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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.
In order to deep in and further our knowledge of how we can create compelling photographs in Photoshop, here we're going to explore the amazing world of Blending modes. Blending modes allow us to combine things together, so that when we combine them they somehow blend. It allows us to create something different. It's almost like we have two layers, and then when we blend them, the final result, well it's something that we couldn't have achieved without a blending mode. So here what I want to do is talk about the Blending modes dialog.
I also want to walk through a number of different examples of using Blending modes, working with images and sample files, and slides, so that you can have a really good working understanding of these modes, because these are powerful. They are powerful for making corrections and also for coming up with creative ways to modify your photographs. All right! Well here we have the Blending modes dialog. Now at first glance when we see this, either in the Layers panel or in some other areas as well, which I'll talk about in a few moments, it's kind of hard to look at.
There are all of these little words. What does all of this mean? Well the first key is you'll notice the Blending modes are grouped. If we can understand these groups, well this can be the key which will really help us unlock how Blending modes work. So let's take a look at these different groups. We can think of this first group as Blending modes which allow us to darken. The next group, these are Blending modes which allow us to brighten or lighten. Then we have that third group. This is really about contrast.
Next we have a group which allows us to create comparison and also creative effects. And then finally we have a group which allows us to blend or modify the way colors are combined, and this isn't over simplification. Yet, by thinking about these groups in this way can really help us understand, how we can start to tap into this strength of Blending modes. All right! Well let's take a look at how we can work with them. I'll go ahead and open up this as our guide over here and then what I want to do is march through a number of different slides, and my hope is that these slides will help us understand these modes.
Here I've the first slide, it's a grayscale, it's sitting on top of this image. I'll open up my Layers panel and I want to modify this grayscale right here. You can see it in my Layers panel. To do this, I'll go to my pulldown menu, and here I'll choose Darken. In this case, it's only affecting the darker pixels. It isn't doing anything to those brighter tones. Well what about if we take this to Lighten. Well you can guess what's going to happen here, right, it's exactly the opposite.
Okay well what then about say Overlay or Soft Light? Well what these do is they increase the whites and also the blacks. They deepen the blacks, but nothing happens to the midtones. Now if you can understand these three things, well this can really help you start to work with these modes. Let's take a look at this with another sample file here, in another slide. Here I've another grayscale. The three most common Blending modes that photographers use are Multiply, Screen, and Soft Light.
Let's try those out. Multiply, as we know, darken things. We can see it's creating this darkening effect. The next one is Screen. When we choose Screen, well it's going to brighten this side. Then we're going to go down and choose Soft Light. We already know what Soft Light does, right, the whites become wider, the blacks become deeper and darker. All right! Well that's kind of interesting but what about with a photograph? Let's take a look at how we can blend this into the background image. Let's use some of these similar Blending modes, say like Darken.
We'll compare that to Lighten, and then maybe even Soft Light. And by going through those Blending modes, you're starting to see that these kind of changed the way these two images interact or the way these images are blended together. Okay, well that's kind of interesting, but we still need to dig deeper. What about Color? We'll go ahead and target this layer, just a layer with the red rectangle. If we go to our Blending modes, we know that we can choose the different modes like Darken or Lighten.
You can see how it's changing the color and the underlying effect, and how it's modifying what's underneath it based on its color and also its tone, and then finally down at the bottom, the two perhaps most important for this, are Hue and Color. When we choose Hue, it's just affecting the background and not the gray at all because there isn't much color here. When we choose a Blending modes, say like Color, it's almost like we have a transparent sheet of color on top of our image. We can see through it to the texture and tone.
That's a really helpful Blending mode when it comes to blending color into our photographs. Let's look at one more slide which will help us understand color as well. In this layer, rather than going through all the Blending modes which we've already seen, what I want to do here is highlight one final Blending mode and that is Luminosity. Luminosity actually removes the color. It just shows us the luminance value of these different color areas, and it removes or reduces a lot of the color there.
So why is this a good blending mode? Well it's a great blending mode for layers that you've sharpened. You can sharpen those layers, and in doing that, sometimes you can bring out noise or problems. By changing the Blending mode to Luminosity, well this can help out a lot, and as you can start to imagine these different Blending modes have different uses for when working with photographs. All right! Well let's take a look at now where we can find these Blending modes. Well here you can see we have this dialog, we've talked about that. We'll find this dialog in our Layers panel.
We'll also find it in the Options bar for a number of different tools. Here are a few just to highlight. In other words, we can change the way a layer blends. We can also change the way our brush stroke or cloning or healing or other tools blend in to what we're created. All right! Well to recap, Blending modes, they allow us to combine two things together, so that we can come up with a unique result. They allow us to blend in a way that helps us to create something that we couldn't have created without using Blending modes.
And now that we know a little bit about how these Blending modes work, let's put what we've learned to practice and let's do that in the rest of this chapter.
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