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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you the Brush Only modes, which are the blend modes that are only included along with the Brush tool and the Fill command as it just so happens. And we are going to be working inside of this composition. I have saved all my changes to Near-final composition.psd. But first what blend modes am I talking about? Well, I'm switching over to blend mode keys.psd. And I'm going to go down the list here, just toss this image upward so that we can see the Brush Only modes which are these guys right here. Airbrush it not technically a blend mode, it's just a setting for the Brush tool and I have it on the list because it happens to have a Shift+Alt or Shift+Option keyboard shortcut. Otherwise we would all wonder what happened to P because it would be only the missing letter.
Anyway Behind and Clear are the modes that we are going to be taking a look at. No reason on earth to memorize their keyboard shortcuts. I don't know if you are ever going to use Clear in your entire life. It just duplicates the effect of deleting things. And then Behind, a very interesting mode, sometimes comes in handy. All right, I'm going to switch back to the Near-final composition.psd file. We are just going to be playing around in this composition, we are not going to make any lasting changes. But here is what I want you to do. I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of Statue. And then I'm going to make sure it's active and I can only see the Statue layer, notice that.
And I'm going to press Shift+0 to restore the Fill value to 100%. At this point we still have Luminosity applied and yet we are seeing all of the colors inside of the Statue. The reason being that Photoshop has just restored normal for the time being because there is nothing to blend with, it doesn't have anything behind there. It could blend with the checkerboard pattern but that would be pretty misleading. So anyway, let's go ahead and grab the Brush tool right there and I'm going to switch to a pretty big brush like this one, like 175 looks nice to me. I want to make sure that the Hardness is 0% just so that I can show you a couple of things here. By default the mode is set to Normal and the Opacity is 100%, Flow is 100% as well. And the fact that the blend mode is set to Normal means that I can paint in any old place but I sure don't want to paint with that color.
Oops! Forgot to change the color here. Let's bring the Color palette and let's try out something more interesting than that particular shade of green, which would be let's say 255 Red and then zero for Green and Blue. So a bright red and then I'm going to paint all over Giuliano there and make a complete mess with things. And I'm just trying to demonstrate I can paint anywhere I want. I have no constraints whatsoever and I just sketch here typical everyday average brush stroke. The interesting thing is it gets the Outer Glow effect assigned to it, so if I turned on these layers below you could see a little bit of outer glow. Now it's not showing up with the same degree of enthusiasm, it is around the other edges because those are sharp edges and these are very soft drifty edges. And Outer Glow doesn't show up very well around drifty edges, but any who let's go ahead and undo that modification because it's ugly. And turn off Gradient and Background once again.
Now all my modifications are going to be ugly so I don't know what's so different about this one. If I press Shift+Plus, I'll advance to the Brush mode, Dissolve. So I'm changing the blend mode for the brush, not for the layer. The layer remains Luminosity, notice that and that's because the brush is active. Now if I paint, notice that I get this dither pattern, which is somewhat amusing, but if you zoom in on it, it becomes less amusing. You will see that it's either on or off. You are just creating a dither pattern. So when you are zoomed out, it looks better because it's getting anti-aliased and we are seeing a little bit of interaction between Opacity and Transparency, that doesn't actually exist.
All right, let's go ahead and undo that modification as well. Now I'm going to return to the Normal mode for just a second. Normal is the mode. See that up there in the Options bar? I press Shift +Minus to get to it. You can also use your other keyboard equivalents by the way, those still work like Shift+Alt+M for Multiply right there, Shift+ Option+M on the Mac. Shift+Alt+S or Shift+Option+S for Screen, Shift+Alt+ N or Shift+Option+N to return back to Normal. So those guys still work. They just get applied to the brush instead of the layer.
Now I want you to notice right here, let's say I want to brush strictly inside of the layer, then I would lock the Transparency, correct? Yes, that's correct. So I'll go ahead and do that, I could also get that function by pressing the Slash key on my keyboard if I wanted to. Now that the Transparency is locked I can paint a festive mask around Giuliano's face right there, so that's looking terrible. But it's still very, very festive. And it stays inside the line, so even though I did a rowdy job of painting inside of his face, I managed to stay exactly inside the line like my teacher told me to in elementary school.
