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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
Now that we have talked quite a bit about blending modes, let's take what we have learned and put it to practice or at least in a couple of little ways. We are going to work on these files Brighton Pavilion and No Parking. So go ahead and click on the top one and then hold down the Command key on the Mac and Ctrl key on the PC, click on the other image and then right-click or Ctrl-click and choose Open, this will then open both images in Photoshop. Now what do I want to do here is actually change the arrangement. So we are going to navigate up to this icon here that allows us to arrange our documents in a number of different ways. I'm just going to go to this Grid view, so I'll have these both side by side and there are out of the tabs.
Next I'm interested in grabbing this image here so I'll go ahead and click in that image and then with the Move tool selected click and drag, hold down the Shift key and let go, it will then bring that image into this other files; press F to go to Full Screen View mode, Spacebar to reposition and then let's click and drag the reposition that photograph right there. Okay well that looks good and let's start to talk about blend modes. Then I go ahead and name this layer uk, so I'll double-click the layer and name it uk. I'm then going to duplicate this layer and I want to do this by way of shortcut. Now the easiest way to do this is to press Command+J on the Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC and now we have this copy layer above.
Let's take a look at a couple of our different blending modes; if I take this to Multiply, the image is going to become much darker. That blend mode is really helpful if you have an image that's overexposed and you need to lower the exposure really helpful. Now on the other hand we have this blend mode of Screen, that's going to brighten up the image. If your image is under exposed, that Screen blend mode can just give it a little bit of snap, give it that push to bring it up. All right all those blending modes aren't really interesting to me but the one that actually is there is the Soft Light blend mode. Fascinate. Let's look at our before and after. Again what this is doing for us is that it's increasing the color saturation and the overall contrast. All right well now that we started to see how these different blend modes work, let's go ahead and trash this layer. We are going to do that by clicking and dragging it to the trashcan icon or by right-clicking and choosing Delete Layer. And then we will click Yes to delete that layer.
All right well now that we have this layer above the background layer what I actually want to do is create kind of a composite here. I want to blend both of these together. I want to try a couple of different blend modes. So I'll go ahead and try my mode by blend mode, okay. Well that's kind of interesting except the image is too dark. I'll try my Screen blend mode again kind of interesting but my image is too light. The blend mode that's going to work for me best is that Soft Light because it's going to give me nice contrast, nice color, let's look at it before and after and really nice blending. Yeah one of the things that I notice is I wish I had a little bit different affect on the Pavilion here on this castle like building so I'm going to create or add an adjustment layer so I'll click Adjustments panel to open that up and click on the Curves option. What am I going to do here is just brighten up this image and then darken it down just a bit and then go to my Red channel. With the Red Channel visible, I'm going to go ahead and increase the amount of reds with this one. Go to the Blue or Yellow Channel and then bring in some yellow as well.
Okay well so far it's so good, let's double-click the Adjustments tab to close that and look at what we have done. Here's our before and then after. Again affecting the overall color of the image. All right well let's take this even further. Let's say that rather than having this Curves Adjustment affect everything, I just want it to affect the image underneath it. All what you do is you hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC then hover between these two layers and then click when you see that new cursor, two circles with the overlap. Now this Curves Adjustment is just affecting the layer immediately underneath it, which is this layer which happens to be blended into this layer. So now we have this interesting relationship going on. I can then control this layer, I'll double-click the Curves Adjustment and I'll go to my Blue channel and here we consider that I'm making it much more blue. I'll go ahead and take that back.
I'll go to the RGB composite and take these points out for a moment so we can see how I can bring those up or I can darken them down, have a little bit more contrast and edginess to it. All right well let's close the Adjustments panel and then look at before and after. Now one of the things that's kind of interesting as while this is just affecting the layer underneath it. It is in turn affecting this layer because this layer has a blend mode. Well let's turn this adjustment off and take a look at another type of adjustment and this time let's click on the layer here and go back to our Adjustments and choose Hue Saturation and then De-saturate and go back to the Adjustments panel and take a look at what's happening.
Well because they already had a Layer Clipping Mask or a Clipping Group here. I was able to create a new Adjustment layer and it became part of that, it knew that this needed to only affect the underlying layer. So here I can remove the color from this layer and then blend this onto the underlying layer. Now what's the point of all the stuff that I'm talking about here, well a couple of things? Let's go ahead and go back to this uk layer, take this to a blend mode of Normal for a second. Well one of the things that I want you to get to begin to think about is that many times the best results in Photoshop end up being a combination of different techniques. Now that's not always true but it's helpful to at least know how we can modify things. So in this case I de-saturated this image and then after de-saturating it, I take it to the blend mode of Soft Light.
Now was that adjustment actually good. Well in my opinion, not really. I liked some of that color coming through. It made it a little bit more interesting. So in my case I'm going to turn that adjustment off. I'll go to the top most adjustment and turn that one on. Do I like that one? Well yes. But it's a little bit too intense for me. You will click in that layer and then lower the Opacity. Now the nice thing about using Adjustment layers is that it's nondestructive. I haven't affected any pixels, I'm simply able to create an adjustment and then target that adjustment to a specific layer. Finally let's go ahead and turn this off altogether. Let's say you don't want to make Curves Adjustments, you don't care about Curves Adjustments, you don't' care about Layer Clipping Groups. Well one thing I do think that you need to start caring about is how you can use these different blend modes in order to come up with some really creative results.
Now in order to be able to take advantage of the different blend modes, it's helpful to know a handful of different shortcuts in order to access these different blend modes and we will talk about those in the next movie. So keep this file open because we will be working on this file and again talking about the shortcuts that we can use to access the blending modes in the next one.
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