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Sometimes we can use our Blending Modes to "select" our colors, and I say select in inverted commas, because we are not really selecting them, but we are getting the result that we want by neutralizing them. Now in this case, I have this layer of handwriting on top of this layer of sand and I want to superimpose the script onto the sand, so we need to lose the paper color of the top layer. Now, we don't even want to go near any Selection tool because, none of them are going to be up to the job here.
This handwriting is far too delicate to withstand the abuse of the Magic Wand tool for the Quick Selection tool, so we are not going to do that. Instead, what we are going to do is we are going to change the Blending Mode of that layer to Multiply and that is going to allow us to see the sand texture beneath. But, there is a problem here and that is that the background of the paper. If I switch it back to Normal, it's not pure white. It's a yellow color. So it's casting a yellow onto the sand below, which we don't want.
So we are going to have to go a little bit further. Firstly, what I am going to do is I am going to desaturate this, and I can do that from Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or keyboard shortcut Command+Shift+U or Ctrl+Shift+U.That helps a bit, but still the top layer is having a dulling effect on the background layer and that's because, if we take a look at it by itself, we see that the paper is now no longer yellow, but it's not white either and it needs to be pure white in order to be neutralized by the Multiply Blend Mode.
It's actually a light gray. And this is where our Info panel can really come in handy, because it's sometimes difficult to distinguish with our eye the difference between a very light gray and white. So I am going to go to my Info panel and then when I move over the paper, I see that RGB values reflect a level of 225, remember, pure white is 255 for all three colors. So what I am going to do is I am going to go to my levels and I don't need to do this as an adjustment layer; I am going to do this as a static adjustment directly on to layer 1.
So I am going to press Command+L or Ctrl+L and I am going to change the value from 255 to 225, effectively getting my white point slider, bringing it to the left and that's enough to make those light grays pure white. As pure white, they are going to be completely neutralized by the Multiply blend mode. So there, we've selected the handwriting and masked the background. We are not really selecting it though; we are neutralizing it with the Multiply blend mode, because very importantly, the Multiply blend mode will neutralize white.
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