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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, I'll introduce you to what I call the Fill Opacity eight, which are eight blend modes that respond better to an adjustment to the Fill value than they do to an adjustment to the Opacity value. And I'm here to tell you, I have no idea why things work this way; I just know that they do work this way. So just by way of a refresher, the main purpose of Fill Opacity is to reduce the Opacity of a layer independently of its layer effects. So here I'm looking at an example from Chapter 16 of the Intermediate course, and notice that I have some effects assigned to the shire layer.
I'll go ahead and turn them on; I've got an Inner Shadow and a Drop Shadow at work. Now, if I decide I want to reduce the darkness inside the letters, then I could press, for example, the 2 key in order to reduce the Opacity value, but that ends up reducing the Opacity of the layer effects as well. I don't want that, so I'll press the zero key to reinstate 100% Opacity. Instead, what I want to do is press Shift+2 in order to reduce the Fill Opacity value to 20%, and that makes the letters themselves translucent, while leaving the layer effects intact.
All right. So that's the primary purpose of Fill. I'm going to switch over to my shortcuts file, and if you got access to the file, you'll see at the top of the Layers panel is a group called top secret. Go ahead and twirl it open, and turn on the layer inside, and you'll see bars highlighting each of the eight blend modes that respond differently to Fill Opacity. And as you'll see, it's always better. So we've got Color Burn, and Linear Burn, Color Dodge, and Linear Dodge, as well as Vivid Light, Linear Light, Hard Mix -- you won't believe what a difference Fill makes with Hard Mix -- and then finally, Difference.
Now, I'm not going to show you examples of all of the modes, but I will show you how things work with the Contrast modes, as well as Difference. So I'll switch over to this file, in which I've set the sunlight layer to Hard Light. And instead, I'm going to press Shift+Alt+V, or Shift+Option+V on a Mac, in order to advance to Vivid Light, and then I'll press the 5 key to reduce the Opacity value to 50%. Now, we want to keep that effect, so what I'm going to do is create a layer comp, and you do that by going up to the Window menu and choosing the Layer Comps command, which brings up the Layer Comps panel. Go ahead and make it a little smaller here, so that takes up less room onscreen, and I'll create a new comp by clicking on the little page icon.
I'll Name this comp Opacity blend. And if you're working along with me, you want to make sure that Visibility is turned on, and so is Appearance; that's very important. Then click OK. Now let's switch the Opacity value back to 100% by pressing the 0 key, and I'll reduce the Fill value to 50% by pressing Shift+5, and then I'll create a new comp by clicking on the little page icon, and I'll name this guy Fill blend, like so. Make sure Visibility and Appearance are turned on, and click OK. All right.
So, for the sake of comparison, here is the 50% opaque version of Vivid Light, which looks frankly awful, and here's what happens when we leave Opacity altogether alone, leave it set to 100%, and we just reduce the Fill value to 50% instead; we get a much better effect. And this is true for all of the blend modes that make up the Fill Opacity eight. All right. Let's see how things fare with Linear Light. I'll go ahead and click on the little page in front of Opacity blend in order to switch back to that layer comp, and you can see the Opacity is set to 50%; the Fill value is set to 100%.
I'll press Shift+Plus to advance to the Linear Light mode, and I'll drop down to this little update icon at the bottom of the Layer Comps panel, and I'll click on it, and then I'll click on the page in front of Fill blend. In this case, we're seeing an Opacity of 100%, and a Fill of 50%, so those values are being retained for us. That's why Layer Comps are oftentimes so great. And I'll press Shift+Plus to advance to Linear Light, and I'll update that comp by clicking on the update icon. All right. So here is Linear Light set to 50% Opacity; not quite as bad as Vivid Light, but bad enough.
We have all kinds of low saturation transitions. It just looks like a washed out effect, whereas if I click in front of Fill blend, we have these wonderfully saturated colors, and we have some hotspots, and nice transitions as well. All right, now let's see how things fair with the Difference mode. I want to save Hard Mix for last. So I'll click in front of Opacity blend in order to make it active again, and I'll press Shift+Alt+E, or Shift+Option+E on the Mac, in order to apply Difference. And then I'll update that layer comp, and then I'll click in front of Fill blend to make it active.
