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PS Blending Modes

From the Photoshop Blending Modes Cookbook...

High-Contrast Sketch

with John Beardsworth

find outlinesCombining the Find Edges filter and the Overlay blending mode can produce a high-contrast sketch effect that works with many types of images. This recipe includes multiple Overlay layers, which boost contrast, so the recipe works particularly well with low-contrast images.

In the recipe, I use three Overlay layers -- you can use more or fewer, though more than three can produce excessive contrast. Another variation, if the result is too harsh, is to add some Gaussian Blur.

STEP 1 - In the Layers palette, duplicate the original image layer by dragging the background layer onto the "Create a new layer" icon, or use Ctrl/Cmd-J.

STEP 2 - Using the pull-down blending mode menu in the Layers palette, change the duplicate layer's blending mode to Overlay (or alternatively use the shortcut Alt/Opt-Shift-O) and rename it "Overlay 1."

STEP 3 - Reduce the Overlay 1 layer's opacity to 60%.

STEP 4 - Apply Filter > Stylize > Find Edges to the Overlay 1 layer.

STEP 5 - Use Ctrl/Cmd-J to duplicate the Overlay 1 layer. Name the new layer "Overlay 2."

STEP 6 - Use Ctrl/Cmd-F to apply Filter > Stylize > Find Edges to the Overlay 2 layer.

STEP 7 - Repeat steps 5 and 6. An easy way to do this is to use Ctrl/Cmd-J followed by Ctrl/Cmd-F.

portrait sketch

Direct Contrastdialog

This recipe always adds contrast to the image, which this early morning shot needed.

Adjust the Overlay layers as shown:
Layer 1: Opacity: 60, Fill: 100
Layer 2: Opacity: 60, Fill: 100
Layer 3: Opacity: 60, Fill: 100
(Enlarge dialog box, and click here for the results.)


Detailed Contrast

Detailed Contrast

Pictures with plenty of detail are naturally suited to the Find Edges filter. (click here to see the original.)

Adjust the Overlay layers as shown:
Layer 1: Opacity: 60, Fill: 100
Layer 2: Opacity: 60, Fill: 100
Layer 3: Opacity: 60, Fill: 100
(See this dialog box, and click here for the results.)

Now, let's continue with three more essential blending recipes...


Learn to blend layers like the pros...

cover Unlike Photoshop's built-in filters, blending modes don't change the actual pixels that make up an image, so their effects are completely reversible. There are over 20 blending modes in Photoshop CS2, which range from those which darken and lighten images (such as Darken, Multiply, Lighten, and Screen) to modes that increase contrast (such as Overlay and Hard Light) and adjust color (such as Hue, Color. Luminosity, and Saturation).

Photoshop Blending Modes Cookbook is the only recipe-format book that covers blending modes specifically for digital photographers.

Photoshop Blending Modes Cookbook for Digital Photographers : 49 Easy-to-Follow Recipes to Fix Problem Photos and Create Amazing Effects
by John Beardsworth

In addition to covering each blending mode in detail, John Beardsworth, a London-based photographer and author, takes the reader through a whole collection of recipes that demonstrate how to use blending modes alone or in combination to fix problem photos, add subtle effects, and create dramatic images that are truly unique.
List Price: $29.95; Amazon Price: $18.87 -- You Save: $11.08 (36%)
Paperback: 176 pages Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc.; 1 edition
Covers: Changing hue, saturation, luminosity, and color * Correcting basic color shifts * Repairing highlights * Sharpening or softening focus * Adjusting lighting for subtle or dramatic effects * Controlling contrast * Creating surface effects and textures * Adding interest to landscapes and urban scenes * Enhancing portraits of children and adults * Simulating graphics arts techiques * and much more.

Adobe Photoshop CS2
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