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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 have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as a document called This Statue is toast.psd. So called because I have burned the statue, get it? And we are now going to investigate the Lightening modes, it's not lightning, but Lightening, the modes that use one layer to lighten others. I'm going to go ahead and click on a Gradient layer and turn it on, so it's nice and active here. Notice by the way, that blend mode start behaving very differently when they are interacting with different layers. So now that I'm interacting with the layer of opaque white, as we are seeing here white going to black of course, because it's a gradient. This linear burned layer is looking quite different, we don't have any of those sizzling saturation values, anymore, it's pretty leaden looking by comparison, but we'll fix that.
Anyway go to Gradient and the Lightening modes, go from Lighten to Lighter Color. As I was telling you, each one of these modes in order is the compliment to the darkening modes in order, so the opposite of darken is lighten, the opposite of darker color is lighter color, the opposite of good old wonderful Multiply is good old wonderful Screen and so on. All right so let's choose Lighten, when all of these modes are going to drop out the black by the way, they are going to keep the lights in the whites and the they are going to drop out the darks in the blacks and we'll see that happen, so we are going to see this area go away and this area stay. So I'll choose lighten and sure enough we see these bright stay down here in the lower left corner of the image.
However, we also see some pretty awfully reduced saturation values going on. So I'll turn off the Gradient layer for a moment so that you can see that the colors were much stronger before, in the clouds, look at these cloud areas right here in the background layer. Now I'll turn on the gradient and they go very gray as you can see. Well, what's happening is Photoshop is keeping the colors inside the Gradient layer, if they are lighter than the colors below on a channel by channel basis. So it's making this decision differently in one channel, the red channel for example than it is in the green channel and the blue channel. And you could see that by switching channels if you have a mind to, but I'll tell you what, if you don't want that kind of effect, if you want abrupt transitions but also colors that are more accurately in tune with the original Gradient layer, then you switch from lighten to lighter color and you get this effect here with these nice jagged transitions, and when I say nice and jagged, I mean ugly and jagged.
But you also keep the original colors in the Gradient layer, so it's different. Is it better? No, not here, it isn't and it's unlikely to better ever, but in my opinion it is the least of the lightening modes, next very close by in terms of being the loser in the lightening race is lightening. Then the winner though is Screen, so I'm going to switch to lightening for a moment so that we can see it. And then we'll switch from Screen so that we can yet and watch those black luster clouds right there the ones that are just turning gray on us, those shadows.
When I switch it to Screen, we get just a very nice even bounce. Now it's a very bright effect, and much brighter effect than we were seeing before. But notice that no hint of black survives, the colors is just naturally transition, it's as if we have a white to transparent gradient going, because any place where we have got grays, the whiteness of that gray remains and the blackness of that gray just disappears from the view. It's an amazing mode. Now as I was saying, it's the opposite of the Multiply mode, but whereas multiply is named after its underlying math, Screen is named its analogous effect. So let's discuss what's going with the Screen.
Imagine that you have the gradients you have captured it on a 35-millimeter slide, old school slide, okay. And then you have captured the background on another old school 35-millimeter slides and you put them both in different old school projectors and you shine them both at the exact same old school screen. Hence the word Screen here. If you were to project the gradient on to the background as we are doing right here, you would get this very effect where we are just uniformly lightening the appearance of the image and it's splendid for glows, it's splendid if you want to keep the whites and disappear the blacks, it's just a great mode all of the way around and it is by the way, if I were to rank the modes now, that we have gone through these guys so far, it would be Normal is number one, Multiply is number two and Screen is number three and that is the case including all the other modes.
I have to tell you, that Screen is the third best mode that there is which is why you should remember its keyboard shortcut which is Shift+Alt+S or Shift+Option+S on the Mac, very easy to remember. Then if you want to try some higher impact modes why then you would switch to your Dodge modes. I am going to show you those by pressing Shift++ so this is what I typically do where I start with green, Shift+Alt+ S, Shift+Option+S on a Mac and then Shift+Plus++ my way to Color Dodge, wow! And we are going to get a sizzling hot effect here with hyper saturated mid tones as you can see, we are going to blow some highlights, that's par for the course with Color Dodge and then if you want an even brighter effect but with more tempered saturation values then you would press Shift++ to move on to Linear Dodge and in parenthesis Add, Linear Dodge (Add) The reason that they have added (Add) in parenthesis in last version is to settle any debate that Linear Dodge was somehow different than the Add mode, there is an Add and Subtract mode; two different mode that haven't seen and we aren't going to see here in the Layers palette that are available to us in the Apply Image and Calculation dialog boxes. And there were some conjecture that somehow Linear Dodge produced the different effect than Add, Add is the exact same effect, it's just A+B by the way it's just adding the luminance levels.
Add has a few more controls inside of the dialog boxes and I explore Add and Subtract in all kind of detail in my Photoshop CS3 Channels and Mask series which you should avail yourself of the second you get down with this series because it takes you to the next level I swear to you, I would not lie. But Linear Dodge is adding the color values. Now you may recall from the previous exercise that Color Burn and Linear Burn are effected differently by Fill than they are by Opacity and that goes for their opposites too or their compliments I should say, Linear Dodge and Color Dodge. So, whereas Lighten, Screen and Lighter Color all are affected identically in the exact same way by the Opacity and Fill Opacity these guys are affected differently.
So just for the sake I'm not going to show you every single permutation, quite the way we did in the previous exercise but I'll do this. We'll compare a couple. This is a difference between 40% Opacity. So a very tempered effect now, sort of less than we were seeing with Screen and yet here we are using linear Dodge, it's just high impact brightening mode there. Now I'll restore the Opacity to 100% by pressing the 0 key and I'll press Shift+4 for a Fill Opacity of 40% and now let's compare the two. Here is the Opacity value, notice the lack of hyper saturated colors there and here is 40% Fill Opacity.
Notice the bountiful hyper saturated colors. We are going to stick with the hyper saturated colors people, in fact we love them so much that we are going to go right here to the Layer Comps palette, join me if you will, and we are going to create another New Layer Comp and we are going to call this Gradient is Dodge or something to that effect and then you can go ahead and enter helpful description if you want to in this location there, and then you can click OK. Make sure of course, that the Appearance check box is turned on.
Also important because if you don't turn it on then it's going to memorize anything except for the fact that a gradient layer is now visible, but it won't remember what that blend mode is, then click OK. Now you got yourself another layer comp I want you to put it right there, after Face to LBurn, but before blend mode madness. So now we have gone from here to here in one liberating exercise. Well I don't know what was so liberating about it. But in the next educational exercise. How's that? we'll take a look at the contrast modes, you have got to love them.
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