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Combining adjustment layers with blending modes

From: Photoshop Blend Mode Magic

Video: Combining adjustment layers with blending modes

One of the quickest techniques of working with blend modes is to run a blend mode or apply a blend mode to a duplicate of a layer, so we call that a self blend. But there is a downside to that. You're actually increasing your file size. Um, not unnecessarily. So if we take a look at this file size here, down at the bottom of the window it says 900K for the document. This is a really low-resolution file. So the file size isn't all that big. If I duplicate the layer, Command+J or Ctrl+J on Windows, you'll see I've effectively doubled the file size because I've added twice as much information to the file. If I duplicate the layer again, Command+J, Ctrl+J, I'm now three times roughly where I started from. So instead of 900K, I'm at 2.7 megabytes roughly.

Combining adjustment layers with blending modes

One of the quickest techniques of working with blend modes is to run a blend mode or apply a blend mode to a duplicate of a layer, so we call that a self blend. But there is a downside to that. You're actually increasing your file size. Um, not unnecessarily. So if we take a look at this file size here, down at the bottom of the window it says 900K for the document. This is a really low-resolution file. So the file size isn't all that big. If I duplicate the layer, Command+J or Ctrl+J on Windows, you'll see I've effectively doubled the file size because I've added twice as much information to the file. If I duplicate the layer again, Command+J, Ctrl+J, I'm now three times roughly where I started from. So instead of 900K, I'm at 2.7 megabytes roughly.

I am going to revert this file. Revert. There is a different way to do the same effect as applying the blend mode to a duplicate layer. And that is to use an adjustment layer instead. I'm going to open up my Adjustments panel here. And will choose a Curves or Levels adjustment layer, it doesn't actually matter for the technique that we're going to use, to lighten the foreground and darken the background of this particular image. We'll go ahead and choose Levels. But I'm not going to do anything to these sliders. I'm going to leave them alone. It turns out that when you create an adjustment layer, you sucked up all the tonality of the image, up into this layer.

It's now a mask instead of pixels. And if you take a look at the file size down here in the bottom left-hand corner, the file size has not changed at all yet. It's still 900K because I haven't done any pixel adjustments or added any pixel information to this image by painting a layer mask let's say. If I change my blend mode to Screen, I get the exact same result as duplicating the actual layer, the pixel layer and changing it to Screen. I'm just applying the blend mode to the adjustment layer instead. It's one of the reasons why I really like adjustment layers. In addition to the fact that they are non-destructive, where I can turn it on or off, I can change its blend mode, I can change its Opacity and I can mask it off if I need to.

All without changing the file size unless I paint a layer mask, which we're going to do right now. I'm going to press G for the Gradient tool on my keyboard, and again I want to create a Gradient from foreground to background, so I'll just click at the top of this rock and drag straight up, and let go. Now in this case I have done a Gradient on the foreground, on the area that just protected, and that's okay. A layer mask can be reversed anytime you want it to just by using the Invert command, Command+I or Ctrl+I. And now I've masked out the background so it's not getting brighter and the foreground looks a lot better than it did.

So now to change the background and make it a little bit darker we're going to duplicate this adjustment layer, Command+J, Ctrl+J on Windows. And now it's been duplicated here. We're going to change the blend mode from Screen to Multiply to darken that sky, and again the layer mask needs to be inverted because the wrong area's been protected, so I'm going to do Command+I or Ctrl+I on the layer mask for that top layer. And now I get the separation of Tonal correction, the foreground is separate from the background. I can turn these layers on and off to kind of see the difference here. Just like a normal layer, if the effect is too strong, like for instance, I think the darkening is too much on this layer, I can just press the V key on my keyboard to switch to the Move tool and I can lower the Opacity of this particular layer, I'll make it 50% by pressing the number 5, and then I can see before and after.

Now you will see that the file size has increased a touch but only slightly because I have a layer mask which is only a single channel of information as opposed to duplicating an entire layer of pixels which is an RGB collection of pixels, so that would be three channels of information on that layer because I only have a layer mask there. The file size increase is only a small size here. So there you have it, using adjustment layers and blend modes together to do Tonal correction the benefit there is that it's much more flexible and you don't have the file size increase as much as if you were just to duplicate the entire layer.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Blend Mode Magic
Photoshop Blend Mode Magic

46 video lessons · 25537 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
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  1. 2m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Using the exercise files
      52s
  2. 13m 9s
    1. The three kinds of blending in Photoshop
      1m 49s
    2. Blend modes, blend modes, everywhere!
      1m 38s
    3. Cycling through the blending modes
      2m 1s
    4. Three blending modes you must know
      5m 8s
    5. Blending mode keyboard shortcuts
      2m 33s
  3. 3m 13s
    1. Roughening or pointilizing edges with Dissolve
      3m 13s
  4. 34m 40s
    1. Removing halos with Darken
      2m 26s
    2. Bringing down hot highlights with Multiply
      3m 50s
    3. Tonal correction with Screen and Multiply
      3m 35s
    4. Combining adjustment layers with blending modes
      3m 58s
    5. Creating a composite from a single Camera Raw file
      5m 56s
    6. Creating a cast shadow with Multiply
      4m 50s
    7. Creating artistic edges with Multiply and Screen
      3m 39s
    8. From iPhone to Photoshop: Colorizing line art with Multiply
      6m 26s
  5. 14m 47s
    1. Removing dust spots with Lighten
      1m 36s
    2. Adding lightning to a sky with Screen
      3m 20s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      2m 27s
    4. Reducing halos when sharpening with Lighten
      3m 55s
    5. Creating a faint soft-edged line drawing with Linear Dodge
      3m 29s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Using Dodge and Burn with Overlay
      4m 34s
    2. Reducing wrinkles with Overlay
      6m 37s
    3. Using graduated neutral density filters with Overlay
      5m 32s
    4. Custom vignettes with Overlay
      3m 30s
    5. High-Pass sharpening with Overlay
      4m 16s
    6. Smoothing skin with High-Pass sharpening and Overlay
      5m 29s
    7. Textured patterns with Overlay
      6m 21s
    8. Textured type with Overlay
      2m 55s
    9. Creating a dramatic diffused glow with Overlay
      2m 49s
    10. Creating a subtle glow with Soft Light
      2m 57s
    11. Creating a medium glow with Soft Light
      4m 25s
    12. Simulating film grain with Add Noise and Soft Light
      3m 54s
    13. Recovering detail in over-saturated areas with Pin Light
      8m 30s
    14. Creating 80's pop art with Hard Mix and Multiply
      3m 15s
  7. 5m 7s
    1. Aligning layers with Difference
      5m 7s
  8. 12m 51s
    1. Reducing color noise with Color
      2m 13s
    2. Avoiding false saturation with Luminosity
      5m 33s
    3. Recovering detail in blown-out highlights with Luminosity
      5m 5s
  9. 26m 27s
    1. Getting better sepia tones
      5m 15s
    2. Using antique color effects
      5m 5s
    3. Combining multiple exposures
      4m 34s
    4. Replacing the sky in an image
      3m 44s
    5. Splitting edges when sharpening
      3m 15s
    6. Displacing type around contours
      4m 34s
  10. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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