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Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light

All right, in reviewing this composition, it strikes me that the effect of the center of the light bulb, this glow here is too bright and the reason is that I went ahead and lifted a color with the eye-dropper and after Blend mode color from one of these sharpie lines and then not only apply that color to the glow layer, but then turned around and applied the Screen mode to it, so in other words I re-doubled the effect. If I want to get a color scheme that's similar to the one that I achieved using the sharpie lines, I need to work with that exact same color. So to remember what that is I'll go ahead and double-click on the Color Overlay effect, that's associated with a that sharpie lines layer, click on the color swatch and there're my values 40, 65 and a 100, fair enough.

Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light

All right, in reviewing this composition, it strikes me that the effect of the center of the light bulb, this glow here is too bright and the reason is that I went ahead and lifted a color with the eye-dropper and after Blend mode color from one of these sharpie lines and then not only apply that color to the glow layer, but then turned around and applied the Screen mode to it, so in other words I re-doubled the effect. If I want to get a color scheme that's similar to the one that I achieved using the sharpie lines, I need to work with that exact same color. So to remember what that is I'll go ahead and double-click on the Color Overlay effect, that's associated with a that sharpie lines layer, click on the color swatch and there're my values 40, 65 and a 100, fair enough.

I'll cancel out of there and then inside the color panel I'll dial in those very same HSB values, 40, 65 and a 100. I'll switch to the glow layer and I'll press Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Option+Delete in order to fill that glow with that same color and now by setting the shade of orange to the screen mode, I achieve a very similar effect, in fact, I like it so much that I'm going to go ahead and update my progress file by choosing the Save command here and that progress file goes by the name Bright shining light.psd.

Here's another file in that same folders, it's called model with skies, skies plural, that is .psd and you may recall this composition from the masking chapter. This time around, I'm going to use the composition to demonstrate the contrast modes, that is those modes from overlay all the way down to hard mix, so in the name of giving credit where credits to, the model comes to us from Stas Perov, the blue sky background from Louise and this orange sky background right there comes to us from Free Photo, they're all associated with the Fotolia Image Library.

And so what I'm going to do here is I'm going to take this sunlight layer and I'm going to mask it inside of the model by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on this horizontal line between the layers and that gives us a clipping mask effect and I think it a really great one actually, because we're seeing the yellow sky inside this silhouette, but I think we might do even better if we add a blend mode to the mix. So I'm going to switch from Normal to the Lead Contrast mode which is Overlay and that's where I suggest you to start as well as with the Overlay mode, then you can make decisions about whether you need to switch it out for a different mode after that, we end up getting this effect.

Now, overlay combines multiply along with screen and it's basically multiplying the darkest colors inside the image and screening the lightest colors and the only neutral color, the one color that ends up turning transparent is gray, so a medium gray. Now overlay, in the other contrast modes, they are all making if-then decisions, so if the colors are dark that is darker than medium gray, go ahead and multiply or apply some other variation on a darkening mode and then if they're lighter than that medium gray, apply screen or some other variation on a lightning mode.

However, overlay differs from the others, in that it makes its decision based on the brightness of the background layers, so if the background layers are dark, it's going to darken, if the background layers are light, it's going to lighten. All the other modes make their decisions based on the brightness of the active layer, so that's something to bear in mind issue work along. Now, if you discover that the Overlay mode is just too much, I'm not sure it is in this case, but if you do, then you can always reduce the opacity value, if you want to, so you can experiment with that or you can switch to the next mode in a list which is Soft Light and I'm going to switch by pressing Shift+Plus.

Now, what I want to stress here is soft light is not merely a reduced opacity version of overlay, it is in fact a totally different effect that produces much more subtle results, so you're going to see a lot of the color from the active layer but you're not going to see nearly as much of the luminance and of course you have to bear in mind, its making its decisions based on the brightness of the active layer, not the layers below as overlay does. All right so, let's say in our case, so we didn't think overlay was enough, I'll switch back to it by pressing Shift+Alt+O or Shift+Option+O on the Mac.

if you want to up the effect then you can switch to a more opaque version of overlay, which is hard light, so if I press Shift+Alt+H or Shift+Option+H on the Mac, then I get the hard light effect and what you're going to notice is that many of your primaries when set to a 100% saturation are going to end up going opaque and then you're going to float into various levels of translucency in between, when set to hard light. Another thing to note about hard light is that it's a commuted version of overlay. Now, I don't expect you to know what that means right off the bat, but here's what's up.

If two blend modes are commuted versions of each other, then applying hard light to the active layer is going to produce the same effect as applying overlay to the layer below and switching the order of the layers, so let me show you what that looks like. Memorize, what you're seeing right now, just try to make a mental image of that and now I'm going to adjust the order of the layers. So I'm going to move sunlight down to underneath what's now called Normal. Let's just call this the model layer. It was formerly named after its Blend mode. We don't need to know that right now. I'll go ahead and drag that layer mask down onto the sunlight layer, so that it's in charge of the masking and then I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click in the horizontal line between the layers like so and then I'm going to change the Blend mode associated with the model layer from Normal to Overlay and notice that we get the exact same effect. Do we? No, we don't because I forgot to change this guy from Hard Light back to Normal.

So let's change that to Normal, there we go. So now that this layer is Normal and this one right there set to Overlay, we're getting the same effect as we got a moment ago, when we had hard light applied to the sunlight layer and the reason this becomes important is because you have all of this flexibility inside of Photoshop, not only do you have the option of changing your mind about which Blend mode to assign, but you can also adjust the priority of the effects by changing the order of the layers. So quite obviously, I think here, you can see that overlay puts the background layers in charge, while hard light goes ahead and puts the active layer in charge of the effect and now that I change the model layer to Hard Light as you see right there, we're seeing that same effect that we saw closer to the beginning of the exercise, when I had overlay assigned to the sunlight layer.

So just bear in mind that you can mix and match these effects as much as you want, we can also up the ante further by switching to yet more contrast modes and I'll show you how those work, in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43682 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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