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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 give you a sense of where you can find the blending options inside Photoshop. Specifically I'm talking about the Opacity value and at least 27 out of a potential 31 blend modes that are offered by the program. Now the blending options are fairly ubiquitous. We'll just be seeing a few examples. Specifically, I'll show you how to blend using the Gradient Tool. This is a destructive modification which means you will rewrite the pixels in the active layer. We'll also blend with the Brush Tool, another destructive modification. And finally, we'll blend from the Layers Panel which is altogether nondestructive.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. You'll also find blending options when working with other tools, specifically the Clone Stamp Tool and the History Brush, but you'll find subsets of the blending options when working with the Healing Brush, the Smudge Tool, and many others. We've got the Fill and Stroke commands which are both available under the Edit menu. These options that we're seeing so far down here in the bottom right corner of the screen, these are destructive modifications. However, if you blend using layer effects, that's absolutely nondestructive. And then we've got the Calculations and Apply Image commands both available under the Image menu.
We'll see a lot of them when we're creating complex masks in other courses in this series. And frankly, these are just the features that I can remember off the top of my head, there are probably many more. So let's get started here. I'm going to go ahead and hide those overlays. Notice that I have the spheres layer selected here inside the Layers Panel. I don't want to affect this red ball in the center here, I just want to affect the white ones. So I've already got this Layer Mask that I've created in advance. I'm going to Ctrl+Click on it or Command +Click on that Layer Mask thumbnail in order to load the selection.
Then I'll go up to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command so that I've selected the white balls in the background. Now I'm going to switch to the Gradient Tool which you can get by pressing the G key and I'm going to switch my Gradient to this guy right here, one that I never use, I have to admit, Red, Green, but it's very handy, up here in the Options Bar. Otherwise my settings are set to their defaults, I'll be creating a Linear Gradient, the Reverse checkbox is turned off, the others are turned on. Here are our blending options by the way. I could modify my Opacity value if I wanted to.
However, what I'm going to do is change the Blend Mode from Normal to this guy down here, Color. We'll be discussing how every one of these blend modes works by the way. Right now I'm just showing you one possible application. And I'm going to drag from the bottom of the image up to the top, like so, while pressing the Shift key to create a vertical gradient as you see here. Alright, now let's switch over to the Brush Tool. I'll go ahead and click on it or I could press the B key. And then I'm going to right-click inside of the Image Window to bring up the Brush Panel. Notice that I've expanded it a little bit.
So I can get to this custom brush, Scattered Maple Leaves. And now I'm going to increase my Size value to 200 pixels and press the Enter key couple of times, the Return key a couple times on the Mac in order to accept that change. Let's go ahead and dial-in a shade of green, I'm going to change my Hue value to 90 degrees, my Saturation to a 100, and my Brightness value to 50%. And now notice if I were to just start painting inside the Image Window, I would paint a series of Opaque Leaves. That's not what I'm looking for, so I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac.
When you're working with any of the painting or editing tools, you can change your blending options from the Options Bar just as you can with the Gradient Tool. I'm going to switch my Mode from Normal to Multiply so that I'm burning in the leaves and then I'll go ahead and paint them in. Once again, notice that I get this interaction between the leaves and the bulbs in the background. Finally, I'm going to go ahead and turn on this texture layer right there. Notice that this marble texture exists entirely inside the red ball. Press the M key to switch back to my Rectangular Marquee Tool and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image.
And now let's go ahead and merge that texture into the spheres layer below by clicking on the texture layer to make it active, and then switching the Blend Mode in this case from Normal to Linear Burn which gives us this nice darkening effect. And those, friends, are just a few of the places that you can apply blending options here inside Photoshop.
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