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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.
In this chapter we'll be taking a look at the normal modes. Now the first of the normal modes is Normal, which turns the Blend Mode off, not really anymore to say about that. The other modes are Dissolve, which I'll demonstrate inside this exercise. We also have a couple of other modes behind and clear that are associated with the Brush Tool and the Fill command and we'll see how those work in future exercises. I'm working in a file called Circles. psd found inside the 03_normal folder, and I'm going to start things off by switching the Blend Mode from Normal to Dissolve.
You're not going to see much of a difference I'll go ahead and zoom on in here, so that we can see those edges, and you know what, I'll zoom to 200%, so you can see how things have gotten a little bit ratty along those edges. And what's happing here is, Photoshop is converting those edges to either absolutely opaque or absolutely transparent. So we're losing the anti-aliasing and then anti-alias edge is getting resolved as a dither pattern. Now it doesn't look much more than ratty at this point, let's go ahead and zoom back out by pressing Ctrl+ 0 or Command+0 on the Mac.
If you really want to get a sense of what Dissolve is doing then try pressing for example the 5 key in order to reduce the opacity to 50%, and you'll see that instead of getting the standard expression of translucency which is what we get if we were looking at the circle in the Normal Mode and just for the sake of demonstration I'll press Shift+ Alt+N or Shift+Option+N on the Mac to switch back to Normal and now you can see that we have your everyday average 50% opaque circle. Alright, I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to switch back to dissolve. So that's one way to exploit the Dissolve Mode, I'm going to press the 0 key in order to restore the Opacity to 100%.
Here is something else you can do. Go up to the Filter menu and choose Blur and then choose Gaussian Blur and let's go ahead and increase that Blur value to something like 25 pixels and you can see that the entire blurred area, which is ultimately an expression of translucency turns into a dithered noise pattern. Now I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept the effect. So that's the basics of what's going on with the Dissolve Mode. In the next exercise I'll show you how Dissolve becomes a more powerful Blend Mode when assigned to a Layer Mask.
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