Anyway I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification. The reason I'm showing it to you is because it's the exact opposite of our next mode. If I go up here to the Blend Mode menu, notice I can't even choose Behind or Clear when Transparency is locked because both of these options affect the transparency of the image. So I need to turn off the Transparency lock right now and then go back to Blend Mode. Behind is the exact opposite of locking the Transparency, it locks the Opacity.
So even though these options are presented in very different ways, they are exact opposites of each other. So choose Behind and then notice as you paint, you will paint only in the transparent areas. You paint only outside the lines. Oh my gosh! Would I have gotten in trouble in third grade or whatever. All right, so kind of cool though. I think that's really nifty. I could for example, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac so I can paint a pretty cloud behind Giuliano's face right there. That's very nice Giuliani. You have a nice red cloud. I would be very enormously scared and terrified right now if I were you. Oh my gosh! It's getting very dangerous I think. All right, so there is that, Ctrl +Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Obviously I'm not going to keep any of this garbage that I'm doing here.
And next in the list is Clear. What does Clear do? Nothing really all that wonderful, it just turns the brush into an eraser. So now you can erase Giuliano, if you want to scrub all evidence of him from this composition. But you could do that with the Eraser tool and of course anybody in their right mind would recommend that you do it using a layer mask. So that's not the best way to work but it is there just an option. Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Now I want to show you the Fill Options, these exact same blend modes expressed using the Fill dialog box. So I'm going to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool by pressing the M key. And I'm going to select a region that is both in and out of Giuliano's face like so. And I might move it up just a little bit so it's sort of bit of jaunty position there.
Now I'm going to go to the Edit menu and I'm going to choose the Fill command. And inside the Fill dialog box I want you to change the Use option right there to Foreground Color so that we are working with our beautiful shade of red. And I could say, hey, yeah let's preserve the Transparency, in which case if I did that and clicked OK, notice I would only fill inside of Giuliano's face. All right, so Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification. I'm now going to get to the Fill dialog box from the keyboard by pressing Shift+Backspace, the hidden keyboard shortcut, or Shift+Delete on the Mac. And there are some interesting blend modes that are available to us like I could just multiply red into his face and still preserve the Transparency. All the stuff is here so click OK and there you go. I just colorized his face, isn't that wonderful? Just like sort of scrubbed his face with red paint or something like that and kept all of the shadow detail. Awesome! Anyway let's get rid of it, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Shift+Backspace, Shift+Delete of course in order to bring up the Fill dialog box. I say of course like it makes some kind of inherent sense that would work, but it does.
And I just meant of course that Backspace translates to the Delete key on Mac. I'm going to now turn off Preserve Transparency because I cannot use Behind and Clear along with Preserve Transparency, though there actually. So I'll go ahead and choose Behind, but that will turn off Preserve Transparency because there is no way the two can coexist. If they met each other the world would blow up. So I'm going to go ahead and click OK. And now the color appears behind Giuliano's face. No big surprise there, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, Shift+ Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac.
And let's now change things to Clear and all that's going to do my friends is create a hole. So there is Giuliano if he lost his face. So press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac and that's really it. I would recommend you press Shift+Backspace one more time and just reset this dialog box, that's Shift+Delete on the Mac of course. Note that all of the blend modes from the Layers palette are here, plus Behind and Clear, just as is the case for the Brush tool. But still by the by no add or subtract, they are strictly relegated to the Apply Image and Calculations dialog boxes inside of Photoshop.
All right, so I'm going to reset this to Normal, reset this guy to off, Preserve Transparency off, click OK. That way we just filled this big area with red, undo it. Make sure that you haven't made any pixel level modifications to this image. If you are going to continue work along with me because we are not really done with this composition, we are just touring the Brush-Only modes inside of this exercise. We weren't really applying anything, so go ahead and restore the goodness that is Giuliano by Michelangelo. And then you don't have to go back there and reset all of your options. All you have to do is go to Layer Comps palette right there and click in front of Almost done.
And just like that you restore everything. You restore all the parametric modifications. That's the important bit though. You don't restore pixels. So if you made a pixel level modification, those pixels would still be changed. If you had a bunch of brush strokes coming out of Giuliano's face they will remain sort of like eels coming out of his face or something, even though you switch back to Almost done. In the next exercise we are going to see how to blend a group and we are going to bring in that Michelangelo text right there and finish off this composition.
By all means stick with me.
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