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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 am going to show you how to create a custom text effect using the dissolved mode. Specifically we'll be creating the effect you see here and the name of the file by the way is Stress text.psd found inside the 03_normal folder. I'm going to switch over to this file, White type.psd. Notice that it contains an editable text layer. Now I'll start things off by applying the dissolve mode. So I'll switch from Normal to Dissolve like so, and we get those slightly dithered edges. Now to increase the fact we need to blur the text, we can't blur the text directly, so we first need to convert it to a smart object by going up to Layers panel fly-out menu and choosing Convert to Smart Object or if you loaded my DekeKeys, you can press Ctrl +, or Command+, on the Mac.
Next I'm going to go up to the Filter menu choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur and I'll take the Radius value up to 5 pixels, but the great thing here is that you can change your mind anytime you want. So after clicking OK, I could just double-click on Gaussian Blur here inside the Layers panel, in order to revisit the Gaussian Blur dialog box and I could reduce the Blur value to something like 2, and then end up with a modified effect. Anyway, I don't want to do that, I just wanted to show you, so I'm going to cancel out. Next we need to assign a Bevel & Emboss effect, but if we try to apply the effect directly to this dithered text, we want get the effect we're looking for.
I'll go ahead and show you what I mean, I'll drop down to the fx icon and choose Bevel & Emboss and notice that we don't have a dithered emboss affect at all, instead we have this very soft emboss, and that's because the layer effect doesn't actually see these dithered edges, and so far as it's concerned, we still have those blurry edges from Gaussian Blur filter, so I'll cancel out of here. Here is what we need to do instead, we need to convert this text into a mask, and we're going to do that by turning off the redness layer. Notice that I have a layer of black in the background, so the text will select itself.
All I have to do is go to the Channels panel and then Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the Mac, on any one of these channels here. Either the RGB composite or the red green or blue channel, any of them will do. Now we've managed to select the text including those dithered edges, so I'll switch back to the Layers panel and turn the redness layer back on, turn our stress text layer off, and then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click on that black white icon down at the bottom of the panel, and choose Solid Color and we'll go ahead and call this layer static text, because that's what we have now.
We're not going to be able to edit this layer as text in the future. I clicked OK, and by default Photoshop is going to want to fill the layer with black, that doesn't matter, just click OK to escape the color picker dialog box, because we're going to reduce the Fill value to 0%, and of course the text disappears. However, now we can throw layer effects on top of it. Go ahead and click on the fx icon down here at the bottom of the panel, choose Bevel & Emboss in order to bring up the Layers Style dialog box. Assuming default settings, take the Size value down to 3 pixels and then let's take both of the Opacity values up to 100 % and we end up with this subtle effect here, don't worry, it want end up being subtle by the time we're done, click on Drop Shadow in order to turn on that effect, and let's go ahead and crank the Opacity value up to 100% once again, and take both the Distance and Size value stand to 3 pixels and then click OK.
Now I want to apply a few helpings of the mezzotint filter, which will create those horizontal grooves in the letter. To do so, click on the Layer mask icon to select it and then, because we only want the mezzotint lines to appear inside the letters, Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the Mac on that layer mask thumbnail in order to convert it into a selection outline, then press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide the edges. Go to the Color panel and change your foreground color to 25% black, like so, and then press Alt+Backspace or Option+ Delete on the Mac to fill the letters with that very light shade of gray, and the reason we're doing that is we need to give the mezzotint filter a little grayness to lock onto.
Then, go up to the Filter menu choose Pixelate, and choose Mezzotint, and inside the Mezzotint dialog box, switch the type from Fine Dots, which I believe is a default to the last setting in the list, Long Strokes and then click OK in order to create this effect here. Now if that's not quite enough for you. If you want up the effect a little bit, then press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to add a few more lines. I'm going to press Ctrl+F or Command+ F yet again in order to apply a third helping of the filter in order to achieve this effect here.
Now the great thing about mezzotint is it's a random filter, delivers a different effect every time, so this is how my effect looks this time around, this is how it looked before. Thanks to our ability to exploit the dissolved mode for special effects purposes here inside Photoshop.
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