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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
There are two different ways you can blend layers in Photoshop. The first one, of course, is just to change the layer's Opacity value. To start, every layer has an Opacity of 100%, so it's completely opaque. You can't see through that layer to the underlying layers below it. So, for example, if you take a look at the Hibiscus layer here, I can't see through to the texture or other images behind those flowers yet because their Opacity is 100%. The quick way to just change the Opacity of any given layer is to have the Move tool selected. If you don't have it selected, you just press V for the Move tool, and then just simply type a number to change the Opacity value.
So, if I press 5, I get 50%. Those Hibiscus flowers are now 50 percent opaque, or 50% transparent, so I am seeing a blend between those flowers and the layers underneath them. To get it back to 100%, just press 0 and again to do 10% increments, you just press any number, like 2 for 20%, 5 for 50% and so on. I will press 0 to go back to 100%. Now the other type of blending is to actually change the blending mode of any given layer. The Blending modes are just different algorithms, different math to change how pixels blend with the underlying pixels of any given layer.
So, if you take a look at the Hibiscus layer right now, it's got a blending mode of Normal. The Blending modes are listed here at the top of the LAYERS panel. And if I click on the word Normal, you'll see there is this big long list of different math, or different ways pixels can blend with each other. Now, most new users will not know what any of these things actually do mathematically, and quite frankly, it doesn't really matter at this point. But what I will want to teach you in this movie is how to quickly experiment with these particular Blend modes. Maybe you've seen an article, or watched another video, or you have heard some of these blend modes mentioned, and you're trying to remember what was that blend mode that did what? And then you end up doing this. Was it this one? No.
You go back to that pop- up menu. Was it this one? No. Was it that one? No. Was it that one? Maybe, I don't know. When you don't know what blend mode you want, you just want to experiment through and see how they change your composition here. Then there is much better way to experiment. With the Move tool active, so again, press V on your keyboard, if it's not the active tool, then use your Shift key and then Plus and Minus. So, Shift+Plus will go to the next blend mode in the list. I am just hitting Shift+Plus multiple times here.
You can see, in the upper right-hand corner, in the Layer Blend Mode pop-up menu, you are seeing the blend mode jump to the next blend mode in the list every time I hit Shift+Plus. As you might expect, to go backwards in the list, to the previous blend mode, Shift+Minus will cycle you through to the previous blend mode. So, again, when you're just trying to figure out which blend mode might be interesting, you don't need to actually memorize each one. You can just do Shift+Plus or Minus until you get the look you want. Now incidentally, this is changing the blend mode of an actual layer.
If you have a Painting tool selected, if I press the B key on my keyboard for the Paint Brush tool, you'll notice that there is a blend mode list here in the Options bar as well. And that same keyboard shortcut to cycle through the different blend modes applies here as well. So, if I choose a particular color - instead of black, let's click on the Black color chip and choose some really toxic green, let's say. Click OK. When I paint with Normal on this Hibiscus layer here, I am just painting down different colors. Now because the blend mode of the Hibiscus layer is set to Difference, it's not looking green.
It's actually the opposite of that so I am going to undo it. Let's create a new layer at the bottom of the LAYERS panel. It says layer 1 now in the blend mode of the layer is set to Normal, and the blend mode of the Brush is also set to Normal. So, if I paint, I get solid green. I will undo that. If I change the blend mode of the Painting tool, I would change how the pixels I am laying down of paint, or color, blend in with the layer that I am on and the layers underneath it as well. So, Shift+ takes you to the next blend mode in the list. Here we are looking up at the Options bar, so I will do Shift +Plus, Shift+Plus, and maybe I'll go to Multiply.
Okay, so now when I paint, it gets a little bit different when I paint back over itself. I am multiplying the effect as I paint over subsequent paint strokes because the blending mode of the brush has been changed to Multiply. Again, don't worry about which blend mode does what at this point. Just learn how to cycle through them when you're just trying to experiment and kind of see, visually, what each blend mode does. We will go ahead and turn that last layer off, and you can see I've got blending modes, not just for layers, but for Painting tools as well, and to cycle through them Shift+Plus and Minus.
If you have the move tool selected, it changes the blending mode of the layer. If you have any other Painting tool selected, then it changes the blend mode of that particular Painting tool.
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