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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Here we are going to take a look at how we can use Blending modes in order to correct and enhance our photographs in some interesting ways. We'll be working with three different pictures and we are going to start off with this one here. This photograph is over-exposed. So what I want to do is learn how I can use Blending modes and how I can use these efficiently in order to correct things say like Exposure or Color. Well, first let's go ahead and copy our Background layer, we can do so by clicking and dragging this to the new layer icon or by pressing Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on Windows.
Next, we know that there are set of Blending modes which allow us to darken our pictures. So let's go ahead and choose one of those and let's try Multiply. This one typically works well in situations like this. Well, here you can see what Multiply did is it brought down the overall exposure from this all the way down to this. You next want to customize this. In order to do that you can go ahead and lower the Opacity so you can determine how far you want to go in regards to this overall darkening effect. And here we have our before and then our after.
Now we can do this by copying or duplicating layers or we can simply do this with adjustment layers. And when we use an adjustment layer, it actually takes up less file size. Let me show you what I mean. Here I'll delete this layer by pressing Delete or Backspace. Next, I'll click on one of my Adjustment layer icon say like Curves. And with Curves I am not going to make any adjustments at all. I'm just leaving it as is. Next, with this Adjustment layer, with no adjustments applied, we are going to go to our Blending mode pull-down menu and choose Multiply once again.
What you'll see is exactly the same if you would copy that Background layer. The reason why I wanted to show you this though is because this is more efficient. Again it takes up less file size and here we can go ahead and decrease this or we could also make adjustments with this layer as well. Well let's jump to another image. We are going to now move to this photograph here, this one is portrait.jpg. In this case this photograph, it's lacking contrast and also brightness. So I could either copy the Background layer or I could create an Adjustment layer, either technique works.
Here let's go ahead and copy the Background layer and let's do this twice. Press Command+J on a Mac twice, press Ctrl+J on Windows twice. What I want to do is have one layer which allows me to bring back some contrast, so I'll go ahead and name this layer contrast, if I can spell this correctly. And next I want this one to brighten up my image or lighten it. So let's go ahead and turn off the visibility of those Eye icons there for a moment and then turn on the visibility for brighten and target that layer. Well, with this layer we know that we have a few different Blending modes which we can use which will brighten up our image.
Lighten and Screen those work really well. If we choose Screen or if we choose Lighten, what we'll see is a brightening effect. Here with this image, Screen works better; it gives us a better boost of those tones. Yet the image is flat. I need contrast. So we'll click on this topmost layer and target that one and then choose the Blending mode say of Soft Light and by doing this, this will now have this really nice contrast. Take a look at our overall progress. Here is before and now here's after.
And even more, we can then dial in how much contrast we want by clicking in that layer and lowering the Opacity. We can also control our brightness by clicking in this layer and then lowering the Opacity of that Blending mode. And we can find the sweet spot for our image, so that in this case this portrait, it has presence and intensity. Again, here is that before and then after. And the point with this image is to think about how you can use multiple blending modes together in order to come up with some really stunning results. Alright! Well the last image we are going to look at is this one here and this time what I want to do is I want to apply a Blending mode which will bring out my colors.
A great Blending mode to do that is Soft Light. So here once again we can either copy the Background layer or click on the Adjustment layer icon, both techniques they do the same thing. Let's click on the Adjustment layer icon just to keep things simple here and to keep our file size down. And the next I'll go to my pull-down menu and here I'll choose Soft Light and by choosing that, with this photograph we can see that wow! Those colors they just now sing, I mean those are warm and beautiful.
This won't make all of your photographs look like this, but Soft Light adds really nice contrast and also color saturation. And we can use this Blending mode in a lot of different situations where we want to bring out contrast if you can see here and also where we want to bring out some of that color saturation. So here's my hope. My hope is that by showing you these different examples, the first one where we looked at how we could use a Blending mode in order to darken, we can use that to correct exposure or other times we may need to use a blending mode to brighten things up and also add some contrast.
How we can use or stack multiple blending modes together? Here we also talked about how you can increase or decrease your Opacity in order to change or dial in the effect. And then the final one that we looked at, was this one here and with this one we talked about how we can use that Soft Light blending mode and how that can help us out with contrast and color saturation.
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