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The contrast modes

From: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

Video: The contrast modes

Alright, now let's take a look at the contrast modes that are available to us here inside of Photoshop. The contrast blend modes are organized into this fourth grouping inside the Blend Mode pop-up menu here inside the Layers palette. Every single one of these options multiplies in the shadows, screens in the highlights, and drops away the midtones in order to create a high-contrast effect. So they're all somehow combining the darkening modes along with the lightening modes. So we'll see that every single one of these modes combines a different sort of coupling, a different pair of these modes together.

The contrast modes

Alright, now let's take a look at the contrast modes that are available to us here inside of Photoshop. The contrast blend modes are organized into this fourth grouping inside the Blend Mode pop-up menu here inside the Layers palette. Every single one of these options multiplies in the shadows, screens in the highlights, and drops away the midtones in order to create a high-contrast effect. So they're all somehow combining the darkening modes along with the lightening modes. So we'll see that every single one of these modes combines a different sort of coupling, a different pair of these modes together.

Alright, assuming that you're working along with me inside of the Sky & statue.psd document, I want you to select the Texture layer, and I want you to turn it on as well, and you'll see this marble texture that I created by adding a pattern layer to my composition. And now I'd like you to go ahead and change this texture layer to the Overlay mode by selecting it from the list. Now the Overlay mode is your "when in doubt" mode where contrast modes are concerned inside of Photoshop. It really, truly is merging together the Multiply and Screen modes in order to keep the highlights and keep the shadows in the darker regions where those shadows overlap the darker regions of the composite layers in the background here, and it drops away the midtones. So you can see that our few midtones inside of this layer are dropping away and revealing the colors from the layers underneath.

Alright, so that's the Overlay mode, your base contrast mode inside of Photoshop. I'm going to go ahead and press the Escape key so that blend mode is no longer active there inside the Layers palette, then I'll press Shift+Plus. If Overlay is too harsh, then you can advance to the Soft Light mode, which is a downplayed, reduced version of the contrast modes inside Photoshop. It uses totally different math, as it turns out. It's not simply Overlay set to a reduced Opacity or Fill value, it's something quite different, quite its own thing.

If you want something that's a little stronger than the Overlay mode, then I'll press Shift+Plus again to advance to the Hard Light mode, and this is basically the Overlay mode turned on its head, as it turns out. The math is an upside down version of the Overlay mode, if that makes any sense. If not, just bear in mind that it's a stronger version of Overlay. And it's starting to look a little too strong, as it turns out, but it's still based on that same Multiply and Screen mathematics. If you want to switch from Multiply and Screen, which are represented by these three options, to dodge and burn, then you want to switch off to Vivid Light and Linear Light, those guys right there. Vivid Light is analogous to combining Color Burn with Color Dodge, and Linear Light is analogous to combining Linear Burn with Linear Dodge.

I'll go ahead and show you how those two work by pressing Shift + Plus. This is the Vivid Light option, and this is the Linear Light option, and they are of course totally over-the-top at this point, but we can mitigate them using the Fill value, as we will in just a moment. But in the meantime, let's advance on, let's check out the remaining contrast modes. I'm going to press Shift+Plus to advance to the Pin Light mode. Notice this time, we keep the highlights, we keep the shadows, and we really totally drop out the midtonesin between.

The reason is, we are now performing a composite lighter and darker measurement. So it's like we're combining those new Lighter Color and Darker Color functions, new to Photoshop CS3 that is, even though Pin Light is a couple of versions older. So Pin Light results in some pretty harsh effects as it turns out, some pretty harsh contrast between the highlights that remain totally visible, the shadows that remain totally visible, and the midtones that drop completely away. And that can be useful for creating a textured effect, especially when combined with a reduced Opacity value.

The next and last of the contrast modes is this guy right here, Hard Mix. Hard Mix is basically Vivid Light with a threshold applied on top of it, so that you're reducing the number of colors on a channel-by-channel basis to just black and white. And because we're doing it on a channel-by-channel basis, that means that we're seeing a total of eight colors, black, white, red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow, but that's it. Which might make you think, Why in the world would you use this totally, unspeakably ugly blend mode? The reason is- I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Tab to switch back to the Blend mode keys.psd document, where I've turned on the fill opacity layer- and you can see that Hard Mix is one of those blend modes, along with Linear Light and Vivid Light, by the way, that are uniquely subject to the Fill Opacity value.

So let's go back to our composition in progress, our extremely diminished composition in progress at the present moment in time, and let me show you what happens if you are to back off the Opacity value to say, let's go ahead and take it down to 10% by pressing the 1 key. You'll see that this just results in a very translucent version of the Texture layer, but we're still ending up with those same eight colors and nothing more, blended in with the layers below.

