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Advanced Blending is the second installment in Deke McClelland's series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course explores blending options and shows how to use them to create sophisticated effects and seamless compositions, often without masking. Beginning with the basics of blending layered images, the course sheds light on the formulas behind the Photoshop blend modes and shows how to comp scanned line art, create double-exposure effects, correct skin tones, and work with the luminance sliders.
In this exercise I am going to show you how to use the Behind and Clear modes along with the Fill and Stroke commands. I've gone ahead and restored the saved version of my Big blue marble.psd file, found inside the 03_normal folder. And very quickly, let me show you how the options work along with the Fill command just so you can have a sense of what's going on here. I am going to switch from the Rectangular Marquee to the Elliptical Marquee. Notice that I've already set my foreground color to Red in advance. I also have the marble layer selected inside layers panel. I am going to draw the circular selection around this side of the earth and then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Fill command, or you can press a keyboard shortcut Shift+ Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac.
I mention that because that's what I'll be doing in the future. We'll go and choose the Fill command. I've set Use to Foreground Color, so that I'm filling the selection with that shade of red. And I've got the Opacity cranked up to 100%. I am going to change the mode from Normal to Behind and then click OK and I end up filling the region behind the earth. Another thing you can do, if I were to move this selection to a different location and then return to the Edit menu, choose the Fill command again. I could change the mode from Behind to Clear and then go ahead and click OK and I'd cut a hole using that selection which is actually kind of a lot of work when you think about it.
I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac, because all I had to do was press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to delete the pixels inside this selection. But it's a way of working. Anyway, let me show you something of a practical use for these modes. I am going to go up to the File menu and choose the Revert command in order to restore my saved world. And then I'm going to draw some rings around the planet like so. So I'll draw a big ring to start with and then I'll press the Alt key or the option key on the Mac in order to subtract a smaller ring from the inside.
And notice that I'm cheating kind of up, so that the ring appears to decline as it moves away from us. All right, so the idea here is I want to create a bright red ring around the earth. I am going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on a Mac in order to hide the selection and then I'll press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on a Mac in order to bring up the Fill dialog box and I'm going to change the mode to Behind once again so that I fill the rings behind the earth and I'll click OK. Now that looks pretty good and we definitely want the big red ring to go behind the earth when it passes around the rear of the planet, but we need to see the ring in front here.
So I'll press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to bring back my selection outline, so I cam see it. And I am also going to switch back to my Rectangular Marquee Tool, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac and remove this portion of the selection like so. So, I am deselecting the area around the top of the planet, fairly roughly as you can see here. So I have this region still selected for the front of the globe and now I'll press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac in order to bring up the Fill dialog box once again.
This time I want to respect the Opacity of the layers, so that I am just filling in the portion of the selection that's already been filled in and that way I won't get any harsh transitions over here at the sides of the rings, the ones that I've cut off. So what I want to do is turn on the Preserve Transparency checkbox, because that's just like that Lock Transparency option in the Layers panel that we saw in the previous exercise, but it's dimmed and that's because the Mode is set to Behind. Any time the Mode is set to Behind or Clear that option will appear dimmed. However, if you change Mode back to Normal, it becomes available again.
I'll go ahead and turn it on and then click OK in order to fill the forward part of the ring. All right, now what I want to do is scrape away the areas above and below the ring in the planet just as an effect and I am going to do that using the Stroke command combined with the Clear mode. So I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Stroke and notice those of you who loaded dekeKeys, I've given you a keyboard shortcut, I use this command all the time. It's Ctrl+Shift+' or Command+Shift+' on the Mac. Anyway, I'll go ahead and choose the command, I am going to crank the Width value up to 30 pixels, change the location to outside like so and then change the mode from Normal to Clear and click OK.
And that goes ahead and creates these clear strokes above and below the rings. All right, now I am going to press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac to deselect the image. Now, we've got some problems, we've got some breaks over here on the right and left hand sides of the rear rings. We'll reinstate those using the Rectangular Marquee Tool; just go ahead and select around one region, Shift+Select around the other region in order to make sure that both of the broken areas are encompassed inside your selection. Then I want to go up to the Window menu and choose the History command in order to bring up the History panel.
And we want to set the source state to the one immediately before stroke and you do that by clicking in front of, in my case, Fill. So you'll see this little Brush icon in front of the state immediately before stroke. Once again, go ahead and hide that panel and then press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete to bring up the Fill dialog box, turn off Preserve Transparency, make sure Mode is set to Normal, Opacity is set to 100% and then change Use from Foreground Color to History and then click OK and that goes ahead and reinstates those missing pieces.
And that, friends, is at least one way to combine the Behind and Clear modes along with a Fill and Stroke commands here inside Photoshop.
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