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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.
All right, now at this point we have a pretty good mask, but it's not sensational. We do have some brittle details around the edges here. I'm not altogether convinced that she really belongs against this marble background. So what we're going to do is darken up some of the edges and we can't do that because we have this dark version of the model right here in the background, and as a result we can adjust our mask to reveal portions of that darkened image. And as you'll see this adjustment once again relies on a darkened mode. I've saved my progress as Base mask.psd, it's found inside the 04_darken folder.
And what we're going to do is blur the mask inward. We're going to make sure it blurs inward only, thanks to the Multiply mode. But before we go changing our mask because this will be a destructive modification at least in so far as the mask is concerned, I suggest we save it out as an alpha channel. So switch over to the Channels panel and grab that layer mask right there and drag it onto the little page icon at the bottom of the panel to make a copy of it and then let's go ahead and name this copy original and now we've got it saved, so we can always come back to, if we need to.
All right, now switch back to the RGB image once again, switch to the Layers panel as well, and then click on the layer mask thumbnail to make sure it's selected. Go up to the Filter menu and choose Blur and then choose Gaussian Blur, and I'm going to apply a big helping of blur and we can get a sense of what's going on by clicking along one of the edges here. And notice that I've taken the Radius value up to 20 pixels, and I can see the results of that radius here inside the dialog box. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. Now notice, if you zoom-in here, you can see that the blur is going both directions.
It's not only blurring into the model, it's also blurring outward, and as a result, she has the effect of a kind of a halo, surrounding every portion of her face and hair and so forth. So to eliminate that halo, you go up to the Edit menu and you choose Fade Gaussian Blur or you can press that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+F, Command+Shift+F on the Mac and let's go ahead and switch the blend mode from Normal to Multiply. So we're switching the mode applied to that blur after the fact, and notice now that we've lost the halo, but we're keeping the blur, it's just that it exclusively extends inward.
Now click OK in order to accept that change. All right, now let's go ahead and zoom back out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac. Few more modifications need to be made. Her ear is still a little bit bright it seems to me and we still have a little bit of brightness around her hair. So I'm going to scroll down just a little bit, so that I can see the top of the image, and I'm going to switch over to my Brush Tool once again. And I'm going to right-click inside the image window, just to confirm that the Hardness is set to 0%, which it is. I want you to restore the Mode back to Normal by pressing Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N on the Mac.
We're just going to hand paint some of the mask away with a fuzzy brush, which is not normally something I recommend you do, if you are trying to create a precise mask, but in this case because we have that Linear Burn version of the model in the background, we've got a lot of latitude. So I'll go ahead and turn that model layer back on, make sure the layer mask is selected as it is, increase the size of my brush by pressing the right bracket key [ a couple of times, and then just spot click here and there around the left side of the hair in order to paint it dark, like so.] the ear as well, in order to paint some of those details away and reveal the dark version of the model in the background.
Now I've probably gone too far. As you can see here, it looks like she's got a scratch on her right cheek and what that is, if I turn that model layer off, that's a bit of the marble showing through her flesh. So I need to mask that detail back in, by turning that layer back on, reducing the size of my brush by pressing the left bracket key [, switching the mode back to Overlay by pressing Shift+Alt+O or Shift+Option+O on the Mac, changing the foreground color to white, by pressing the X key, and then I'll go ahead and paint inside that cheek and you can see that that scratch or whatever it might end up looking like, disappears.] All right! Let's go ahead and zoom back out in order to take in the image.
Now if we didn't have that dark model in the background, notice, if I turn that layer off we're seeing all kinds of problems with the mask. The mask is not anything to write home about. However, that's okay. As long as the composition looks good that's all that really matters, but we do have a little bit of a problem there. It looks like I've got little bit of marble coming into her ear. So I'm going to click to try to paint some of that away, maybe some of this stuff up here as well. All right! Press Ctrl+0, Command+0 on the Mac to zoom-out. Now the final step is to make her look more at home in her background.
So I'm going to go ahead and press the M key to switch back to my Rectangular Marquee Tool and I'm going to turn on that adjustment layer. Notice, it's not doing anything right now, because I didn't make any modifications to the adjustment. I'm going to rename the layer however deepen, and I'm also going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click that horizontal line between those two layers in order to clip the adjustment inside of the model. And then I'm going to change the blend mode assigned to the adjustment to none other than Multiply, in order to go ahead and multiply her into herself.
So even though the adjustment is entirely empty, we are creating a much darker version of the model, that's too dark however. So I'll press the Esc key to deactivate the blend mode and I'll press the 5 key to reduce the Opacity value to 50% and that is the final version of the masked model. It goes lickety-split, thanks to the fact that we're masking on top of a darkening layer here inside Photoshop.
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