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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'm going to show you another really great contrast modes filtering effect. That's pretty much the opposite of what we saw in the previous movie. Rather than adding clarity or contrast, we're going to add a kind of glow to the image using Gaussian Blur, and even if you've seen this effect demonstrated before, I have come up with a variation on it, that I think makes it a lot more successful. And with this portrait smart object layer selected, I'm going to turn off High Pass, because we don't want it on for this effect.
Then go up to the Filter menu choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur, and I'm going to apply a big Radius value of 20 pixels, and then click OK. The next step is to double-click on the slider icon and change the mode from Normal to Overlay, and you can experiment with the other contrast modes if you want to, but I'm going to stick with Overlay, and I'll click OK. Now you can see how that does give the image a kind of balance. If I turn Gaussian Blur off, this is the original version of the photograph, and then this is the modified version, so it servers a couple of different purposes.
It's great if you just want to add a kind of bouncing glow effect, but it can also be useful for covering that pores and other skin details and blemishes. However, here is the problem. Notice the saturation levels when I turn Gaussian Blur off, and then when I turn it back on. Basically we're getting a heck of a lot more saturation, and it may work to the images advantage, but then again, it may not. The problem is and the reason we didn't see that where High Pass was concerned, is because High Pass was generating grayish results, where Gaussian Blur is generating very colorful results.
So the colors are building on each other, thanks to the Overlay mode, and we end up punching out those saturation values. What if that's not what you want, but if you want to leave that saturation alone? Well, you do a couple of things. First of all you double-click on that slider iconic again, and you reset the mode from Overlay back to Normal, and then you click OK. Now for this to work, you need two separate versions of the image, one of which has to be a smart object as ours is, and then another version, which is the original smart object or not.
Now you go up to the blend mode pop-up menu here in the Layers panel and you change it to Overlay. We get the exact same effect by the way, but now we have a little more control over what's going on. Now I want you to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click the black white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose the Vibrance command this is the best adjustment for this purpose and let's go ahead and call this new layer desat and turn on the checkbox that says Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask, click OK, because we're clipping this adjustment layer or reducing the contrast of the smart object layer, but not the composition overall.
Now notice we take the saturation value all the way down to that should be -100, then we're actually depleting the saturation of the overall image, that's not what we want. Instead if you want to maintain the original image saturation, you take that saturation value down to -50, and that's it, don't touch the vibrance. I'll just go ahead and close the Adjustment panel and you can see that if I turn off this smart object layer now, that's the original version of the image, that's the original level of color saturation as well.
If I turn the portrait layer back on, you can see that we have the same level of color saturation, while still maintaining that nice bounce of glow, from the Gaussian Blur filter, combined with Overlay.
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