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The blend modes in Photoshop offer incredible creative options for designers and photographers wanting to enhance images. In Photoshop Blend Mode Magic, Michael Ninness shows Photoshop users how to access and apply blend modes efficiently to achieve an aesthetic vision. He explains the building blocks of layer blending and demonstrates how blend modes can be used for color correction, sharpening, blending images together, adding dramatic glow, applying custom edge treatments, and many other creative effects. Michael also introduces advanced blending options for more experienced Photoshop users. Most of all, he demystifies this essential feature in plain, easy-to-understand terms and inspires photographers to use blend modes in ways they may have never considered before. Exercise files accompany the course.
Here is an image where we have got a little bit of blown out detail in the highlights. You can see in the hair here where the sun was hitting the blond towhead here that you are getting blown out detail there. Also in the side of the face, here in the cheek and the shoulders as well. There is a loss of detail on the shirt and across the shoulder as well. So how do we go about in getting some detail? Well the first thing you want to do is do your Channel lock. You want to investigate the individual channels of the document, to see if there is detail in a channel that you might be able to borrow from. So as a reminder to do the Channel lock you hold on the Command key or Ctrl on Windows and do 3, 4 or 5. So Command+3 is the red channel and you can see there that now there is really no detail in the blown out area in the red channel.
Command or Ctrl+4 takes you to the green channel. You can see it's still little bit better and we got a little bit more detail on the hair here, but not much elsewhere. And then Command+5 or Ctrl+5 and now look at that. We actually have quite a better detail in these blown out highlights and in the shirt and across the shoulder. So by doing the channel walk we have actually discovered that there is some detail in this image just in a particular channel that we might want to borrow from. Command+2 or Ctrl+ 2 to take us back in the RGB Composite. So how do I steal detail from one channel and push it down into the others? We use our friend the Channel Mixer adjustment layer. I'm going to go my Adjustment panel, and choose the Channel Mixer button. We have the option to turn on Monochromes. We are going to click that check box and then we just need to zero out the channels that we don't care about.
So I'm going to make Red zero and hit the Tab key and I'll make Green zero, hit the Tab key one more time and I'm going to make the Blue channel 100% and now it's as if we are actually looking at that Blue channel. Press Enter or Return there. But indeed it is an adjustment layer that's given us the illusion of this grayscale image. I can turn that on or off and I still have my color version underneath it. Next we want change the blend mode of this grayscale channel layer here back and push it back down into the composite RGB Color image underneath. To view that we are going to change the blend mode to Luminosity.
Because remember Luminosity just gives us the detail and I'm pushing the back through. I'm blending it with the color. Now you actually get two tips for the price of one here because if you take a look at this image now, she kind of looks like she is very sunburn or a little bit tan. So if would you actually want bronze somebody, it's a great technique. Just create a Channel Mixer adjustment layer or grayscale Black & White adjustment layer and change the blend mode to Luminosity and then with your Move tool selected just type a number to lower the Opacity and so if I make it 50%, here is before and here is after. It's just the way that kind of make them look like they had a little color or a little sunshine, very helpful if you live in Seattle.
So I'm going to take that back to 0 to 100%. So what we are going to do is we are going to mask in the detail where we want to add the detail in the highlight areas. So to begin, well let's go ahead and invert this layer mask. It's easier just paint in what we want to keep, as opposed to painting out everything we don't want. So Command+I, Ctrl+I to invert to that mask. It fills that layer mask with black, which essentially hides everything in that adjustment layer. I'm going to B for my Brush tool. Pick a nice large soft brush here and we are going to start with the very low Opacity, say 20% or 30% by just pressing it 2 or 3 in your keyboard, and we are going to paint with white against this black layer mask.
So layer mask filled with black. I'm going to paint with white as our foreground color. If it's not your foreground color you can press X until it is. And let's just start gently painting a few strokes at a time over these blown out highlights areas. Now it's not going to be perfect. It's not going to be as if you shot the image perfectly the first time but all we are trying to accomplish here is bringing down those hot spots so that our eye doesn't go to that bright spot on the hair at first. We want to focus here on the face and the eyes. We will just come in along the cheek here a little bit. You will really notice it on the shirt. Look at the strap here I'm bringing that flower detail in.
Just get just a low opacity, just pressing and dragging, just a little bit. One stroke at a time. It's really helpful to actually turn this on and off occasionally. Now here is before and there is after. It may not seem like you are actually doing much. But when you see the before and after you can really see the impacts it's having. So I'll come over here in this side of the hair, bring down some of those hot spots and I'm just doing multiple strokes here, just clicking and dragging multiple times. I'm going to come through the part of the hair here come back over on the left side and it's just really up to your taste.
I'm going to come a little bit under the eye a little bit. Again this side of the neck. You don't want to overdo it but just kind of even out the tones and just get out some of these hot spots that are distracting from the rest of the image here. Okay that's probably getting enough to kind of show you the technique. Here is before and there is after and it's a very good use of our friend the Luminosity blend mode, where you are stealing detail from a channel that had it by converting that into an adjustment layer. Channel Mixer's probably your best bet there and then changing the blend mode of that to Luminosity and just masking off where you wanted to show up.
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