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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.
Over the next couple of exercises we are going to take a look at one of the most common ways for designers in particular to use the Multiply Blend mode and that's to composite a piece of Scan Line Art against the photographic background. So image we have this client and this is the only version of the logo that they can provide us with, they've lost the digital original and this was the only thing they could find, this laser printed version of it that's got stuff scrawled on it and has been wadded up and so forth. And believe it or not this is a pretty common scenario, and we want to take the thing, clean it up, make it look absolutely beautiful, which we will.
And composite it against this awesome corporate photograph; and so the two really need to go together, that logo needs to look this good. And that is something that you can do in Photoshop. So the first step is to clean up the logo, and this is a necessary first step when you're working with any Scan Line Art regardless of its quality. The name of this file is Scanned logo.tif, it's found inside the 04_darken folder. And the first thing that we need to do is make the blacks as black as possible, and make the whites as white as possible. So go up to the Image menu, choose the Adjustments command, and choose Levels or press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac, and you may ask why we are applying a static color modification instead of an Adjustment layer, and the reason is we are working with pretty bad stuff in the first place, and an adjustment layer isn't going to do us any good in the long run.
All right, so notice these big humps in the histogram, those represent the colors that ought to be black right here, and then these guys are the colors that ought to be white, so this is a paper white over here on the right-hand side. I am going to go ahead and Alt+Drag or Option+Drag this white slider triangle over to the left side of that big hump on the right, until I see just about all of that background turn white, and then I am going to back off just a little bit. So my final Y point value is 170, and that will go ahead and clip everything that has a luminance level of 170 or brighter, to white, which is absolutely great.
Then I will press the Alt key or the Option key once again and drag the black slider over to the right until everything that I think needs to be black, turns black, and at about 40 that looks pretty good to me. So black point value 40, a white point value of 170, that will by the way take everything with a luminance level off 40 or darker inside the original image and send it to black. All right, now I'll click OK in order to apply that modification. Now let's go ahead and zoom in. We need to get a sense of where the remaining sort of dust and scratches and what I call snivels, just little bits and pieces of gook are inside of this image, so we can clean them up.
And you can do that using a Threshold Adjustment layer. Go ahead and press the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac, click the black-white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose the Threshold command, it's near the bottom, and I am going to call this thing dust finder, and click OK. And now I will go ahead and crank that Threshold level value all the way up to 255. So what I'm saying is unless it's absolutely white, unless the pixel in the image is absolutely white, it's going to appear black, thanks to this Threshold Adjustment. Now you can click on the background layer and get rid of all the stuff that's appearing black that you don't want to have black.
So let's go ahead and zoom in even closer, I'm looking at the image at 200% and I am going to switch over to my Eraser tool, which you can get by pressing the E key. And I am going to change the mode, by default it's Brush, change it to Block, and the Block eraser is this little square that is always nice and sharp, it's not going to introduce any anti- aliasing or softness or anything along those lines. Make sure your background color is white, as it is in my case. And then go ahead and paint away that stuff near the letters.
Now you don't want paint on the letters, by the way like that, right there, that's a mistake. I will press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that mistake. And just go ahead and paint away the most obvious stuff you can get really close in between the letters like so, for example, I can click here between u and the n and the. And then I could Shift+Click right about there in order to erase in a straight line. But it's not actually necessary that you get rid of every single snivel inside the image. It's okay if you leave a few behind, but you want to get rid of as much as possible here, and if you feel like you need to work more quickly, by the way notice, you can zoom out from the image like so, really far in fact, and your cursor stays the same size relative to the screen, but it's much larger, relative to the image and that allows me to paint big huge swaths away like so, if I want to, that's one way to get rid of them anyway.
I could also select them with a Lasso tool and get rid of them that way. So I will go ahead and paint these things away, the problem with being this far away from the image is that, of course, you can't really see the very tiny problems, anyway, so I will go ahead and zoom back in, so that I can see everything that there is, and I'm once again looking at the image at 200%, I will go ahead and click inside the a, to get rid of that little thing, paint below the a, paint between the a and the out like so, paint above the f, there is some stuff going on above the k, between the i and the k as well down here below, your results will vary depending on how you're working.
Just give it some patients of course; you have to get rid of as much as possible after all. And that looks pretty good, there is that little guy over there on the left-hand side and otherwise I think, I've done a pretty good job of it, it looks all right. Okay, now we need to figure out what ought to be absolutely black, because if you turn off that dust finder a layer for a moment. You can see that we are missing some details inside the k and inside of some of the other letters as well, for example, inside the u because that's where the creases occurred when this piece of paper got folded.
So go ahead and turn that dust finder layer back on double-click on it in order to bring up the Adjustments panel and crank the Threshold level value down to 1 this time, all the way the other direction, and now you can see what ought to be black very easily, then click on the Background layer to make it active again, press the X key to swap your foreground and background colors. So the background color is black and then paint in black using the eraser. And notice that we've got some problems down here at the bottom of the n, those need to be painted away like so.
And it looks like I still have some problems here and there around that g possibly. So I will press X key in order to paint those guys away, like so, and then press the X again in order to once again paint with black, because the eraser tool always paints with the background color. Paint in the f a little bit, we've got some major problems inside the k region right here. And down to the bottom of the k as well, paint that guy away, paint this guy in, and otherwise, I think this looks pretty good, it looks like we have a problem towards the top of the a.
Again, you are just trying to do your best way this is concerned, you don't need to micromanage things too much, so it doesn't have to be perfect, because a lot of these problems will ultimately get reconciled away, although, I am seeing right here a detail that I want to fix. All right that looks pretty good to me. I am going to go ahead and press Ctrl+0 and Command+0 on the Mac, to zoom on out. And then you can grab that Threshold layer and just press the Backspace key or the Delete key on Mac to get rid of it, because we are done with it, it was just a measurement tool. All right, so we've got a cleaned up logo, it's crooked still, which is a little bit of a problem, and we need to figure out a way to introduce it into the photograph, and I'll show you exactly how that works in the next exercise.
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