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

The power of blend modes


Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

with Deke McClelland

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Video: The power of blend modes

This exercise is an introduction. I'll introduce you to two things actually. First I want to show you the layered composition that we'll be modifying over the course of this chapter and then secondly, I want to give the most rudimentary sense possible of the degree to which you can blend layers using the two Opacity settings and the 20 plus blend modes available to you inside Photoshop. So let's start things off by opening this image right here. It's called skyandstatue.PSD. It's available to you inside the 15 Blend Modes folder that's inside the exercise files folder.
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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 power of blend modes

This exercise is an introduction. I'll introduce you to two things actually. First I want to show you the layered composition that we'll be modifying over the course of this chapter and then secondly, I want to give the most rudimentary sense possible of the degree to which you can blend layers using the two Opacity settings and the 20 plus blend modes available to you inside Photoshop. So let's start things off by opening this image right here. It's called skyandstatue.PSD. It's available to you inside the 15 Blend Modes folder that's inside the exercise files folder.

And you should just see one layer on screen right now and that is a sunset sky captured by photographer Sean Lowe In order to see the other layers go ahead and bring up the Layers palette either by clicking on its tab or pressing the F7 key and you can see that there is the background layer, visible by itself, a handful of other layers that are turned off right now. Let's cycle between these layers and get a sense of what each one of these layers looks like on its own by pressing Alt along with the Right bracket key that would be the Option+Right bracket on the Mac.

By pressing Alt+Right bracket I advance to the gradient layer right here, which features an independent layer on which I drew a white to black gradient, white starting in the lower left region of the image and black in the upper right region. Now I'll press Alt+Right bracket again to see this statue image right here and this is a statue by Michelangelo, from the tomb of Giuliano De'Medici as it turns out. Set against a transparent background so wherever you see checkerboard inside Photoshop that indicates transparency. Now every single one of these layers right now is set to the Normal blend mode with an Opacity and Fill value, both values, set to 100%. I'll be explaining what these values mean in subsequent exercises, but for now just note that that's telling us that every single pixel in the active layer is as opaque as it can possibly be. So in other words all the pixels inside of the statue's head are opaque in the case of this layer, and all the statues outside of the statue's head are completely transparent, because that's the way these pixels are hardwired.

Now you can modify things on the fly by changing the blend mode and the Opacity value and the Fill value, as we will see later. Alright, now let's press Alt+Right bracket once again in order to switch to the Texture layer. This is a pattern layer that I created by clicking on this little black-white icon, choosing the Pattern command and then selecting one of the predefined patterns that ships along with Photoshop. And this one ends up looking like sort of a marble texture. It doesn't look like much right now, but it will look like a lot once we start blending it with the other layers, again using blend modes.

All right. Again I'll press Alt+Right bracket to advance to this layer. It's called 'slight blue' and it features a very low saturation blue-color expressed as a gradient that fades to transparency. Once again relegated to its own layer. So wherever we see the checkerboard pattern that indicates transparent or translucent pixels. Finally, if I press Alt+Right bracket once again I'll advance to the Text elements group and now I'll twirl that one open and click in front of each one of these layers right here in order to make of the layers visible and we can see is some text that says Michelangelo, with a little bit of a cast shadow underneath that I created using the Motion Blur filter and I'll show you how I achieved that in a later exercise but for now, just note that this is live, editable text so you may get a message when you first open up this image that asks you if you want to go and update the text layers for vector output.

If you do see that message and if you ever see in the future, just go ahead and click on the Update button. Alright. Anyway I'm going to Shift+Tab back my palette, so I can see them on screen. Now that we've reviewed all the base layers that are available to us, let's go and check how we might go about mixing and matching those layers. Go to the Window menu and choose the Layer Comps palette or you can press that keyboard shortcut that I gave you with my Deke keys, Alt+F7 or Option+F7 on the Mac. Again that keyboard shortcut is only available to you if you loaded Deke keys.

And I'll get a big tall Layer Comps palette to the left of my other palettes. I'm going to go ahead and move this guy. I'll drag the Layer Comps tab, and I'm going to drop it underneath right there, underneath the Action item, that little Play button there that's inside of my History and Actions palette group and then I'll click on Layer Comps in order to make it visible. Notice that I've made my Layer Comps palette extra wide and there's a reason for that. I've got two Layer Comps inside of this palette that I've created in advance and saved along with this image.

One's called 'opaque layers' and the other ones called 'blend mode madness' and if you twirl the items open, you will see descriptions of each one of these Layer Comps. I created these descriptions in advance so notice that the opaque layers item says that the background and statue layers are visible. Other layers are hidden and all layers are set to the Normal blend mode with an Opacity of 100% and if you want to see that, just click in front of opaque layers in order to see what I'm talking about. That is indeed the saved composition and by the way, to create a comment like this so that you can tell other people how your layered compositions work, all you need to do is double-click your Layer Comp and enter your comment text into the comment field.

It's that simple. All right. I'm going to cancel out of there and bring back up my Layer Comps palette. Now the only difference between this comp right here and this comp right there, blend mode madness, which is all layers turned on, so all layers visible, subject to various blend modes and Opacity settings. The only difference is that I have applied a bunch of different blend modes, a bunch of different Opacity settings and also there's an Outer Glow layer style going on as well, but I haven't modified a single pixel inside the image. So big difference between where we're starting and where we're going to end up, all thanks to these parametric effects. That is to say- these editable parameters that are made available to us as Opacity settings and blend modes inside Photoshop.

All rights. So now you have a sense of what we're going to be doing. What I want you to do is click in front of the opaque layer's Layer Comp, then go ahead and tuck the Layer Comps palette away so that we can just see the Michelangelo head set against the sunset sky background. And that's where we're going to start things off, beginning with the next exercise.

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