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For the first installment of Photoshop for Designers, Nigel French shows how to create editable, non-destructive effects such as shadows, glows, and bevels with layer effects in Photoshop. The course covers the use of layer effects like Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Bevel and Emboss, and Gradient Overlay, as well as how to combine effects with blending modes, transparency, and textures. With these techniques, designers can finesse type and graphics, control light, warp text, and extrude shapes, creating drama and adding depth to their compositions.
Down at the bottom of the Layer Style panel, we have the Blend If sliders and I've tried many times to make these work, only with limited success I have to say. They never quite work as well as you might like them to and usually when you do get them to work, there is often an easier way of achieving the same and that pretty much I can say is the case here. The result I am trying to get is I would like to combine this blue sky with the more dramatic sky of this background layer that we have here, this Layer 2.
And the result that I end up with is this. So, this is my starting point, this is my finishing point, combining the blue of the original sky with this more dramatic sky of Layer 2 beneath it. So, I am going to turn off Layer 1 and Layer 3 and just re-create this on Layer 1 copy. Double-click to the right off the layer name and then go to the Blend If sliders. And let's just make my image a little bit smaller so that we can see this working.
And what I want to do is I want to change this to blue since I am working on the blues and I am going to come over here to the highlights of the blues and start moving the slider to the left. And as I do so, when I get to a certain point, the blue just starts falling away. We just peel it back. Of course, what's also happening is that other blues that we want to retain are also falling away and that's the shortcoming of this technique.
But when we get to about there, that's as far as we need to go to get rid of all of the blues that we don't want. We can now separate the two parts of this slider by holding down the Option or Alt key and dragging on the right-hand side of it, so that's going to try and reclaim some of the blues. So, we don't get any hard choppy breaks where we've dropped out the blue. Now, as I'm doing this, what you're seeing is the shadows of the layer beneath coming through.
So, how far do I want to go? Well, I am going to go to about there I reckon. That's not so bad but what I did in the final version was I just copied that part of the image on to a layer all by itself and then might show that there was no Blend If happening with that one so I will just re-create that. So, in order to make a reasonably good mask here, I'm going to need to duplicate this layer and I will turn off the Blend If options and then I will come to my Quick Selection tool and go to over the sky like so and then I will inverse that and I will hold down the Alt key and just go over the bits of the image that are still remaining selected.
So, I have that as my selection now and I'm now going to copy that to a new layer, Command+J. I can get rid of this one and with this one I will double-click to the right of the layer name and there is no Blend If going on there, so that's fine. So, this one is now combined on top of Layer 1 copy, effectively restoring the blues in the foreground that we lost by using the Blend If sliders.
Now, I can turn on Layer 2 and there is our finished result. It was a lot of work to get there and maybe there are easier ways to do it but it's nice to revisit with the Blend If sliders every once in a while.
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