So we get a faded, sort of ghosted effect that I don't think looks all that great. So I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z to undo that opacity setting, and that was a result of reducing the Opacity value to 10%. Let's now press Shift+1 to reduce the Fill Opacity to 10%, and notice how we get a considerably different option. This time we're not limited to our eight colors, we are taking advantage of the entire range of muted colors here inside of the image, and we get some very smooth, usable transitions, thanks to combining Hard Mix along with the Fill Opacity value.

Well imagine, if we start with Hard Mix and we get such a great effect, what if we start with something that's more useful. Like, let's say, Vivid Light. We'll go ahead and switch to the Vivid Light blend mode here, and we get a slightly different effect, because we're working with such a reduced Fill Opacity value. I'm going to go ahead and press the Escape key, and I'm going to return the Fill Opacity value to 100% by pressing Shift+0. So this is the standard application of the Vivid Light effect. Compare that to pressing Shift+2, which is what I'd like you to do if you're working along with me, Shift+2, to reduce the Fill Opacity value to 20%, and we get this wonderful, I think, just wonderful sort of interaction between this crackled marble pattern and the layers below, this sort of ancient Michelangelo carving below. That is the effect that I want you to apply. So once again, this is a result of taking the extremely aggressive Vivid Light mode and tempering it using a Fill value of 20%.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

129 video lessons · 39059 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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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
      4m 0s
    4. The Color Range command
      6m 45s
    5. Selecting sparkles
      3m 19s
    6. Setting sparkles to Screen
      4m 19s
    7. Selecting and compositing hair
      2m 59s
    8. When Color Range falls short
      7m 25s
    9. Selecting a base channel
      4m 25s
    10. Enhancing the channel's contrast
      4m 4s
    11. Dodging the highlights
      5m 55s
    12. Putting the mask in play
      3m 20s
    13. Reducing the edge fringes
      4m 21s
    14. Adding a layer mask
      4m 53s
    15. Creating a gradient quick mask
      5m 26s
    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 30s
    2. The subterfuge of sharpness
      3m 14s
    3. The single-shot sharpness
      3m 47s
    4. Unsharp Mask
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      4m 31s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 14s
    7. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 25s
    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
      6m 0s
  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 50s
    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 1s
  4. 45m 28s
    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 28s
    5. Moving a layer
      4m 3s
    6. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      4m 42s
    7. Hair and stacking order
      6m 12s
    8. Adding a frame and expanding the canvas
      6m 2s
    9. Adding a vignette
      7m 0s
  5. 42m 27s
    1. Organization: It sounds dull, but it rocks
      1m 8s
    2. The terrible battle
      3m 3s
    3. Assembling the base composition
      5m 46s
    4. Adding adjustment layers
      4m 55s
    5. Creating a layer group
      2m 24s
    6. Grouping selected layers
      3m 13s
    7. Making the TV lines
      4m 17s
    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 4s
    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 38s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      5m 52s
    7. The darkening modes
      6m 12s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with the Fill value
      3m 53s
    9. Saving a blended state
      2m 54s
    10. The lightening modes
      4m 55s
    11. The contrast modes
      7m 13s
    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...
      59s
    2. Messing with the masters
      2m 28s
    3. Scaling a layer to fit a composition
      6m 39s
    4. Merging clock face and cardinal
      2m 2s
    5. Rotating the minute hand
      7m 42s
    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 32s
    11. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 9s
    12. Adjusting the brush settings
      4m 2s
    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 41s
    18. Applying a digital facelift
      10m 53s
    19. Saving and loading mesh settings
      2m 31s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Planes and perspective
      1m 7s
    2. The Blue Gallery
      2m 47s
    3. Introducing Vanishing Point 2.0
      5m 30s
    4. Drawing out perpendicular planes
      6m 54s
    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 48s
    9. Importing a new image
      6m 20s
    10. Masking and shading the image
      7m 27s
    11. Flat in, perspective out
      5m 57s
    12. Adding perspective type
      4m 50s
    13. Swinging planes to custom angles
      6m 2s
    14. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      4m 35s
  9. 1h 15m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      54s
    2. Creating an independent text layer
      6m 39s
    3. Editing vector-based text
      6m 38s
    4. Working with area text
      6m 15s
    5. Resizing the text frame
      6m 4s
    6. Obscure but important formatting options
      7m 25s
    7. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      9m 38s
    8. Adding a ghostly cast shadow
      6m 19s
    9. Backlighting the text
      2m 48s
    10. Creating type on a path
      7m 37s
    11. Pasting text along the bottom of a circle
      3m 50s
    12. Flip and baseline shift
      3m 15s
    13. Warping text
      3m 58s
    14. Scaling the warped text to taste
      4m 18s
  10. 1m 11s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 11s

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