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How opposite blend modes work

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: How opposite blend modes work

All right, this exercise may seem a little theoretical at first. But I want you to have as clear of an idea into how blend modes work as I can possibly convey. If nothing else, I want you to feel routinely confident in your use of the Multiply and Screen modes, because they are second only in utility to the Normal mode inside Photoshop. Now I'm going to convey a little bit of math to you. I know, not everybody is comfortable with math. Probably, most of you are not comfortable with math. However, I think it'll prove to be a tad bit insightful.

How opposite blend modes work

All right, this exercise may seem a little theoretical at first. But I want you to have as clear of an idea into how blend modes work as I can possibly convey. If nothing else, I want you to feel routinely confident in your use of the Multiply and Screen modes, because they are second only in utility to the Normal mode inside Photoshop. Now I'm going to convey a little bit of math to you. I know, not everybody is comfortable with math. Probably, most of you are not comfortable with math. However, I think it'll prove to be a tad bit insightful.

It'll give you a sense of what's going on. But again, it's not critical. We will get to some practical Photoshop stuff in this exercise. I've gone ahead and restored the saved version of Paper pushers.psd. I'm going to twirl open this text elements group. Inside, is a nested group called blend math. Go ahead and turn it on. You will see the math behind the Multiply, Screen, and Burn and Dodge modes. So Multiply it really is straight out multiplication. Check that out. It's A * B. Now what in the world does that even mean? Well, A is a pixel on the active layer.

B is a composite pixel below it; so A for active, B for below. These are luminance levels by the way on a channel by channel basis. Which may make some of you think, if you're multiplying luminance levels; you must be getting crazy bright, not darkening things up. Well, I'll come back to that later. But for now, just know that this is the math. Now you look at Screen and it doesn't seem to be the opposite at all. We've got all this one minuses all over the place. Well, anytime you see 1-, all it means is that the luminance level gets inverted.

So we're taking an inverted A times an inverted B. So that's pretty much the opposite of A*B. We're inverting that, in order to get the Screen effect. So that's how we end up getting opposite results is by inverting the luminance levels. Over here with Color Burn, we've got an inverted B divided by A. Then we're inverting the entire thing; whereas with Color Dodge, it's B divided by an inverted A. Then over here with Linear Burn, we're taking A Plus B. We're adding the luminance levels, and we're subtracting one.

What that means is we're essentially subtracting white. So again, we're getting an inversion there. Then Linear Dodge, it's just straight out A+B. So you might think, because Linear Dodge is Add, that is the same darn thing. You would think that the opposite of add would be subtract. It's not really the way it works inside of Photoshop. It's this inversion that gives us opposite effects. All right, so let's see what that means. I'll actually demonstrate that to you. I'll turn off that blend math, so that those of you who don't like math, can breathe easily now. I'll twirl close the text elements group.

Now let's go ahead and assign a blend mode to wrestlers. The mode I'm going to assign is Multiply by pressing Shift+Alt+M, or Shift+Option+M on the Mac. Then I'm going to bring up the layer Comps panel, which you can also do by the way by choosing the layer Comps commands from the Window menu. I'm going to create a new comp by clicking on this little Page icon. I'm going to call it Multiply. I'll make sure that not only Visibility is turned on, but Appearance is turned on as well. That's very important, because that's not only going to save your layer styles, like drop shadows, and that kind of stuff. But it's also going to save your blend modes, your opacity levels, any of the parametric blending stuff that's associated with the layer.

All right, go ahead and click OK in order to create that comp. All right, now let's see what an opposite effect would look like. I'm going to go ahead and hide the layer Comps panel for a moment. I'll press Shift+Alt+S, or Shift+Option+S on the Mac to change the wrestler's layer to its exact opposite, which is Screen. We end up keeping the wrestlers background, because it's white, and dropping out the dark portions of that layer. Now bear in mind, everybody is lightening. Even those very dark colors are lightening. The only color that's absolutely transparent right now is black. All right, it's just so that we can see the effects better, I'm going to twirl open this future stuff group.

