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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 how to use the Screen Mode to create a classic double exposure effect between two dark photographs. I'm going to turn the dummy layer off, switch to the gang layer and press Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N on the Mac in order to return to the Normal mode. And by the way, bear in mind that all these keyboard shortcuts assume that you have one of the tools other than the second group of Paint and Edit Tool selected. Now I'm going to turn on the hoody layer and click on it to make it active, and let's say we want to create a double exposure effect, between this layer and the gang layer below.
Now we just go ahead and switch to the Screen Mode by pressing Shift+Alt+S or Shift+Option+S on the Mac. Problem is of course, we've never assembled a composition like this, with the hoody guy's face over this hostile middle guy in the background, so we need to move this layer around. I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and choose a Free Transform command, or press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac, then right-click inside the image and choose the Flip Horizontal command. And I'm going to go ahead and drag this guy over to the left-hand side of the composition like so, and right about here it seems appropriate to me.
You can scale him if you want to, you have a little bit of latitude where this layer is concerned, but I'm not, I'm just going to go ahead and lift him up a little bit. So part of his eyebrows cut off there at the top, and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that modification. It seems to me our larger hoody guy should have a little bit of sharpening applied to him, so I'm going to convert him to a Smart Object. By clicking on the Layer panel fly-out menu and choosing the Convert to Smart Object command and then I want to duplicate the Smart Sharpen filter, and I'll do so by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and dragging just the words Smart Sharpen and dropping them onto the hoody layer, and that will copy if I go ahead and expand the layer here.
You'll see that copies the Smart Sharpen filter without copying Gaussian Blur. And as long as I'm here, I'll right- click inside the Filter Mask and choose Delete Filter Mask to get rid of it. We do want to filter this layer just a bit, so if the hood isn't cutting through this guy's face, they're actually the same guy, but one is very big and one is small, so we don't want to hurt the small guy. I'm going to create a layer mask by dropping down to the bottom of the Layers panel and clicking on Add Layer Mask, and then I'll go ahead and grab my Brush Tool.
If I right-click inside the image window you can see I've set this size to 400 pixels, the hardness is 0%. I might actually go ahead and crank that Hardness value up to say 50%, I'll press the Enter key a couple of times in order to hide that panel. Maybe reduce the size of my cursor a little bit by pressing the left bracket key. Make sure that your foreground color is black, which it is in my case, and then click right about there in order to interrupt the hoody a little bit, so it's not cutting through the smaller guy. And I might paint down a little bit inside the hoody, up a little bit as well, in order to achieve this effect.
We definitely need to bring that text back, so we're identifying this group of people whether they're a band or whatever they are. So I'm going to grab that text layer and drag it and drop it on the top of the stack. Now we've got some outlines that are showing up here, that's just because my Vector Mask is active, so I'll click on the Vector Mask thumbnail to turn it off. It seems to me that we're losing the legibility of the text, and there is really no better way to solve that problem. Then I drop down to the fx icon and choose Drop Shadow, and I'm going to crank the Opacity value up to 100%.
Not too concerned about the angle, but I'm going to take that size value up to 15 pixels, it'll leave the distance at five pixels, and then click OK in order to achieve this final composition. So all right, I'm not sure how often you're going to want to create the classic possibly cliched double exposure effect, but if you do, you can grab those dark images and blend them together using the Screen Mode.
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