Ask anyone at Adobe what distinguishes Photoshop from every other image-editing program, app, or digital blip on the planet, and they’ll tell you “masking and compositing.” Apparently you agree, because my video course Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals is tearing up the planet over at lynda.com. It’s N-to-the-1-to-the-L-D-C, as the dope kids say. As if I’d know.
Naturally, I’m gratified. (Thanks very much, btw!) Plus, it emboldens me to report: Today I and my beloved video publisher release another installment in the series, Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending. The image below might make it look exacting and academic. Which it is. But it’s also expansive and practical. Because it tells the ultimate post-processing story: How to paint without permanence, create without consequences, and, in the end, mask without masking. In short, how to assemble photorealistic artwork through the pure power of artistic thought. It really is that good.
This is a short course, just 4 hours, and yet it manages to comprise 9 chapters. Here they are:
Chapter 1, The Power of Blending.
Here’s where I introduce you to everything, including how blending works, where you find blend modes, the difference between Opacity and Fill Opacity, the “Fill Opacity Eight,” how to blend with adjustment layers, and the blending shortcuts.
Chapter 2, The Revelation of Blending Math.
Some people like math, lots of people don’t. If you’re a math fan, this chapter explains the formulas behind all the blend modes except one (Soft Light, for which there is no reliable documentation). If you don’t like math, skip this chapter! I promise, you won’t miss a thing.
Chapter 3, The Normal Modes.
The “normal” modes include Normal, Dissolve, Behind, and Clear. This chapter explains how they work and shows what you can do with them. For example, here’s an effect created with Dissolve.
Chapter 4, The Darken Modes.
Every blend mode fancier knows that the best of them all is Multiply, which uses the active layer to darken the layers below. Watch this chapter and learn why Multiply and the other darken modes are even more powerful and day-to-day useful than you thought.
Chapter 5, The Lighten Modes.
The next best mode is Screen, which uses the active layer to lighten those below. But that’s just the beginning, as this moody businessman (masked with the help of the ultimate lighten mode, Linear Dodge) will attest.
Chapter 6, The Contrast Modes.
Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, and the other contrast modes are great for adding clarity, diffusing focus, and wrapping textures onto surfaces, as in the case below. Even Hard Mix is your friend.
Chapter 7, The Inversion & Cancelation Modes.
The next group of blend modes includes two inversion modes (Difference and Exclusion) and two cancelation modes (Subtract and Divide). Difference is especially useful, permitting you (among other things) to create text that inverts anything below it, as shown here.
Chapter 8, The Component (HSL) Modes.
Ancient Assyrian carvings aren’t normally this rock-musical resplendent. Unless you colorize them with a host of festive layers in Photoshop. Which is something you can do using the final group of blend modes, known as the component (HSL) modes.
Chapter 9, The Luminance Sliders.
It’s all advanced stuff, don’t you worry. But this final group of options actually goes by the name Advanced Blending. The luminance sliders (This Layer and Underlying Layer) let you drop out and force through the visibility of pixels based on their luminance levels. And the Blend If option lets you control visibility based on the composition of a single channel. Which is all I did to “mask” this lightning.
In just 4 hours (53 movies), you’ll learn how to blend in Photoshop with absolute confidence. Which translates to more efficient compositions, more effective masks, and better looking artwork. Check it out now and let me know what you think.