Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
Illustration by John Hersey

The comparative modes


Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

with Deke McClelland

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Video: The comparative modes

Our next topic are the comparative modes, and those include just two modes inside the Blend Mode pop-up menu, Difference and Exclusion, both of which use a layer in order to invert the colors in the layers below them. Let me show you what I'm talking about here. I'm going to switch to the Statue layer inside my ongoing Sky & statue.psd composition. This layer currently has a Linear Burn mode applied to it. I'm going to switch from Linear Burn to Difference, and we get an inverted version of the face. But it's a controllable inversion, it's not strictly the kind of inversion you would get by choosing Image, Adjustments, Invert, for example.
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  1. 1h 15m
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
      2m 5s
    2. Selecting glass and water
      5m 23s
    3. Establishing a base layer
      3m 59s
    4. The Color Range command
      6m 45s
    5. Selecting sparkles
      3m 18s
    6. Setting sparkles to Screen
      4m 19s
    7. Selecting and compositing hair
      2m 59s
    8. When Color Range falls short
      7m 24s
    9. Selecting a base channel
      4m 25s
    10. Enhancing the channel's contrast
      4m 3s
    11. Dodging the highlights
      5m 54s
    12. Putting the mask in play
      3m 20s
    13. Reducing the edge fringes
      4m 20s
    14. Adding a layer mask
      4m 53s
    15. Creating a gradient quick mask
      5m 25s
    16. Blurring the layer mask
      5m 51s
    17. And that's just the beginning...
      1m 15s
  2. 1h 13m
    1. Edge-enhancement parlor tricks
      1m 29s
    2. The subterfuge of sharpness
      3m 14s
    3. The single-shot sharpness
      3m 46s
    4. Unsharp Mask
      5m 16s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      4m 31s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 13s
    7. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 24s
    8. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      6m 0s
    9. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      6m 23s
    10. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 4s
    11. Leave More Accurate off!
      2m 29s
    12. Turn More Accurate on
      2m 58s
    13. The Advanced options
      5m 17s
    14. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 18s
    15. Accounting for camera shake
      5m 59s
  3. 1h 24m
    1. Why the heck would you blur?
      1m 20s
    2. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      7m 16s
    3. The Linear Box Blur
      2m 58s
    4. Median and its badly named progeny
      6m 3s
    5. Surface Blur and the rest
      5m 36s
    6. The Motion Blur filter
      3m 2s
    7. The Radial Blur variations: Spin and Zoom
      5m 55s
    8. The Captain Kirk-in-love effect
      6m 49s
    9. Averaging skin tones
      6m 2s
    10. Addressing the stubborn patches
      6m 0s
    11. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      4m 8s
    12. Blurring surface details
      7m 2s
    13. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      7m 52s
    14. Reducing digital noise
      8m 22s
    15. Smoothing out JPEG artifacts
      6m 0s
  4. 45m 24s
    1. Behold, the layered composition
      1m 13s
    2. The Layers palette
      5m 8s
    3. Enlarging the hand
      4m 40s
    4. Erasing with a layer mask
      6m 27s
    5. Moving a layer
      4m 2s
    6. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      4m 41s
    7. Hair and stacking order
      6m 12s
    8. Adding a frame and expanding the canvas
      6m 1s
    9. Adding a vignette
      7m 0s
  5. 42m 23s
    1. Organization: It sounds dull, but it rocks
      1m 7s
    2. The terrible battle
      3m 3s
    3. Assembling the base composition
      5m 45s
    4. Adding adjustment layers
      4m 55s
    5. Creating a layer group
      2m 23s
    6. Grouping selected layers
      3m 13s
    7. Making the TV lines
      4m 16s
    8. Introducing layer comps
      5m 52s
    9. Saving your own layer comps
      6m 40s
    10. Final footnotes
      5m 9s
  6. 1h 23m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 3s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 44s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 35s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      5m 37s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      5m 51s
    7. The darkening modes
      6m 12s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with the Fill value
      3m 52s
    9. Saving a blended state
      2m 54s
    10. The lightening modes
      4m 55s
    11. The contrast modes
      7m 12s
    12. The comparative modes
      7m 25s
    13. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 2s
    14. The brush-only modes
      8m 11s
    15. Blending groups
      7m 10s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. At this point, there is a great shift...
    2. Messing with the masters
      2m 28s
    3. Scaling a layer to fit a composition
      6m 38s
    4. Merging clock face and cardinal
      2m 2s
    5. Rotating the minute hand
      7m 41s
    6. Replaying the last transformation
      3m 50s
    7. Second hand and shadows
      5m 0s
    8. Series duplication
      3m 23s
    9. Skews and perspective-style distortions
      6m 43s
    10. The envelope-style Warp function
      7m 31s
    11. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 9s
    12. Adjusting the brush settings
      4m 1s
    13. Viewing layers and the mesh
      4m 18s
    14. Incrementally undoing undesirable effects
      4m 5s
    15. Twirl, pucker, and bloat
      2m 2s
    16. Push, mirror, and turbulence
      4m 37s
    17. Protecting regions with a mask
      3m 40s
    18. Applying a digital facelift
      10m 53s
    19. Saving and loading mesh settings
      2m 30s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Planes and perspective
      1m 6s
    2. The Blue Gallery
      2m 47s
    3. Introducing Vanishing Point 2.0
      5m 29s
    4. Drawing out perpendicular planes
      6m 53s
    5. Exporting the gridlines to a layer
      4m 45s
    6. Cloning an image from one plane to another
      7m 58s
    7. Blending the image into its new home
      6m 31s
    8. Healing away the sockets
      7m 47s
    9. Importing a new image
      6m 20s
    10. Masking and shading the image
      7m 26s
    11. Flat in, perspective out
      5m 57s
    12. Adding perspective type
      4m 49s
    13. Swinging planes to custom angles
      6m 2s
    14. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      4m 34s
  9. 1h 15m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
    2. Creating an independent text layer
      6m 39s
    3. Editing vector-based text
      6m 38s
    4. Working with area text
      6m 14s
    5. Resizing the text frame
      6m 4s
    6. Obscure but important formatting options
      7m 25s
    7. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      9m 37s
    8. Adding a ghostly cast shadow
      6m 19s
    9. Backlighting the text
      2m 48s
    10. Creating type on a path
      7m 36s
    11. Pasting text along the bottom of a circle
      3m 50s
    12. Flip and baseline shift
      3m 14s
    13. Warping text
      3m 58s
    14. Scaling the warped text to taste
      4m 18s
  10. 1m 12s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 12s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
10h 47m Intermediate Apr 16, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.

Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.

Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Understanding what Photoshop CS3 is and what it can do.
  • Zooming, scrolling, and getting around an image.
  • Making the most of the new-and-improved CS3 interface.
  • Using Adobe Bridge to organize and manage images.
  • Saving workspaces for maximum comfort and efficiency.
  • Correcting colors using the Variations and Hue/Saturation commands.
  • Taking on the professional-grade luminance editors, Levels and Curves.
  • Resampling an image and selecting an interpolation setting.
  • Cropping and straightening a photograph.
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

The comparative modes

Our next topic are the comparative modes, and those include just two modes inside the Blend Mode pop-up menu, Difference and Exclusion, both of which use a layer in order to invert the colors in the layers below them. Let me show you what I'm talking about here. I'm going to switch to the Statue layer inside my ongoing Sky & statue.psd composition. This layer currently has a Linear Burn mode applied to it. I'm going to switch from Linear Burn to Difference, and we get an inverted version of the face. But it's a controllable inversion, it's not strictly the kind of inversion you would get by choosing Image, Adjustments, Invert, for example.

It's much more selective, and it's organic to the image. So you're actually merging the Statue layer and blending it with the layers below. So here's what's going on. Any place where the layer is white, anywhere where the Statue layer is white, completely inverts the layers in back of it. Anywhere where the Statue layer is black, in the shadows here, you don't get any inversion whatsoever. And where like colors run into each other, they cancel each other out, and the image turns black. So as a result we get this sort of eerie luminescent glow to this image, a sort of underglow to it.

The Difference mode is another one of those modes that responds differently to Fill and Opacity, to the Fill and Opacity values here inside the Layers palette. So I'm going to go ahead and raise the Fill value to 100% by pressing Shift+0. And just for the sake of demonstration here, I'll take the Opacity value down to 70% by pressing the 7 key, so we just get a weaker version of the Difference image. Now I'll take it back to 100% by pressing Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac, and compare that to pressing Shift+7 to change the Fill Opacity to 70%. So instead of having the interior of the image turn a sort of weird green color, we end up getting a robust purple this time, sort of this organic violet, as it turns out, which I think is really nice.