Press Shift+Alt+E, or Shift+Option+E on the Mac, in order to switch to the Difference mode, and I'll click on the update icon to update that comp as well. So this is a 50% opaque version of the Difference mode. Basically what we're doing is half inverting the colors, and that's it. So it really looks like nothing more than we didn't have the courage to go with a higher Opacity value, whereas if I switch to Fill blend, you can see we've got all kinds of contrast going on. We're not just half inverting the colors; we're doing something entirely different. All right.
Now you have to see Hard Mix. I'll go ahead and click in front of Opacity blend again, and I'll Shift+Alt+L, or Shift+Option+L on the Mac, to switch to the Hard Mix mode. Couldn't look worse. We've just basically taken that rotten effect, and overlaid it on top of the original model at 50% level of Opacity. I'll go ahead and update the layer comp by clicking on the update icon, and now I'll click in front of Fill blend, and I'll press Shift+Alt+L, or Shift+Option+L on the Mac, in order to switch to Hard Mix, with a Fill value of 50%, and it looks great! I'm going to go ahead and update that comp as well.
And really, honestly it looks so great that it doesn't even look like a similar effect. So just for the sake of comparison; I'm not sure you need this, but I'll click in front of Opacity blend. That's Hard Mix with an Opacity value of 50%, and this is Hard Mix with a Fill value of 50%. Now, it's interesting to note that you can take that Fill value pretty high. I'll press Shift+9 in order to crank that Fill value up to 90%, and it's very different than Shift+0 for 100%. So backing up to 90% Fill, we start smoothing off those edges; we no longer have the jagged transitions.
This is a Fill of 80%, this is a Fill of 70%, and this is a Fill of 60%. You can take it quite low as well. I'll press Shift+2 to take the Fill value down to 20%. I'll go ahead and update that guy, and for the sake of comparison, I'll click in front of Opacity blend, and press the 2 key to take the Opacity value down to 20%, and update that layer comp as well. So this is 20% opaque Hard Mix. This is 20% Fill combined with Hard Mix. All right. I'm going to go ahead and hide Layer Comps there, and I'm going to hide the sunlight layer as well, and click on this top model layer to select it.
Now, there is one last topic I want to touch on here, and that's layer effects. We've seen how every single layer effect has blend modes associated with it. So when you reduce the Opacity associated with the layer effect, are you changing the equivalent of the Opacity value here inside the Layers panel, or are you changing Fill? And the answer is you're changing Fill, and let me demonstrate that to you. I'm going to drop down to the black/white icon, and I'm going to choose Gradient, and that will create a Gradient layer. I'll click on the down-pointing arrowhead, and I'll switch it to Spectrum, which is that rainbow gradient that ships along with Photoshop, and we'll end up achieving this effect here.
Click OK, and now I'm going to change the blend mode to Hard Mix for this layer. Looks terrible, of course; press the Escape key so that blend mode pop-up menu is no longer active, and I'll press the 5 key to reduce the Opacity to 50%. All right. Let's bring back Layer Comps. I'll click on Opacity blend. Not in front of it; just on it, and I'll go ahead and update it, and then I'll press the 0 key to increase the Opacity to 100%, and I'll press Shift+5 to reduce the Fill Opacity to 50%, and I'll click on Fill blend -- don't click in front of it -- in order to make it active, and then click the update button.
So this is that gradient at 50% Opacity. This is that gradient at 50% Fill. So obviously we get a much smoother transition with 50% Fill combined with Hard Mix. All right. I'm going to turn that layer off. Let's see the same thing at work with a layer effect. I'll click on the model layer, drop down to the fx icon, and choose Gradient Overlay, and I'm going to set the Gradient to that same rainbow Spectrum, like so. I'll change the blend mode to Hard Mix once again, and then I'll reduce the Opacity value to 50%.
And so you can see that the option that goes by the name Opacity when you're applying layer effects is really that Fill Opacity value, at least where the Fill Opacity eight are concerned. All right. So I'll go ahead and click OK in order to apply that effect, and that's how you work with the Fill Opacity eight; eight special blend modes that work better with the Fill value than they do with Opacity here inside Photoshop.
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