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Advanced Blending is the second installment in Deke McClelland's series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course explores blending options and shows how to use them to create sophisticated effects and seamless compositions, often without masking. Beginning with the basics of blending layered images, the course sheds light on the formulas behind the Photoshop blend modes and shows how to comp scanned line art, create double-exposure effects, correct skin tones, and work with the luminance sliders.
All right, now let's see a compositional application of a Darken Blend Mode. We are going to take this last version of the model, Linear Burned against the marble background and we're going to mask her, so that she doesn't have any of that marble texture running through her face or skin tones, and it's an easy mask to create, thanks to the fact that we have an underlying layer of darkening to work with. All right! I have saved this version of the image as Linear burn.psd, found inside the 04_darken folder, and I am going to go ahead and turn off that Levels adjustment layer for now, we'll come back to it and then click on the model layer in order to select it, and I'll press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac in order to jump it to a new layer.
And I'll go ahead and return this layer to the Normal Blend Mode by pressing Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N on the Mac. Now we need to mask away the background, it's a flat light background. So it's pretty easy to do, by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Color Range command or if you loaded DekeKeys, you can press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+O or Command+Shift+Option+O on the Mac. Now I'm going to click in the background and Shift+drag around in various locations in the background, just to make sure I have the entire thing selected.
A Fuzziness value of 40 is just fine. I'm assuming that your Invert checkbox is turned off. Then go ahead and click OK to select that background. We are selecting into the skin as well, that's okay. All right, now let's apply that selection as a mask by dropping down to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the panel and Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on it, and I pressed Alt or Option, because I want to mask away the background, as opposed to keeping it. Now notice that I've masked away her forehead and parts of the left hand side of her face and neck as well. That's a problem that we can address very easily by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on the Layer Mask thumbnail, so we can see the mask independently of the rest of the image. Then I am going to switch to the Brush Tool, which you can get by pressing the B key. I'll right click inside the Image window in order to bring up the Brush panel.
Notice that my Size value is set to 250 pixels, that doesn't really matter that much, what does matter is that the Hardness is set to 0%, that's what we want. So I'll go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that. I need to make sure that my foreground color is set to white, which it is and I'll change the Mode from Normal to Overlay, because we're going to be doing that overlay paining trick that allows us to paint away the whites, while at the same time protecting the blacks. All right, now I'll paint inside of the mask like so, and down here around the neck as well and into the shoulders in order to tighten up those edges.
All right, now I need to paint away the stuff inside of her face and down here along her neck. So I'll switch back to the Normal mode just by pressing Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N on the Mac and because the Brush Tool is selected, that changes the mode for the brush as opposed to the layer. Then I need to right click inside the Image window and crank the Hardness value up 100%, and I'll paint away these areas like so, and so, I don't want to paint next to the edge, just near it, in order to get rid of all those details. All right, now I need to firm up the blacks in the background, so I'll right-click in the Image window and restore the Hardness to 0% and press the Enter key a couple of times, the Return key a couple of times on the Mac, press the X key in order to change the foreground color to black, and then I need to change the Mode back to Overlay, which you can do by pressing Shift+Alt+O or Shift+Option+O on the Mac.
And again, because the Brush Tool is active, that changes the mode for the brush, not the layer. Now I'll go ahead and paint along the sides of the hair and the neck and down here along the shoulder region. We've got some areas over on this side that need to be painted to black as well, and that finishes off our mask. It's pretty much that easily done. Go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click on the Layer Mask thumbnail in order to return to the full color composite image. All right, now at this point, it looks like we have some pretty brutal transitions around the left side of the hair, as well as the right side of the hair, her ear is too bright, and so we need to mask some of those details away, and I'll show you how that masking works in the next exercise.
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