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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
I've gone ahead and saved my work so far as a document called Inexplicable darkness.psd, found inside the 18_ advanced_layers folder, so called because the darkness that has set in on the Badlands is totally inexplicable except to say that I created it using a Gradient that I then clipped inside of this Badlands layer, that has a layer mask associated with it. I would now like you to turn on the Moon layer, so that we can see it in the background. Go ahead and click on the Moon layer as well to make it active. Now, let's zoom in. Now, so far we don't have the most photo-realistic effect, some very keen-eyed observer might look at it and say, "Hey, that's not quite right, you shouldn't see this moon on a billboard here in the background." So, I'll tell you what, we're going to integrate it with the scene using not only a basic blend mode, which we saw at link in the previous chapter. But also, using this special wonderful function inside of Photoshop that I have just been itching to share with you, that's known as Luminance Blending and it's so great, it's so awesome, it's so useful! It's actually kind of hard to get good work done without it, quite frankly.
Anyway, in all these movies so far, we've been living without it, no more I tell you. All right. So we want the moon to be sort of lightening its background, let's say, brightening things up. Because, it needs to sit in front of the sky, i.e., in front of the blue of the sky which represents the general atmosphere. But it needs to be behind the clouds, because the clouds would, of course, appear in front of the moon. That's the way life works after all, the clouds are closer to us, the moon is farther away. All right. So, if I want the moon to lighten its background, then I want to choose the foremost lightening mode inside of the Layers palette here and which mode is that? Ding, ding, ding, Screen.
So, go ahead and choose the Screen mode, or you can press Ctrl+Alt+S, Command+Option+S on the Mac, and watch what happens to all that blackness there. It goes away or almost goes away. Apparently, it wasn't entirely black, so if there's any residual light at all inside of that background, it's going to show up as some sort of lightness when you assign the Screen mode. So, I'm going to press the Escape key in order to make the Screen mode no longer active here on the PC. Then I'm going to press the I key for the Eyedropper. Let's bring up the Color palette for a moment, notice that currently, our foreground color is black as indicated by 0, 0, 0.
Black, by the way, will show up as utterly transparent, when you assign the Screen mode. So apparently, this blackness outside the moon was not black. If I click to see what that color was, just for laughs, just because I'm interested, then it's going to change to blue. Notice I just lifted blue, because I lifted the composite color, whatever color Photoshop found at the click point there. It went ahead and lifted it to foreground color. That's not what I want, I want the original color that's assigned to that layer, not the composite.
So, I'll go up to Sample up here in the Options bar and this is a new option inside Photoshop CS4 and boy, does it rock! Go ahead and click and choose Current Layer, so you can lift the color that's actually on that layer and nothing more and now click and notice what I got. I got 34, 30, 34, that's a very dark color. It looks black, really, but it's not quite black and Photoshop sees that it's not black and thus, it goes ahead and brightens things up ever so slightly with the Screen mode, just want you to be aware of what's going on there. All right, so let's switch back to the Rectangular Marquee, just for the heck of it, just switch back to the default tool. How do I make that darkness drop away? Well, I invoke Luminance Blending inside Photoshop and you do that by going to the Advanced Blending Features. Anytime you want to get to Advanced Blending inside of Photoshop, anytime that the Blend Mode and Opacity and Fill don't quite do the trick for you and you need more, then you go to the layer, the Moon layer in our case and you double-click on it.
Now, if it's a Pixel layer, you can double-click on its thumbnail. But just to be safe, it's best because this works with any kind of layer, whether it's a Type layer or an adjustment layer or a vector-based shape layer or any of those kinds of things, you go ahead and double-click on the empty region over here, not the name, because that allows you to rename the layer, but double-click over in this region. That will bring up the big old Layer Style dialog box and it will take you to the Blending Options panel right here and then you drop down from General Blending, which is just Blend Mode and Opacity, to Advanced Blending. Then in this area that's outside of Advanced Blending, which is like Ultra Advanced Blending, those are our Luminance Blending options right there. I'm going to show you how they work in the next exercise.
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