Advanced blending determines how one layer will interact with other layers in neat and mysterious ways and it is found in this dialogue ...
There are a lot of different effects that can be done in this dialogue including ...
as well as the those two little gray scale lines at the bottom of the dialogue - the Blend If: sliders.
Now if you are like me then you've seen those two little sliders before but had absolutely no idea what the heck they were for or how to use them.
Hopefully by the end of this tutorial we will all have a better understanding of the Blend If: sliders and Advanced Blending.
There are two sliders in this area of the Layer Style Box - one is called This Layer and the other is the Underlying Layer.
Each of them has two sliders with one at the dark end and the other one at the light end.
This is what Adobe has to say about the two sliders ...
"The sliders in the Blending Options dialog box let you control which pixels from the active layer and from the underlying visible layers appear in the final image.
For example, you can drop dark pixels out of the active layer or force bright pixels from the underlying layers to show through. You can also define a range of partially blended pixels to produce a smooth transition between blended and unblended areas. "
Got it?How about this ...
Moving the black or white sliders for This Layer will cause areas of the top layer to disappear.
Moving the black or white sliders for Underlying Layer will cause areas of the layer below to show through the selected layer (it is punching holes through the active layer).
Probably the best way to learn how to use these sliders is to just mess about with them and see what happens - so let's do that ...
A practical example of using this advanced blending mode is with a product picture on a web page.
On this site, for instance, I have right and left columns that are a different color from the main body. If I take an image of a Wacom tablet and put it on the right column it is highly likely the white background of the image will be very distracting and not fit with the color scheme of the column.
Advanced blending to the rescue!
When the Intuos image is dragged onto the background with the Move Tool, this is the result - the white background of the tablet covers the light blue background.
The goal is to eliminate the white background that came in with the tablet image, keeping the tablet image intact. It could be done with the Magic Wand but there is a better and more efficient method using the advanced blending mode.
Now it is time to work with the Blend If sliders in the Layers Palette.
To access the sliders do one of the following ... click the Add A Layer Style button (outlined in red) on the layers palette, or go to Layers > Layer Style > Blending Options or double click to the right of the layer name (Layer 1 in this case).
This will bring up the Layer Styles palette and the Blend If sliders.
In this case I want the light blue background to show through so the light end of This Layer needs to be adjusted.
The next trick is to completely remove the white at the edges of the tablet and this is how to do that ...
You can see the little sliders have a small line between them. When the ALT key is pressed and the cursor is placed on either side of the line and then moved the sliders split and this is the key to blending - remember what Photoshop says -
"you can also define a range of partially blended pixels to produce a smooth transition between blended and unblended areas."
Here is the final image ...
This is a relatively simple example but it is fun to do and effective.
The second example of advanced blending is quite interesting.
We have a nice brick wall here with some text spray painted on it
Nice picture but the spray paint just doesn't look right, does it? It needs some texture.
Advanced blending can deal with this quite nicely. With the Layer Styles dialogue open the Blend If sliders are available.
The top slider (This Layer) does not do much but the other slider (Underlying Layer) makes a big difference.
Here is the image with the dark slider adjusted ...
And here is the image with the light slider adjusted ...
How about this one - I dragged a picture of Tabitha onto the brick wall then adjusted the Underlying Layer dark slider up to 26, split it with the ALT key and took the right half up to 155.
Doesn't it look like my little sweetie was painted on the wall and then wear and weather started removing the paint?
This effect can also be achieved with the Overlay Blend Mode - this technique just proves there are many different paths ways to achieve a Photoshop outcome.
The advanced blending Blend If sliders work particularly well with portraits or still life images or black and white images - well - pretty much anything.
And - it is surprisingly simple ...!
In every case the steps are ...
Step 4 and step 5 are where the really interesting effects happen and there are an enormous number of ways they can be adjusted.
There are 23 different Layer Blend Modes and there are a infinite number of adjustments you can make with the Blend If sliders. (well - not infinite but a lot)
Here is a good image to try out the advanced blending techniques.
To demonstrate the versatility of the advanced blending techniques here are three examples.
Here is what you can do with advanced blending with a portrait.
The preparation of the image is ...
The image is interesting and a bit flat - well - a lot flat. It needs some contrast , especially in the hair and in the background.
The black slider was moved up to 11 (just where the image started to get darker in the darkest areas). The slider was split at this point by pressing the ALT key and moving the right side of the slider slowly toward the light end, stopping at 190.
Changing the dark slider brought back some of the darker areas of the image.
High Key Images
There is a technique on my site for creating High Key images and it is one of the most visited pages - folks just seem to like those high key black and white images.
The technique is very brush intensive using the dodge tool and it can take some time to get it just right.
A similar effect can be achieved with advanced blending once you know the really easy steps.
So - here are the steps to creating a high key image ...
Thats it - done!
There is a lot you can do with advanced blending using a combination of Blend Modes and the Blend If: sliders - what you need to do is try it out on all kinds of different images.
Page LinksBlend If; Sliders
Example One - replacing a background
Two - the
brick wall with text.
The steps to using Blend Modes and Blind If with an image.
Three different examples using Blend Modes and the Blend If sliders.
Working with a portrait.
Use advanced blending to create a high key image.
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