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When in doubt, blend

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Advanced Blending

Video: When in doubt, blend

The most common use for blending is to avoid masking altogether, which means that you can get your work done more quickly, you can oftentimes achieve better results, and you can do so entirely nondestructively. For example, let's say we want to take this tic-tac-toe doodle and we want to express it in white against a different background. Now you might figure the best approach, and it's actually a pretty simple one, is to switch over to the Magic Wand Tool and then go up to the Options Bar assuming default settings, you would turn off the Contiguous checkbox, then click anywhere inside of a black region which will select all the black throughout the graphic.

When in doubt, blend

The most common use for blending is to avoid masking altogether, which means that you can get your work done more quickly, you can oftentimes achieve better results, and you can do so entirely nondestructively. For example, let's say we want to take this tic-tac-toe doodle and we want to express it in white against a different background. Now you might figure the best approach, and it's actually a pretty simple one, is to switch over to the Magic Wand Tool and then go up to the Options Bar assuming default settings, you would turn off the Contiguous checkbox, then click anywhere inside of a black region which will select all the black throughout the graphic.

Turn off that doodle layer because we don't need it now. Create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift +N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, let's go ahead and call this layer white. And then assuming that white is your background color, press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that selection with white. And that's all there is to it, right. So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. But I'm going to zoom in here to 200%, switch over to the other image so that we can compare it, zoom in as well. Now let's go ahead and scroll these images.

I want you to see this region right there. Notice the detail that we have. It looks great inside the final version of the composition. And inside the version we've created so far, it looks pretty darn choppy. Thanks to the limitations of working with the Magic Wand. Here's the better approach, one that doesn't require masking at all, it's entirely blending. I'll go ahead and zoom out from the image once again, turn off that new white layer I just created, turn on the doodle layer, click on it to make it active, and then press Ctrl+I or Command+I on the Mac in order to invert it.

Now all we need to do is drop out the blacks and keep the whites using a Blend Mode. And the Blend Mode that we would use in this case is Screen. So I'll go ahead and choose Screen from the Blend Mode pop-up menu and we end up achieving this result here; entirely nondestructively as I say because I haven't had to modify a single pixel inside the original layer. Now you might say, well, you did have to invert it. But as you may recall, inverting is entirely a nondestructive operation because I can re-invert that layer anytime I like it in order to return back to the original.

And that simply put is the power of blending as a compositing tool here inside Photoshop.

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  1. 1m 43s
    1. Welcome
      1m 43s
  2. 33m 15s
    1. When in doubt, blend
      2m 20s
    2. Where to find blending options
      4m 10s
    3. 27 blend modes, 6 groups
      4m 23s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 41s
    5. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      4m 59s
    6. Blending adjustment layers
      4m 43s
    7. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 59s
  3. 27m 3s
    1. The power of standardized arithmetic
      6m 58s
    2. Photoshop's blending formulas
      5m 27s
    3. Darken formulas vs. lighten formulas
      4m 15s
    4. Contrast mode formulas
      7m 28s
    5. Inversion, cancelation, and HSL
      2m 55s
  4. 17m 50s
    1. Normal mode vs. Dissolve mode
      2m 11s
    2. Making a dynamic Dissolve effect
      2m 21s
    3. Creating a Dissolve text effect
      4m 48s
    4. The Behind and Clear modes
      3m 2s
    5. Filling a stroke with Behind and Clear
      5m 28s
  5. 43m 24s
    1. Darken vs. Darken Color
      4m 25s
    2. Creating filter effects with Darken
      5m 0s
    3. The Multiply and Burn modes
      6m 27s
    4. Cleaning up scanned line art
      7m 30s
    5. Comping line art against a photo
      5m 12s
    6. Colorizing comped line art
      5m 14s
    7. Masking with a darken mode
      3m 59s
    8. Refining a mask with Multiply
      5m 37s
  6. 33m 36s
    1. Lighten vs. Lighter Color
      2m 29s
    2. Creating filter effects with Lighten
      2m 47s
    3. The Screen and Dodge modes
      4m 35s
    4. Blending white type, darkening shadows
      3m 2s
    5. Creating a classic double-exposure effect
      3m 49s
    6. Making dark line art bright
      5m 11s
    7. Masking with a lighten mode
      5m 4s
    8. Refine, filter, and blend
      6m 39s
  7. 35m 18s
    1. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      5m 2s
    2. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light
      4m 2s
    3. The amazing Hard Mix mode
      3m 51s
    4. Two variations on a single mode
      5m 37s
    5. Adding clarity with a contrast mode
      4m 9s
    6. Creating a glowing, soft-focus effect
      3m 38s
    7. Blending an image with a paper texture
      4m 11s
    8. Turning flesh into stone
      4m 48s
  8. 18m 10s
    1. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 7s
    2. Comparing seemingly identical images
      3m 25s
    3. Creating type that inverts any background
      3m 30s
    4. Making inversion type black and white
      4m 8s
  9. 16m 57s
    1. Luminosity, Color, Hue, and Saturation
      3m 29s
    2. Colorizing artwork with layers
      7m 24s
    3. Correcting skin tones with Hue
      6m 4s
  10. 14m 57s
    1. Using the This Layer slider option
      6m 44s
    2. Using the Underlying Layer slider option
      3m 16s
    3. Achieving greater control with Blend If
      4m 57s
  11. 48s
    1. Next steps
      48s

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