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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 Lighten mode to achieve a quick and dirty filtering effect. I've restored the saved version of Lighten demo.psd. Let me go ahead and turn on the gang layer here and click on it to make it active. And then because we want to apply some smart filters, let's 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 shortcuts, you can press Ctrl+,. Next I'm going to go on to the Filter menu, choose the Sharpen command and then choose Smart Sharpen.
And I'm going to apply something of an over-the-top effect here. I've cranked the Amount value as you can see up to 500%, and I've taken the Radius value up to 10 pixels and set the Remove option to Lens Blur. More Accurate is turned off; I'll go ahead and click the OK button in order to apply that filter. Now let's modify the Blend settings by double-clicking on the little slider icon over here to the right-hand side of the word Smart Sharpen. And I'm going to switch the Mode from Normal to Lighten so that we're keeping the sharpening effect exclusively where it's brighter than the original image.
Now I'm going to take the Opacity value down to 25% in order to settle that effect down, so that we don't have too much in the way of blown highlights. Now I'll click OK in order to accept that effect, and just to give you a sense of what's going on here, I'm going to zoom in on the image so that we're seeing it at the 100% view size. And I'll turn off this Smart Sharpen filter, so that's the appearance of the original image. If I were to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, now we'll turn the filter back on and you can see what the image looks like now. All right, I'm going to get rid of that Filter Mask by right clicking on it and choosing Delete Filter Mask.
Now let's turn these guys into kind of ghost gangsters if you will, by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Blur, and then choosing Gaussian Blur. Now I'm going to crank the Radius value up to 20 pixels, we're just going to blur the heck out of these guys and then click OK. And now as you might predict, I'll go ahead and double-click on the slider icon to bring up the Blending Options dialog box and I'll change the Mode once again from Normal to Lighten, so we end up getting the ghosting effect you see here. Now I'll click OK.
Now I feel like the effect is a little tight, in other words it's filling in a lot of the shadow details inside of these gentlemen's faces. So I'm going to double-click on the words Gaussian Blur to revisit the Gaussian Blur dialog box, and I'm going to crank the Radius value up to 66 pixels and then click OK in order to accept that effect. And now we have the ghost gangsters, once again, if I click on the eyeball in front of the Smart Filters then we'll see the original version of this layer. If I turn the Smart Filters back on, then we can see the ghosting effect achieved, as I say very simply, using a couple of filters and the Lighten blend mode.
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