Introduction to Layer Styles
So the layer of styles I told you about something called Blend If, and that's what we're gonna be targeting here. And Blend If, I did say will also change your life forever when you edit. And once you see this I hope you're just like, puuh, 'Cause I know when I started playing around with it, it was game over, and I thought I knew just about everything in Photoshop. Never say that, too. That's rule number one of Photoshop, never say I know everything about Photoshop. So, here we have a solid color fill layer over a gradient. We've talked about opacity and how that's a calculation. We've talked about fill, how that's a calculation. Opacity being the intensity of the calculation. We've talked about blend modes. So now let's kind of stack all of this together and look at Blend If. We'll separate Blend If for a little bit then we'll stack it all together. So Blend If is found within the layer styles, and it gives you the ability to protect any of the underlying things or allow only the one...
thing happening to that layer to affect the image. And you'll see what I'm talkin' about in a second, 'cause I like to look at Blend If in one way, and that's the protection way, and I'll show you that and how this works. But I will show you everything about it. Blend If will allow the white areas to show through and the black areas to show through without using a mask, without using a blend mode, and without using opacity. Because again, this is an application all by itself in that cellphone that we have of Photoshop or layers, I should say, that can be tapped into without even tapping into the blend modes or the opacity or the fill. So this solid fill layer, if I double click on it, right here, you don't want to double click in the little square because, again, if I double click in this square, because it's a color fill, it's gonna bring up the color fill dialogue. I'm gonna double click anywhere next to the text. So you can double click here. You can also right click and say layer styles if you wanted to as well. But I like the fast approach, double click, and now I'm in layer styles. And this is where things just go haywire. You know, it's like my wife with options. If we have a street that has restaurants all over it, we're probably not gonna eat, but if we have one street that has one restaurant, I know I'm gonna get fed, because it's sensory overload. Same thing happens when you get into here. So I want you to narrow your focus in on this area right here that says Blend If. And Blend If is exactly what is states. Blend if the underlying layer or this layer is black. Blend if the underlying layer or this layer is white. So, we can move this off to the side so we can see what's going on with our gradient underneath there. It's kinda difficult. We'll go right about... I can't really make the size different. We'll go right there. So if I move this underlying layer, so if I grab this underlying layer, and I move this over to the right, this is going to protect the underlying layer, all of the shadow areas, transitioning into the midtones. So when we talk about pixel values, this is where pixel values are incredibly important, 0 to 255. This is saying that I am not going to allow this magenta to affect any pixels that are black, any pixels that are gray, any pixels that have the exact value of 130. The trippy part about this is that if I press alt or option, there's a little line right here. I can split this and I can feather it. Because we want a nice, clean, smooth transition, right? So as I split this and feather this you can see how this is transitioning from any pixel values that are 49 to 158, it will not affect those areas, and it will feather its way through them. The other side of this is the highlights. So if we bring this over, move this over to the left, it's protecting our highlights all the way to about here, which is our midtones, at 128 would be our midtones. So this magenta layer cannot affect anything that is 127, split and feather, alt or option, to here. That's a nice smooth transition and affect. But notice how this is not using a blend mode, this is not using opacity, it's not using fill. So now let's go ahead and press OK on this. I'm gonna go ahead and pull this away so I can move this around and see this a little bit better. There we go, perfect. So now I'm gonna click this layer. So that was the underlying layer principle. This is the this layer principle. If I double click on this, we're gonna have Blend if, this layer is black or this layer is white. Now typically I did say that I like to stay in one place on Blend If because it makes me life a lot easier, and that's with the underlying layer thing. But I do want to show you how this also plays into effect. So if I move this layer over to the right, we're seeing that this layer is losing all of its black and allowing the underlying layers to show through. Press alt or option again, split and feather, you can see that transition. So anything that's black in this layer will now disappear and slowly transition into those midtones. Same thing here. Move this down. Anything that's white in this layer will disappear and then alt or option, split and feather, slowly transition into the brightest bright areas of that image. Blend If is kind of difficult to wrap your head around, so we're gonna do another explanation of this. It can also be very difficult to see on your photographs, too, which you'll see in our practical application. But what I want you to gather from this is mainly that I'm going to protect the underlying layer's shadow areas from this effect. Notice how when I talk about layers, I always talk about things in the layer stack, with the layer that's on top affecting the layers basically that are happening below it. And that's why it's easier for me to think about things with, okay I want this layer to protect itself from anything that is below. Very rarely do I step into this top option of this layer. Because I'm usually thinking about things