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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to the mysterious topic of the Fill Opacity 8. Basically, there are 8 blend modes that are affected differently by Fill Opacity than by the opacity value. I'm not sure why it works, I don't know what the underlying math is like, but I do know it's the case and it's actually a boon, because Fill Opacity works great with these eight blend modes as you're about to discover. First of all let me remind you what Fill Opacity is. So I have opened the original version of the Paper pushers image.
It doesn't contain the lightbulb, but that's okay because I'm not working for that client anymore. But I'm going to change wrestlers layer to let's say just Multiply for the sake of demonstration right now. So I'll press Shift+Alt+M or Shift+Option+M on the Mac for that wrestlers layer. Then I'm going to twirl open the text elements group and you'll see that there are two layers here called border and Works on Paper. Turn on Works on Paper, that's the text that goes along with this composition and then turn on border. Now border it is a vector-based rectangle with a Stroke effect assigned to it and the rectangle is set to black, so we can't see through the rectangle in order to see the text below.
Now if I were to select the rectangle to make it active, there's no way to say, hey, don't give me a Fill Color. If you double-click on this Fill Color right there, you'll bring up the color picker dialog box. There are no transparency options here. So you cancel out and you might decide you're going to change the opacity value, but if you do that as you reduce the opacity value of the rectangle you also reduce the opacity of the stroke. So that's no good. That's a nonstarter. Instead what you do is you drop down to this option here Fill and you change its Opacity to 0% and then you drop out the color, you make it transparent and you keep the Stroke.
So the Stroke survives. That's the basics of Fill Opacity and that's why it exists in the first place. Now I will tell you by the way that you can adjust the Fill Opacity from the keyboard. So you just add the Shift key. So Shift+0 is going to change your Fill Opacity to 100%, Shift+5 is going to change it to 50% and so on. You can press Shift+01 to change the Fill Opacity to 1%, but that's not quite 0%. If you want 0, you have to enter it manually or click that arrowhead and adjust the slider. Or of course, you can scrub the value as well.
So a variety of different ways to work. You just can't get to it from the keyboard. So that's what Fill Opacity is supposed to do. However, as I say it has a special effect on 8 and only 8, of the 27 blend modes. So check that out let's switch over to mode-specific shortcuts.psd, another image that we've already seen inside of the 28_blending folder. This is the one that shows you all the shortcuts for the various blend modes, but there is a top-secret group right there at the top of Layers panel. Twirl it open and you'll see there in a layer called Fill Opacity.
Go ahead and turn it on and that highlights the Fill Opacity 8. So it's your very emphatic darkening and lightening and contrast effects. They include Color Burn and Linear Burn, Color Dodge and Linear Dodge and if I scroll down the list here you'll see the two contrast modes that are based on those Burn and Dodge modes Vivid Light and Linear Light. Then we've got Hard Mix. So Fill Opacity takes Hard Mix which by itself is pretty useless and turns it into a functioning effect and then Difference.
Now I don't know why this works the way it does. Some of these blend modes have fairly elaborate equations associated with them and others are extremely simple like Linear Dodge is just A plus B. So what in the world is going on there that Fill Opacity would effect that equation differently than opacity? I don't know, but the fact is it does. So let's switch over to the third image that I have open, Hard Light comp another image that we've seen before. Currently the Sunlight layer is set to Hard Light. Let's go and switch out the mode to something different so I can demonstrate how Opacity and Fill Opacity produce pretty darn different effects.
So I'm going to change a Blend mode that's assigned to that Sunlight layer to Color Burn for the moment, because that's the first of the Fill Opacity 8. Then I'll press the Escape key here in the PC so that Blend mode is no longer active, and I'll press the 5 key to reduce the Opacity value to 50%. Now let's go ahead and save that off as a layer comp. So I'll bring up my layer Comps panel, I'll click on a little Page icon, there inside the New layer Comp dialog box I'll name this layer Opacity blend like so and I'll make sure that Visibility and Appearance are turned on. Click OK.
Now let's switch it out. Let's switch out the behavior that is. So I'll press the 0 key to up the Opacity value back to 100%. I'll press Shift+5 to reduce the Fill value to 50%. Then I'm going to create a New layer Comp by clicking on the Page icon and I'll call this guy Fill blend make sure Visibility and Appearance are turned on and click OK. Now notice what happens when I switch back and forth. This is the lower opacity version of the effect and notice what's going on in her dress. These weird saturation values that are beginning to appear, they don't look naturalistic also we're losing saturation and other portions of the image.
Whereas when I switched to the Fill modification we get a much more robust effect. So even though we're tempering the effect with the use of an opacity value, Photoshop is doing a much better job with the blend and that's the case with all of the Fill Opacity 8. Fill does better. So you want to try the Fill value in the case of every single one of those blend modes. Let's try another one just so you can see the effect here. I'll go ahead and click in front of Opacity blend inside the layer Comps panel and I'll press Shift+ in order to advance the Linear Burn.
So this is Linear Burn set to an Opacity value 50%. I'll update that guy by clicking on the Update icon. Then I'll drop down here to Fill blend, click in front of it, press Shift+ to once again advance to Linear Burn, but this time the Fill value is set to 50% update that guy so that we can switch back and forth. So this is the 50% opacity version of Linear Burn and this is the 50% Fill version of Linear Burn. We don't necessarily have to see every single one of these Fill Opacity.
But I do want to show you most of them. I'm going to switch back to Opacity blend again. Let's see the most prominent of the lighting effects that is the Linear Dodge. So I'll go ahead and press Shift+Alt+W or Shift+Option+W on the Mac in order to combine Linear Dodge with 50% opacity. I'll update that layer Comp by clicking on this Update icon. Then I'll click in front of Fill blend, press Shift+Alt+W again in order to see the Fill version of Linear Dodge right there. Go ahead and update that layer Comp and now let's switch back and forth between them. This is a lower opacity version of Linear Dodge and notice the saturation values is just dropping out like crazy and we're getting these harsh transitions often times inside of the model's face.
Now if I switch to the Fill version of the blend, we get much better saturation values. We still have some very hot areas. Notice that, we're not losing the hotness in other words that staring into the Sun effect, those specular highlights still survive even at a lower Fill Opacity value. So it's a much more successful effect all the way around. In the next exercise I'm going to show you how Fill Opacity effects the contrast in the Inversion modes specifically the wonders that you can pull off using Hard Mix.
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