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The blend modes in Photoshop offer incredible creative options for designers and photographers wanting to enhance images. In Photoshop Blend Mode Magic, Michael Ninness shows Photoshop users how to access and apply blend modes efficiently to achieve an aesthetic vision. He explains the building blocks of layer blending and demonstrates how blend modes can be used for color correction, sharpening, blending images together, adding dramatic glow, applying custom edge treatments, and many other creative effects. Michael also introduces advanced blending options for more experienced Photoshop users. Most of all, he demystifies this essential feature in plain, easy-to-understand terms and inspires photographers to use blend modes in ways they may have never considered before. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this video we're going to do a slight variation of a typical Dramatic Glow effect. Dramatic Glow is when you duplicate the layer and you blur it by using Gaussian Blur and then you change the blend mode to say Overlay to get a nice high contrast blend of the blurry version back to the original. This is kind of the same recipe, but we'll just do slight variations. So we're going to go ahead and duplicate layer again. Command+J, and by the way if you want to name your duplicate as you create the new layer, Command+Option+J or Ctrl+Alt+J on Windows lets you name it, and I'm going to call this Surface Blur as apposed to Gaussian Blur. I'm going to go ahead and click OK.
Under the Filter menu you go to Blur. And this time instead of Gaussian Blur, we'll choose Surface Blur. Now what Surface Blur does, it's just not as big of a hammer if you will. It attempts to blur non-detail areas. So you get to control what portions of the reason what edges get maintained. So instead of just doing an overall blur across the whole image, Surface Blur can actually limit itself based on the sliders that you use a radius, or if I take the radius down away, you can see it preserves a lot of detail. I'm going to increase that to say 5, and then the threshold also can change, how much blurring gets affected. If I take that up quite a bit, then more original details get blurred. So I'm going to take this down to about 15. So 5 and 15, good values to start up with, you'll play with this on your own preview images as well. Go ahead and click OK, and you see it's quite a big difference than a regular Gaussian Blur.
Now instead of doing Overlay, which will be the highest contrast blend on the Contrast group here, let's do soft light instead. Now I get a very subtle blur effect between before and after. So just drain off that top layer. There's after, there's before. Again, if I want to limit the saturation impact, because the contrast blend modes not only impact the contrast of the tones, they also over-saturate the colors at times. So let's create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. By default an adjustment layer affects every layer in the stack that comes underneath it. If you hold down the Option key or the Alt key as you click on an adjustment layer in the Adjustments panel, you can actually bring up this dialog box. We can give it a name, if you so want to name it. In addition to that you can also turn on the check box that says Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask. Click OK, and that makes sure that the adjustment that you create is clipped to the immediate layer underneath, instead of affecting all the layers on the stack.
So I can bring all the saturation down so that I don't get the over-reddening. That's the word of the image here. Then I can lower the opacity of that adjustment layer if I wish. If I want to make it like 70%, bring some of that back. So we here we have a more subtle glow effect by using Surface Blur instead of Gaussian Blur, and of course, using a Soft Light blend mode instead of Overlay for a more subtle effect.
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