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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
I've gone ahead and saved down my progress as Base layers.psd found inside the 08_selections folder. So called, because we have all of our central layers in place. The beam layer is active. I'm going to deselect it, because we don't need the selection outline anymore. So, I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac. I'll also press Ctrl+Semicolon or Command+ Semicolon to hide that central guideline. Now, we need to turn this layer of blurry orange into something that actually resembles a beam of light. We're going to do that by adding a blend mode and a layer effect.
Now, we're getting way beyond ourselves. We won't be approaching these two topics until the advanced portion of the series. But I do want to give you an early sense of what's going on. So, I'm going to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool by pressing the M key. Then I'm going to change the blend mode associated with the active layer, by going up to this Normal pop-up menu, click on it. I'll change the blend mode to Linear Light. Then I'm going to go ahead and change the Fill value here to 40%, like so. Now, this still doesn't look like a beam of light. It looks terrible.
Let's go ahead and add a Gradient Overlay by dropping down to the FX icon, clicking on it, then choosing the Gradient Overlay effect. That will cover this beam of light with a blurry, ugly gradient, like you see right here. That's fine. It's going to work very nicely for us. Go ahead and change that Angle value from 90 to -90, like so. Then I want to change the blend mode once again to Linear Light, which is your highest impact Contrast mode inside of Photoshop.
You'll get this effect here that's way over the top. So go ahead and reduce that Opacity value to 30%, so that you get this effect. This still isn't what I'm looking for. What I want to see happen is I want to blend this Gradient Overlay along with the layer subject to the other Linear Light mode. So, I want to blend these guys together. I'm going to do that by clicking on Blending Options: Custom. I will turn on this first checkbox, Blend Interior Effects as Group. We achieve this more uniform effect right there.
That's what I'm looking for, click OK. You're now finished with the beam of light. Just to make sure that it blends better with its background, I'm going to drop down to the Background layer and I'm going to add an Adjustment layer. That's going to be a Hue/ Saturation layer, incidentally. So I'll press Ctrl+Shift+U, Command+Shift+U on the Mac, my dekeKeys keyboard shortcut, as you may recall. I'll change this guy to colorizer and then click OK. I am indeed going to colorize the Background layer as follows: I'm going to turn on the Colorize checkbox.
I'm going to change the Hue value. Notice right now, it's 20 and 25. It's trying to match the Hue of the foreground color. Although, the Saturation is much lower as you can see. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and change this Hue value to 0 and I'm going to increase the Saturation value to 50. Then I'm going to collapse the Adjustments panel. I'm going to click on the colorizer layer just to make sure it's active. I'm going to change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply in order to achieve this effect right there. Now, a few more finishing details: presumably, the light that's being cast by the moon would reflect back onto it a little bit.
So, I'm going to click on the moon layer to make it active. I'm going to click on FX and I'm going to choose Inner Shadow. Now, it may seem like a strange idea to use Inner Shadow in order to create what's essentially a glow, but that is something you can do in Photoshop. The difference between using Inner Shadow for a glow effect as opposed to Inner Glow is that Inner Shadow can convey direction. So I'm going to go ahead and choose Inner Shadow. I'm going to change its color to H: 40, so a Hue value of 40 degrees, a Saturation value of 100% and a Brightness value of 100%.
Just change the HSB values, nothing more, click OK. Then I'm going to go ahead and change the blend mode from Multiply, which currently isn't doing much for us to Linear Dodge, which will turn this effect into a glow, a very slim one right now. Then I'm going to change the Distance value to 15 pixels. Tab down to the Size value and I'll change it to 35 pixels, like so. Now you can see this glow formulating over here on the right-hand side of the moon. I want to change the direction of this effect a little bit.
So I'm going to enter an Angle value of - 30 degrees, like so, so that we see a bit of a glow over here in the lower-right region of the moon. Then finally, I'm going to reduce the Opacity value to 45%. That, my friends, is that. Just one last effect I want to apply. I want to darken up the foreground of the road here. So, I'll go ahead and click on the road layer. Drop down to the FX icon once again, click on it. Choose Gradient Overlay. Once again, we have this horrible black to white gradient, going from black at the bottom to white at the top.
That's actually, exactly what we want. I'm going to change the blend mode from Normal, which isn't what we want, to Multiply, so that we're darkening the road. Then I'm going to take the Opacity value down to 75%, like so. Click OK and that is the final effect. I'll go ahead and press Shift+F in order to switch to the absolute Full-Screen mode. This is my final, admittedly dark composition, created entirely using a combination of the Rectangular Marquee, Elliptical Marquee and Feather command, which just goes to show that you can achieve extraordinary effects using even the simplest tools here inside Photoshop.
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