So just remember, Difference is another one of these that responds differently to Opacity and Fill. Now it has a variation called Exclusion that does not respond differently to Opacity and Fill as it turns out. It behaves, I think, in a lesser fashion. Exclusion is one of the blend modes I really don't have a lot of use for. But I'll tell you how it works. White goes ahead and inverts, just like before. Black is not inverted all. Similar colors, that is similar colors in the Statue that match more or less the colors in the Gradient and Background layers, don't so much cancel each other out as turn gray. So you'll have a lot more colors turning gray inside of the image.

Not really what I'm going for in this case, so I'll go ahead and undo that modification so I can return to the Difference mode. And I'm going to leave this image set like this, Difference mode and Fill Opacity of 70% for the moment, applied to the Statue layer, we're sort of playing around here. Now, you might think, okay well there's another mode to add to your list of blend modes, but why in the world would you ever really use Difference other than to achieve some sort of weird psychedelic inversion effect? Well, let me show you. The Difference mode can be very useful for finding differences between images. I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Tab here in order to switch to another image that I have open. It's called Three Giulianos.psd, and it is indeed three copies of the Michelangelo sculpture of Giuliano de Medici.

And this image can be found by the way inside the 15 Blend Modes folder. Now, you should see giuliano 2 selected inside the Layers palette. Giuliano 1 for the moment should be turned off. I want you to go up to the Filter menu, and I want you to choose the Noise command, and I want you to choose Median. What we're going to do is just run a comparison between the Median filter and the Gaussian Blur filter. So let's go ahead and set the Median filter to a Radius of 10 pixels and then click OK. Sure enough, we get sort of this rounded edges effect, just as we might expect from having learned how the Median filter works.

Alright, now I'm going to click on the giuliano 1 layer and turn it on, and let's go ahead and apply the Gaussian Blur filter to this image. I'll go to the Blur menu under the Filter menu, and then I'll choose Gaussian Blur, and I will enter once again a Radius value of 10 pixels and I'll click OK. So we now have a blurred version of Giuliano on one layer and a Median version of Giuliano on another layer. Let's go ahead and compare those two layers by going up to the Blend Mode pop-up menu and choosing the Difference command, which allows us to figure out exactly where the differences are. So anywhere where we see black, there are no differences. The two layers are identical to each other. Anywhere where we see any other colors going on, those represent the differences between the two layers. Now our differences are looking pretty murky at this point.

Let's boost the contrast by merging the two layers together and then applying the Levels command. So I want you to go to the Layer menu, with giuliano 1 selected, by the way, and choose the Merge Down command, or you can press Ctrl+E if you like, Cmnd+E on the Mac, to merge those two layers together. So now we have a single layer called giulano 2 that is the Difference blend of the Median and Gaussian Blur effects. Now I'm going to press Ctrl+L in order to bring up the Levels command. That's of course Cmd+L on the Mac, and I'm going to drag this white slider triangle over to the side of the histogram, until I get a final Input Levels value of 50. So I'm saying anything with the brightness value of 50 or lighter, make white. So we're creating a lot of highlights inside of this Difference image. We'll go ahead and click OK, and now you can really see where the differences are occurring. I'll go ahead and zoom in to this hair and ear region right here. The sort of striation patterns, these little sort of cross-hatched rectangle patterns going on, those are a function of the Median filter.

And then the soft glows that you can see around the eyes and so forth, that's a function of the Gaussian Blur filter. Now I'm going to take this giuliano 2 image that I've sort of created as a combination of Median and Gaussian Blur and of course the Difference blend mode, and I'm going to blend it with the giuliano 3 image in back, which is just the original image. If you turn off giuliano 2, you'll see that giuliano 3 is an unmodified version of the statue. Alright so I'll turn giuliano 2 on once again, and I'm going to switch this to the Color Dodge mode, so we keep just the highlights, and we're going to have some nice, bright, vivid highlights associated with this image. I'll press the Escape key to deactivate the Blend Mode pop-up menu. I'm going to zoom in actually another click, so that we can see the image at 100% view size, and I'm now going to press Shift+5 in order to reduce the Fill Opacity value to 50%.

So we just get these nice highlights, some nice, eye-popping highlights here around the edges of some of the more interesting portions of the image. So this is without the giuliano 2 layer; this is with that giuliano 2 layer. An interesting effect that we're able to achieve by finding the differences between two filtered effects here inside Photoshop.

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