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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.
In this exercise, I'll show you how to force through luminance levels from one or more underlying layers, using the underlying layer slider bar. I have saved my progress as Clouds & Lighting.psd, found inside the 09_sliders folder. We are going to revisit the blending options by double-clicking on an empty portion of this lighting layer. Notice by the way, that everything we've done so far is a parametric nondestructive modification. In other words, we are using parameters inside of a dialog box in this case, in order to make our modifications, which means that we can change our mind anytime we like.
I could go ahead and reset every single thing that I've done so far, just by changing the options here inside the dialog box. However, I don't want to do that of course. So I am going to reinstate the settings that were here when I first visited the dialog box. By pressing the Alt key or the Option key and a Mac, that changes a Cancel button to Reset button and then you click on it. And all of our options come back into place. Even though, the lightning is masked against the clouds. And it's masked better than it was once with the layer mask.
Notice that we have these nice, soft transitional edges. The lighting still doesn't appear to be coming out of the clouds. It appears to be sitting on top of the clouds. So what I would like to see happen, is that the cloud colors up here at the top, force through. If I were to drag the black slider triangle over to the right, you can see that I would end up masking the lightning inside the clouds. So I'm forcing through the dark colors from that Underlying Layer and in my case, I am saying anything with the luminance level of 124 or darker in the active layer is forcing through.
Anything 124 or lighter, is behaving normally. That's the opposite of what I want. So I will go ahead and drag this black slider triangle back over to the left. And instead, I will take this white slider triangle over to 160s when I'm looking for. And now, I am saying anything with the luminance level of 160 or brighter is forcing through and that would be these colors in the clouds here. Anything 160 or darker is behaving normally. So that we can see, the lightning covering the darkest portions of the image, which include these dark blues inside the sky.
Now of course, we have got ourselves another on/off proposition that is either the pixels are forcing through or they're not. So we are going to have some jagged transitions. The solution is to press the Alt key or the Option key and a Mac and drag in this case, the right half of that white slider triangle until you reach 185. So we are looking for just a little bit of fuzziness there. And now we are saying anything with a luminance of 185 or brighter is forcing through, anything 160 or darker, is behaving normally. And anything between 160 and 185 is gradually forcing through the lightning layer.
Now we're done. I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept that result and notice, what a wonderful job those two sliders have done. We have got these tiny little tendrils of lightning that are passing in and out of the clouds. We've got these spot bits of lightning inside the clouds as well, just beautiful stuff here. And that's exactly the kind of thing that you can expect from the Luminance Exclusion slider bars, here inside of Photoshop.
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