blending mode. Let's say Multiply. Well, in this case, it's interesting but a little bit too dark. So next I might try something like Lighten or Screen, which would brighten something up. Again, here it's a little bit too bright. This would then leave me down the line, eventually, to finding Soft Light, which is going to give us some pretty interesting results. Now the fascinating thing about Soft Light is that photographers love this Blend mode because it works with Contrast and Color, and it really can help our images snap.
Now as we make our way through this dialog, you may be thinking there has to be a better way to find the Blend mode which will work best. Well, there is a great shortcut, and here it is. If you target a layer and if you the Move tool selected, what you can do is hold down the Shift key and then press Plus in order to scroll forward through these different Blending modes. And here you can see, I'm just holding down Shift and tapping the Plus key. This will make my way all the way around, so that I can go through these Blend modes. Press Shift+Minus, and you can go backwards through these different Blend modes.
And sometimes this can be a great way just to build up your familiarity with how these different Blend modes work, and sometimes it can help you find a Blend mode that you may have overlooked otherwise; for example, in this case, Hard Light. This looks really fascinating. Now the last thing that I want to point out here is that you can, of course, always lower your Opacity. And sometimes that's helpful when you're working on Blending, or what you can always do is you can select a Blend mode, say Soft Light, and then you can stack this up in order to duplicate, or double the intensity of it; for example, simply click and drag this layer to the New layer icon, and now we have double the intensity of that Soft Light Blend mode.
Here is before, and now here is after. It gives us a little bit more of an interesting definition. And now, for that matter, you can always choose different Blend modes as well; for example, I could choose Hard Light here, and now I have one layer on Soft Light, one on Hard Light. And it's these two layers together that are giving me this combination, which is somewhat interesting. Now keep in mind that the different combinations really are limitless. There's so many different ways that we can work with images in regards to blending. Yet the point here is to begin to get you to be a little bit excited about Blending modes, so that you can start to discover how these Blending modes can really help you out in regards to coming up with some interesting results.
Now you may be thinking, okay Chris, this is really cool, but I'm not necessarily into combining multiple images. Well, if you're not, it's no big deal. Let me show you why. For example, let's say we simply want to work on this background image. Well, what we could do is click and drag this to the New layer icon, so we have two versions of this image. Then we can try out some of our different Blend modes, for example, Multiply, or for that matter, Screen. We can make our way all the way through these different options. Let's go to Soft Light, and here on Soft Light, you can see it's boosting my Contrast and my Color Saturation.
Well, if that's too strong, no big deal. Simply lower the Opacity. And now here I have this really interesting, just nice, little, subtle image boost. As you can tell, we are barely just scratching the surface of the potential with these Blending modes. And if working with these Blending modes has sparked a little bit of interest in you, I definitely recommend that you check out some of my other training titles on creative color and creative effects, where we spend time really digging into how to work with Blending modes and how to use these in some really creative and functional ways.
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