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Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

Using layer blend modes and opacity


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Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Using layer blend modes and opacity

When you're combining images on two different layers, there are some controls in the Layers panel that come in real handy, and those are up here, the Layer Blend Mode menu and Layer Opacity, and the new Masks panel also has some useful controls when you are creating a composite image like the one I am about to show you. I am starting here with two images that in themselves aren't very exciting. On the top layer is this old overexposed photograph of a tent, and on the layer beneath is a scan that I made of a map that had been sitting in the garage and got some water damage and some wrinkled areas.
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
7h 55m Beginner Oct 13, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Learning and customizing the interface and workspace
  • Utilizing various manual and guided selection techniques
  • Working with Adobe Camera Raw
  • Adding special effects with layer styles and Smart Filters
  • Creating Photomerge panoramas
  • Optimizing photos for the web and creating web galleries
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Jan Kabili

Using layer blend modes and opacity

When you're combining images on two different layers, there are some controls in the Layers panel that come in real handy, and those are up here, the Layer Blend Mode menu and Layer Opacity, and the new Masks panel also has some useful controls when you are creating a composite image like the one I am about to show you. I am starting here with two images that in themselves aren't very exciting. On the top layer is this old overexposed photograph of a tent, and on the layer beneath is a scan that I made of a map that had been sitting in the garage and got some water damage and some wrinkled areas.

The first thing I'm going to do is to soften the edges of the tent photo. I will get the Rectangular Marquee tool here, and I am going to come in and click and drag close to the edges of the photo, and then I'm going to add a layer mask to that layer by going to the bottom of the Layers panel and clicking the layer mask icon. When the mask comes in, the areas that were not selected are black and the areas that were selected are white. With the Mask icon selected on the tent layer, I'm going to go up to the new Masks panel. Here there are two controls for changing the appearance of the mask.

Be it a layer mask like this one, or a vector mask like the mask that you have on shape layer. The Density control here makes the layer mask more or less opaque. So as I move density down, I can see through the black portions of the mask. I think I'm going to leave that all the way at 100% for this image, but I am going to use the next control, which will blur the edges between the black portions of the mask and the white portions of the mask. I really like the Feather control, because it lets me see right on the image the effect that the control is having. So I'll leave it somewhere around there.

And if you'd like to see this mask, I'll hold down the Option key on my Mac, that's the Alt key on a PC, and click right on the mask in the Layers panel. and you can see that there now is black, which is hiding part of the tent image, white which is revealing part of the tent image, and where I added that feather to blur this edge, there are grey pixels which gradually hide or show that area. In other words they partially let the photo show through. I'm going to Option or Alt+Click back on the layer mask icon to bring the image back. Now I'm going to show you how to use the blend modes.

I have clicked back on the tent layer to select the image thumbnail there rather than the mask thumbnail. Then I am going to open up the Layer Blend Mode menu for you to see. In this menu there are a number of different blend modes, each of which represents a different formula for blending the colors and tones on the active tent layer with the colors and tones in the layer below. I think the best way to deal with this menu is not to try to memorize what each one of these does, but rather to approach them in groups. This second group here, Darken and Multiply and Color Burn and so on down to this line, in general darken a blended image.

The next group lightens a blended image. The next group works with the contrast of the blended image, making some areas lighter and some areas darker than the originals. And those in this group have an extreme, almost reversing effect on color and those down at the bottom work on the properties of color. Even knowing that much, it's hard to choose a blend mode. So here is how I suggest that you approach this feature. I am going to close the menu and I am going to go over to the toolbox and select the Move tool. With that selected, I can press a keyboard shortcut that is going to cycle through all of these blend modes.

So keep your eye here on the Blend Mode menu, as I hold down the Shift key and then click repeatedly on the Plus key on my keyboard. The first time I click the Plus key, you can see how the Dissolve blend mode looks on this image. I click again and I can see the Darken blend mode and so on. I will just go through the blend modes until I find one that I think looks good. I kind of like that effect, Color Burn, so I will try to remember that one as I go down through the others, and you can see that with some of these you can really see through to the map layer below. With others you get a more subtle effect of the map showing through.

I think this is nice too, the Liner Light, and these behave differently depending on which image is you working on. So I think I'm going to go with Color Burn. I'll just come in and I'll select Color Burn. I like this effect, but I think the color is a little too strong. So I'm going to make it less intense by lowering the opacity of this layer. I go over to the Opacity field here, and there are several ways to deal with it. I could click on the arrow to the right of the Opacity field and drag this slider down or-- I'll click in this blank area to close the slider.

I could just move my mouse over the word Opacity. When my mouse changes to a double pointed arrow, I'll just scrub to the left and as I do that, Opacity is being reduced. You'll find these kinds of scrub sliders on many controls in Photoshop and I find them very efficient. Another way to handle Opacity is this. I am going to put it all the way back up to 100. As long as I have the Move tool selected, I can just press single digit numbers on my keyboard to change the amount of Opacity. Say for example, if I press the number 2, Opacity changes to 20%, 3 gives it 30%, 40%, 50%, I've pressed six and it's at 60%, and I kind of like that look because I can see the pathways of the map through the rather antique looking image on top of it.

So that's how you can use layer masks with the new Masks panel along with layer blending modes and layer opacity to take some rather ordinary looking images and change them into something, if not extraordinary, at least unusual.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 Essential Training.


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Q: How can artwork be transferred from Photoshop CS4 to Illustrator CS4 without the background?
A: Save the image in Photoshop’s native PSD format. The background in Photoshop must be transparent, meaning there should be no background layer. (To remove a background layer, move your artwork to a separate layer by selecting and copying the content, minus the background, to a new layer, and then delete the background layer. A checkboard pattern behind your image indicates transparent pixels.) 
 


In Illustrator, select File > Open, and select the PSD file. In Photoshop Import dialog box, select Convert Layers to Objects.

Q: How do I retouch an image I have of an old photograph I scanned?
A: There are a few courses that address image restoration. Check out the Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training course, and for problems dealing specifically with old photographs, watch the Restoration movies in chapter 15 of the Enhancing Digital Photography with Photoshop CS2. Additionally, learn how to research and date photos with our Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree course.
Q: A client has asked for artwork to be delivered as JPEGs or BMP files in 16-bit format. In Photoshop CS4, there does not appear to be an option to save an image as a 16-bit JPEG. Is there a way to save JPEG files as 16-bit in Photoshop?
A: Unfortunately, JPEGs cannot be saved in 16 bit. JPEGs, by nature, are 8-bit. So if you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS4, you will see no option in any of the save dialog boxes to save the file as a JPEG. You would first have to convert the image to 8 bit (by choosing Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel) and then save it as an 8-bit JPEG. If you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS5, you will see the option to save it as a JPEG in the Save, Save As, and Save for Web dialog boxes.  But the JPEG will not be saved as 16-bit. Instead, Photoshop will downsample it to 8-bit for you  before saving it as JPEG.
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