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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'll show you a great way to create interaction between white text and the composition using Linear Dodge. We'll also correct the luminance levels for the entire composition, using Multiply. Notice here in the Layers panel that I have this layer called Text. It's actually a text layer that I converted to vector shapes. I'm going to go ahead and click on that layer to make it active. Now whenever you're working with white type, it really doesn't matter whether you have the Normal mode selected or one of the Lighten modes. Notice, if I switch from Normal to say Screen, the text looks exactly the same as it ever did, because you can't brighten beyond white inside of Photoshop.
So if it was already white in the first place, it's going to stay white, subject to any of the lighten modes. There is an exception however, if you work with the Fill Opacity value. So let's say I press the Escape key in order to deactivate the Blend Mode here on the PC, and then I press Shift+5 to reduce the Fill Opacity to 50%. Notice that I end up with translucent white text. And it looks no different by the way, if I were to switch back to the Normal mode, and the reason is because the Screen mode is not part of the Fill Opacity 8, it doesn't respond any differently to Fill Opacity than it does to Standard Opacity.
But it's not the case however, if you work with one of the Dodge modes. So if I switch for example to Color Dodge, I'm going to end up with an entirely different effect at this low opacity value, I'll get an even better effect, if I press the Escape once again to deactivate the Blend Mode and press Shift+Plus in order to switch to the Linear Dodge mode. And notice that we keep the whites in the bright areas of the background and we end up achieving other colors when the background gets dark, and that to my eye is exactly the kind of text transition I'm looking for.
Now the problem at this point compositionally anyway is that even though we started with some very, very dark images in the first place, we've applied so many helpings of the lighten blend modes that we are starting to lose our intense shadows. So I'm going to click on this hoody layer at the top of the stack, and then I'm going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click the Black & White icon at the bottom of the panel and choose Brightness/Contrast. Now I'm not going to modify the settings of this layer so I'll just call it dummy and click OK, and then I'll collapse the Adjustments panel, bring back the Layers panel, and I'm going to darken up the overall composition by pressing Shift+Alt+M or Shift+Option+M on the Mac to switch to the Multiply mode.
Now even though we're not clipping anything, because once again, Multiply cannot clip our shadows. I do feel like we've gone too far with the effect, so I'll press the 5 key in order to reduce the opacity value to 50%. And now if I turn the layer off, you can see how bright the composition was just a moment ago, turn it back on, and that brightness is settled down. So the moral of the story here is that you can use the when in doubt Darken mode Multiply, in order to correct for a blended bright image. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to use the Screen Mode to create a classic double exposure effect.
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