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Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.
Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to demonstrate the unique relationship between the Fill value and the burn blend modes. I've gone ahead and assigned a Linear Burn to the Statue layer, and notice that even though I've got an ultra-dark version of the layer going on, I still have a nice bright outer glow, and that is because blend modes that are assigned to layers have no effect on outer functions, like the Outer Glow effect or a drop shadow, which extend outside the boundaries of the layer. So you can have nice bright glows mixed with ultra-dark interiors such as we have here. Now in our case, I think the ultra-dark interior is way the heck too dark. I'm ending up with a whole lot of clipped shadows, and I'd like to temper the effect. So my natural reaction of course would be to reduce the Opacity value. So I'll press the 4 key to reduce the Opacity value here inside the Layers palette to 40%. And I end up with a translucent version of the layer, but it's no better looking, it's simply washed out.
So we still end up with these flat shadows, they're just weaker shadows. And tepid is not what I want, not what I'm trying to achieve at all when I apply a burn function inside Photoshop. So let's just go ahead and undo the Opacity value. Compare that to pressing Shift+4 to reduce the Fill Opacity to 40%, and notice what a world of difference it makes now. I was telling you a few exercises ago that the whole purpose, the raison d'etre for the Fill Opacity option is that it affects pixels inside of the layer independently of layer effects. But Fill also affects some blend modes differently than the Opacity value does. So referring here to the darkening functions, Darken, Multiply, and Darker Color, all three of those blend modes are equally affected by Opacity and Fill.
So a Fill value of 40% would look the same as an Opacity value of 40% where the pixels inside the layer are concerned. However, if you choose Color Burn or Linear Burn, then Opacity and Fill work differently. Now at this point these are the options I want you to assign to this layer by the way, if you're working along with me. I want you to assign the Linear Burn mode and a Fill Opacity of 40%. But at this point, you might be thinking, "Gosh Deke, I can follow along with you, that's fine, but there is no way, in addition to trying to keep track of what all these blend modes do, that I stand a prayer of remembering which blend modes are affected differently by the Fill value." Well, that's why I've gone ahead and included a little bit of a helper inside of a document that's available to you here.
If you switch back to it the Blend mode keys.psd document, which shows you of course all the keyboard shortcuts that are available for your blend modes, including the fact that the new Lighter Color and Darker Color modes don't even have shortcuts. You will see at the top of the Layers palette, a group that's called top secret. Go ahead and twirl it open and then go ahead and turn this fill opacity layer on by clicking on its eyeball. You will see now a total of eight bars that have been added to this image, and they highlight the 8 out of 25 blend modes, that is to say, that are affected differently by the Fill value, that are affected in a unique way by the Fill value. Those include Color Burn and Linear Burn, Color Dodge and Linear Dodge, Vivid Light and Linear Light, and Hard Mix and Difference. I don't expect you to remember them, that's why I've gone ahead and included this fill opacity layer for you, so that you can come back to this document any time you like, because this is a really useful, undocumented trick that can be extraordinarily helpful when trying to back off severe effects such as Linear Burn.
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