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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.
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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