I'm going to scroll to the bottom, and I'm going to turn on that invert adjustment layer. You may recall it, bright to dark. So bear in mind that's how the math was working, right? We're inverting that Background layer. All right, the next thing that I want to do, notice right now, we're seeing basically a negative effect of the image. That is, we're keeping the background information, and we're losing the foreground information, because the background was bright and the foreground was dark. Let's go ahead and turn that equation on its head by inverting this layer right here. We're going to do so, because we need to keep track of our changes in the layer Comps panel.

We're going to create this aversion parametrically. That is, we're going to apply it with an adjustment layer. So I'm going to twirl future stuff close again. With the wrestler's layer active, I'm going to add an invert layer by bringing out my Adjustments panel. Then I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on this first icon in the third row. That's for Invert. Because I have the Alt or Option key down, I'm getting the New layer dialog box. I'm going to call this layer couple bright, because they're going to become bright now, and their background is going to become dark. I'm going to turn on Use Previous layer to Create Clipping Mask, so that the effect is clipped just to the wrestler's layer.

It's affecting the wrestler's layer and nothing more. I'll click OK. We end up getting this effect right there. Now what we're seeing now is exactly the opposite. I'll go ahead and bring up the layer Comps panel for a moment. It's exactly the opposite of that Multiply effect. They are pixel for pixel opposites now. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z to Undo the application of that layer comp. To demonstrate that, I'm going to add, one more layer of inversion. This is going to affect the entire image now.

So I'll return to the Adjustments panel. Currently, the Invert layer is active. So we're seeing No options for Invert in this ginormous area. That's helpful. Then I'm going to click on this left pointing arrowhead in order to return to my list of adjustments and I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on this guy once again on that same Invert button. I'll call this one Invert All. I will not turn on the check box, I'll leave it off. I'll click OK. That inverts the effect we were seeing just a moment ago. Now to prove that they are opposites, I'm going to go ahead and bring up layer Comps.

I'll click to create a New layer Comp. I'll click on this little page icon. I'll call this one Screen Invert. Then I'll make sure that the Appearance check box is turned on. Click OK. Now this is the effect we've created using these Invert layers, and the Screen mode. This is the effect of using Multiply. So they are the same. Notice inverts are turned off now, the wrestler's layer is now set to Multiply, and so on. So we're getting identical effects. All right, as long as I've set up this structure here, I might as well demonstrate it for the other modes as well.

So with a wrestler's layer active, and having switched to the Multiply layer comp, I'll go ahead and change my mode from Multiply to Color Burn, so that we achieve this affect right here. I'll update my layer comp, because we're going to come back to it in just a moment by clicking on this Update icon. Why don't I go ahead and rename this Darken, instead, so that it's not specific to the Multiply mode. Now I'm going to go ahead and click in front of the Screen Invert, so that we're setting the wrestler's layer back to Screen. It's turning the Invert layers on as well. I'll change the mode from Screen to Color Dodge.

I'll go ahead and update this layer comp by clicking on the Update icon. I'll rename this layer comp Lighten invert. Now let's go and compare them. This is the Darken version that uses the Color Burn mode. This is the Lighten version that's using the Color Dodge mode. Again, they are pixel for pixel identical. All right, switch back to Darken once again. Now you might argue, I'm now belaboring the point, but I still want you to see it. I'm going to go ahead and switch from Color Burn to Linear Burn for wrestlers, and update that layer comp. Then I'll switch to Lighten invert right there, and change its mode from Color Dodge to Linear Dodge (Add), update that layer comp as well.

Now this is the Linear Burn version of the effect and this is the Linear Dodge version, again pixel for pixel identical. So the practical application of all this is, if you want a darkening effect, if you want to burn one image into another, then you apply one of the darkening blend modes. Multiply is your best bet with Linear Burn as a backup. If you want a lightening effect, such as the one I would achieve if I turn the Invert all layer off. Then you want to apply one of the brightening blend modes, in order to dodge one image into another. Your best bet is going to be Screen with Linear Dodge as a backup.

Everything is parametric. You're not harming a single pixel inside of your image and they are convenient and ultimately easy options to apply.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 44188 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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