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You may have heard me bandy about an unfamiliar and frankly geeky term, but now I need to tell you what it means. The term is parametric and it's second only to Photoshop as the most important word in your image editing vocabulary. A parametric operation is one that relies on parameters. In other words, you might change a numerical value, or you might select an option from a pop-up menu, or you might select a checkbox. Regardless, nothing is permanent. Everything is changeable, everything is flexible, everything you can do, you can later do better.
By way of example, I offer this chapter. It's all about Opacity, which lets you make a layer translucent, and Blend Mode, which permits you to blend layers with each other in a variety of amazing ways. Because both are parametric, you can apply them, change your mind, and make adjustments without penalty. They work with any kind of layer; whether that layer contains pixels, text, vector-based shapes, or even a color correction. The only downside is with weird names like Color Burn and Linear Light, it's very difficult to anticipate their behavior. In fact, if everything in Photoshop were as opaque as blend modes, the program would be, well, what it is, which is why I shine light, dark, and contrast on the subject in the following exercises.
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