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Creating a medium glow with Soft Light

From: Photoshop Blend Mode Magic

Video: Creating a medium glow with Soft Light

All right in this video we're going to combine all three kinds of blending in Photoshop to do a composite result here. We want to do a nice Glow effect here. We are going to go ahead and duplicate the layer, Command+J, Ctrl+J, and we're going to go ahead and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. We're going to go for the dramatic high contrast glow effect. So I'll use the Radius of 10. Click OK and we're going to change the blend mode to Overlay. Okay it looks great. We get a nice glow on the highlights. The colors are popping. They're saturated and really vibrant now.

Creating a medium glow with Soft Light

All right in this video we're going to combine all three kinds of blending in Photoshop to do a composite result here. We want to do a nice Glow effect here. We are going to go ahead and duplicate the layer, Command+J, Ctrl+J, and we're going to go ahead and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. We're going to go for the dramatic high contrast glow effect. So I'll use the Radius of 10. Click OK and we're going to change the blend mode to Overlay. Okay it looks great. We get a nice glow on the highlights. The colors are popping. They're saturated and really vibrant now.

But I have a problem. I take a look at the inside of that flower. Let's go turn off the top layer and there's before and there's the after. What are you noticing? There's a lot of detail that I've lost in the shadow areas. So I can try to play with the Opacity. I'll get my Move tool and type in number for the layer opacity. Maybe I'll try 80%. 50%. Now while lowering the layer opacity it does bring some of that detail in the shadows, I'm losing the strength of the highlight glow. So I really want to maintain both. I want the shadow detail to stay but I want the full strength of the highlight glow. So I'm going to take that back to say 90%. And I might even want 95%. I'll type 95 very quickly on the keyboard and that changes that to 95%.

So I guess I could get a layer mask on this layer and start painting with my Brush tool with black around those areas, but that's just too much manual labor. I'm going to undo that. Command+Z, Ctrl+Z. It turns out that every single layer inside Photoshop has a build-in layer mask waiting for you to tap into. It's a layer mask based on its tonal values. The way you get there is the advanced blending options. You double click on the image thumbnail and that brings up the Layer Style dialog box and it's set to the Blending Options, specifically the Advanced Blending and Blend if sliders.

That's what we're looking for here. This is a feature that's been here since Photoshop 3. It's just buried. A lot of people don't realize it's there. Double click on the thumbnail and now you have two sets of sliders. One for this layer, meaning the active layer, and the layer underneath it. We want to affect the current layer so we're going to use the This Layer slider and this basically says hey, between 0 and 255 or black and white, you have the ability to hide the pixels based on their tonal value. So I'm going to bring that black slider over to the right. Pretty soon you'll see the amoebas coming.

They're eating away the image, punching a hole through those images. I'm going to go ahead and click OK. I'm going to turn off the Background layer. So you can get a better idea visually what's going on here. You can actually see that we are literally punching a hole in this top layer wherever there are dark pixels. So we'll double click on this thumbnail again to reopen the Layer Style dialog box. But here's the problem. I have got a very, very sharp edge here and a hard transition. That's either opaque or transparent. I don't really have any blend in between. We want to create a transition zone. So I'm going to hold down the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key on a Windows and we can split the slider if we Option drag or Alt drag. You see what it's doing. It's creating a gradient or a blend between opaque and transparency. So I'm going to take this to say 70, this left slider and we'll take the right slider over to 120, let's say, and I'm just making these numbers up as I go.

This is now saying, hey Photoshop any pixel on this layer that has a tonal value of 0-70 and I want you to just to go away, pretend you don't even exist, you're transparent. Everything that's 121 and higher, I want it to be 100% opaque and then everything in between I want you to do a blend from transparent to opaque. So I get nice soft transition zone. I'm going to go ahead and click OK. We'll turn that bottom layer back on and that will turn the top layer off. There is before, there is after and I've achieved my goal. I want highlight glow here. Nice beautiful detail there and nice glow in the highlights to get the nice saturated color and the reds there. But I've preserved my detail in the shadows and that's all thanks to the advanced blending sliders.

One last note about the advanced blending sliders. They're non-destructive. They're virtual. If I save this layered Photoshop document and open it next week, if I double click on the thumbnail of that layer, you'll see those sliders are remembered. So you can always go back and further tweak it to your heart's content. What a great feature. It's just a little buried.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Blend Mode Magic
Photoshop Blend Mode Magic

46 video lessons · 25547 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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