in terms of how does it build up. This comes from my screen printing days. I used to be a printmaker. And in screen printing, you wanna print in a way that your lightest light colors get printed first, and then as you build your screens, you go to your darker colors. Because if you were to put black onto your page and then try to print yellow on it, it'll look green. So you have to think about things as what is happening with those underlying layers, and that is one of the best ways I can explain that. But if you're not a printmaker, it probably doesn't help you at all. I'm gonna go ahead and go into our image that we have here for our example. If you see me zooming in and out here, control or command and minus will make that smaller within the frame, control and plus will make it bigger. Control and alt and plus will make the whole thing bigger, the whole frame bigger, control and minus will make the whole frame smaller. So those are just some hotkeys for you as you've seen me doing it. I want to explain that to you. Let me make that a little bit smaller. Bring this out. Okay, perfect. So now Blend If and how it works with our photographs. So if I were to take a layer, like let's say the solid color fill and change this to red. If I were to just apply a blend mode to this like soft light or color, that could work. But what if, as I'm applying that soft light or that color, I also say to myself, well you know what, it would be really nice if that red just did not affect the highlights at all. Don't do any calculations for me. Just don't affect my highlights at all. So if I double click in this color fill, and we look at our image, I want to protect the underlying layer's highlights. Correct? So as I pull this over, you can see how it's starting to protect those underlying layers, press alt or option to split and feather it, to get a really nice transition between what is dark and what is white, and there we go. Now we're only applying that red to the dark areas, transitioning into the midtones. And we're not doing it with a calculation, we're not doing it with a mask, we're not doing it with opacity. But that doesn't mean that we can't use all of these things combined as well, okay? On the flip side of that, if I move this over, bring this up, bring this over, now my dark areas are getting that red applied and my highlights are not. Press alt or option to split and feather this. So I'm gonna go ahead, I liked the way that looked with the highlights there. I'm gonna do something real quick and show you kind of how this looks like this. Okay? Looks good. Press OK. This can be very difficult to see, and I'm the person when I'm masking my images, which when we get into masks in the next lesson you'll see this, I like to press alt or option to look at my masks, but I can't press alt or option to look at Blend If. But if I double click here and I go into something called color overlay, it might seem really counterintuitive. I'm gonna change this color overlay to magenta. So for those of you who may not realize this, magenta doesn't appear a lot in our images. Magenta is a color that typically you'll only see it in errors in your images, especially when it comes straight from camera. You might see these magenta and cyan fringes that we call chromatic aberrations. So anytime I wanna test what's happening in my image, you're gonna see me use magenta. If I'm in Adobe Camera Raw and I wanna see what my masks look like, I'm gonna use magenta. I think the default is red, but magenta allows me to see it a lot better. Because there could be a red door, and if I've got a red door with a red mask, that doesn't help me at all. So magenta really helps to fill that in. With this magenta color overlay, what this is showing me, is it's showing me exactly what's happening with my Blend If settings. So if I go back to my blend options, and I bring this up to here, you can see that the whole thing is magenta. Why is the whole thing magenta? I'm not using a magenta color overlay, I'm using a red color overlay. Well, I'm using a red color fill, but within the layer styles, I'm telling that color fill to become the color magenta. And I'm not doing that because I want to color grade with magenta. Don't think that. I'm doing that because I want to see what happens with Blend If. So with the Blend If settings down here, the underlying layer, if I move this over, watch that. Boom. Oh that's so awesome. Every time I do it I still feel the same way. So if I press alt or option and I split and feather this over, you can see that nice transition between light and dark in the image and where Blend If is actually affecting. So I'm saying that Blend If is going to protect the underlying layer shadows, but how do I know that? I don't know that unless I turn this color overlay layer style on to show me that. Now if I turn that color overlay off, you don't see the magenta anymore. That is strictly only for me to see what's happening with Blend If. So I'm gonna go ahead and bring this down because (mumbles) highlights. Bring this down. Look at that. Man, that's like magic. So if I press okay, and we don't have to turn that color overlay off now, notice in the layer styles now. The layer styles are telling me I've got two things down there. I've got effects, I've got my blending effects, and I also have that color overlay. So if I turn that eyeball off at anytime I have access to that color overlay magenta without actually going into the layer styles every time and turning that visible layer on and off. And this is a great way to see the effects of your Blend If. And that's especially true when we start to get into opacity. If I drop this opacity a little bit, it gets really difficult to see what exactly is happening with that Blend If. But if I turn that color overlay on, we can still see that magenta through, and still see what colors, where it's affecting and what colors it's affecting.
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Software Used: Adobe® Photoshop® CC® 2018