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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.
With this technique, we are going to blend or merge these letters into the actual shape of the satin behind. We want them to contour to the ripples of the shapes of the satin there. So we are going to use a Displace command to do that, and displace needs something called the Displacement Map. It's a grayscale image or a grayscale channel that it uses to distort whatever it is that you want to map to the contours of something. So we want to use the image itself, the satin, as a displacement map. To do that, we are going to turn-off the text layer here and we are going to switch over to our Channels panel, and we are going to look through the individual channels. When you are creating displacement map, you want to look for the channel that gives you the most contrast.
So as I look between these three, it's definitely the red channel, and the way displacement works is anything that has a highlight that's going to push things up into the left, anything that has a shadow is going to push the displaced content down into the right. So you are looking for that nice channel that gives you that type of contrast. Once you have identified the channel you want to use, you can go ahead and go to the Channels flyout menu and choose Duplicate channel as a separate file. Instead of the current document, we are going to choose New and I'm going to click OK and now this is a new file with just the single Alpha channel in it.
We are going to go ahead and do a Save As; File > Save As, and we'll save it to our Desktop and just give it a name; we'll call it Displacement Map. I already have one here. I'm just going or replace it, Displacement.psd, go ahead and save it. You probably won't have one, so for this case, we'll go ahead and just replace the one I have, and we can close the file then, and we don't need it open anymore. So Command+W, Ctrl+W and we are back to our other document that have the RGB channels. We'll go ahead and click on the RGB Composite Channel again and go back to our Layers panel and turn-on our Adobe layer again. So we want to displace this text layer. I have got it selected here in the Layers panel.
We'll go to Filter > Distort > Displace, and this brings up a dialog box. Unfortunately, you don't get any sort of a preview here. So you will just have to experiment. If you don't like with the result, you just undo it and try it again with different numbers. So let's start with a displacement of 10 for horizontal and vertical, and let's just see what the results are. You type in this numbers and just leave the other settings at their default. Go ahead and click OK, and it asks you what do you want to use as a displacement map? So we'll choose the Displacement. psd file we just saved earlier. That's on our Desktop. Go ahead and click Open, and there it is. It contoured the text against that displacement map.
Now I think a value of 10 was a little bit too severe, it's a little bit too distorted. So I'm just going to undo it. Remember our keyboard shortcut to reopen our last filter. Command+Option +F or Ctrl+Alt+F will reopen the last filter you used, and we are going to go ahead and change these values. Let's make them 6 and 6, let's say, and see where that goes. Click OK; again, choose the same displacement map. Go ahead and click Open, and I think that's a much better result. It's not as severe. Now to finish this off, we wanted to make it look a little bit more realistic.
It just looks like it's mingled text floating on top of the satin. We actually want the text to look like it has been silkscreened and it's actually part of the fabric itself. To accomplish that, we are going to duplicate this background layer, Command+J, Ctrl+J, we'll move it to the top of the layer stack, and then we are going to bring up our Advanced Blending options to blend this back down through the text. Double-click on the thumbnail of the Background copy layer, and we are going to change the Blend If sliders, instead of Gray, we are going to change them to Red, because there is predominantly red in the image.
We will drag this white slider over to the left and you will see that the letters are starting to pop through. I'm going to go to right about there, but it's a harsh transition. I want to bring back the rest of the letterforms semi-transparently. So I'm going to hold down the Option key or the Alt key and split those sliders, and I'm going to get a much more realistic blend. There is no red value here. You are just going to kind of eyeball at where you want some of the letter to pick up some of the shadowing of the satin sheet there as well. So it's completely up to you where you want these to be. I'm going to go with right about there. Just to show you the before and after, let me move this out of the way and turn-off the Preview checkbox.
There is before, and obviously nothing, there is after. So you get a much better result if you actually split the sliders and do a nice transition. Go ahead and click OK. So there you have it, displacing text around the contours of another image. The secret is to use the Advanced Blending sliders to blend the result back into the composite original, so you get a nice transition of distorted text with the original background.
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