Target Tonal Ranges with Blend If
blend, if is, is the one that's a little bit more mysterious. I think, I think, to a lot of people, but it can be very, very useful now. The image that I've pulled, I actually intentionally manipulated it in a unflattering way on purpose. Which is to say, I made the skin a little bit gray and flattened dark compared to the dress, okay? And I also have it on a white background, because I think this is one of the instances where blend, if is especially useful, especially useful when it comes to white background images. Now again, it generally gets you to about the same place as a luminous mask or a channel mask, with one exception. So if you would rather use blend if for everything that we've done so far, it'll work. Um, it'll do all of that, but it does one extra thing, and it's found when you double click on a layer and it's right down here, Okay, it brings up blending options if you double click on a layer. Uh, if you create something on you, right click and you go to blending options...
, you'll see it. It's right here, okay and what it does. It presents you with two sliders that tell you if you're gonna be using the information on this layer to change or the information on what's underneath to change. For my purposes, I almost always use the underlying layer. So what this does is it works similarly to illuminates. Mask in that it makes your selection applied based on tone, but you can create a more targeted tonal range than you can with a luminous mask. Where's illuminates? Mask allows you to do shadows, and it allows you to do highlights. You can pick mid tones with blended or a certain amount of mid tones with blended, and that's what makes it unique. So, um, you can use the slider and you can feather the slider. And there are different ways to use this. I I have seen it used when you make an effect. So let's say you have an uncharted mask. For example, um, it can, with the right in Frank's let's say you've got ah like a high pass filter where you've come through and you want to really add like an aggressive sharpening to part of the image, right? Put this on soft light way may have seen this before. Kind of works similarly. Teoh. The high pass filter, right? Like you know, I just don't want this to apply to the whole image. What do we do? Well, I find that if you take the blend, if you can actually feather it out, let's see if we can minimize this window a little bit. No. Okay, I'm gonna move this over so we can see it. You can actually feather the effect out of the image. This is similar. Illuminates masks, okay. And so what you dio as you kind of move your slider to where you want it to be, So it's a I don't want it to be on the skin tone. You kind of move it. Just so it's about here. And then what you'll dio is you hold down the option key and it splits the slider. What? That is is your feather okay? And so that's how you feather the effect. And you can actually merge effects. See how it on Lee effects a certain part of the image and not others. Okay, now again so far, pretty similar to illuminates mask. Let's show you where it will be different. Okay, so I have skin that's relatively gray and de saturated and dark. So I need a way that I can target the skin and maybe make it brighter, maybe add a little bit of contrast, a little bit of life to it. But I'm very happy with this, and I'm very happy with this. So how do I targeted specifically without just coming in and masking it in? The first thing I have to do is figure out what this adjustment is that I'm gonna create. And so what I'll do is I'm gonna make a little curve adjustment layer. I'm gonna make it a little bit brighter and add a little bit of contrast to it. Maybe we'll add a little bit of yellow, okay. And unfortunately, this doesn't look good on everything else. Maybe you needed the dress to look a certain way on. Dso you basically come in and you're like, Ok, well, I need a dress to look a certain way Can't touch it. I could mask it out, but could be a better way. And so what I dio as I bring up blend if okay and what? I'm going to do, and I'm actually gonna exaggerate this a little bit more, so it's a little bit easier to see. Now that I've colorized the background, I've made it really yellow. Okay? I don't want that background to be yellow, So I'm gonna bring up blend if And the first thing I'm going to Dio is bring the top slider down off the background and you can see it's also bringing it off the dress as well. See that And then right about here is when it starts to hit the skin. And so what I'm gonna do is hold down the option key to split it and feather that effect until I'm happy with it. And sometimes it takes a little bit of finagle ing. I'm gonna bring that yellow effect off the shadows a little bit, and I'm gonna feather that, too. And so what I've done is I've created I know it's a little bit heavy handed right now, a way to just target this very specific mid tone without actually having to do very much. So I'm gonna kinda comes. I kind of bring that yellow down off that a little bit, so it's a little bit more naturalistic. And then we will lower the opacity until we're happy. Okay? And that's how you can use blend if to target a very specific tonal range. Like I said, if you want to come through and you want to do a curve or level because you want to come in and make the darks darker, fine. You can definitely do that exact same thing here. And all we're doing is bringing it just off those tones down there and we're making it. Just apply to the shadows. There we go. Let's bring it up a little bit more. Feathered it too much. There we go. So you can target this very specific tonal range of the image so you can create contrast in those tight little area again. It works exactly the same as a luminous mask. The downside of the blend, if is you don't really get a visual representation of it other than exactly what you're seeing. So if you're gonna person that liked to use the viewing viewing of the mask in the limits mask to make it a little more visible because it's easier to make this election luminous mask is probably gonna be the way to go for you. But the blend If when you have a white background, I find this is a particularly good opportunity to just bring your selection in off of that and it's a little bit better and more accurate. All right, so to recap, we have the channel masks. Gentle masks allow us to make a selection based on color, and in this particular case, we used it as a way to credit complex black and white. We use that as a way to target the red tones, and we use it as a way to isolate a subject from a relatively clean background. We used the luminous mask to make selections based on tone instead of color. Whereas we came in, we recovered shadow information. We added contrast to the shadows. We popped highlights and we color graded shadows and highlights. Based on those selections very important to remember that we use contrast to refine. You can use a levels to refine. You can use curves to refine. You can dodge and burn. You can paint on these masks. You could manipulate them just like any other mask. This just becomes a better starting place when you want to create more targeted and more isolated selections. And finally, we look at the blend if which allowed us to create an even tighter tonal range. So in case you had something that you needed to isolate to not have the effect happening in like the absolute white to the absolute blacks, this becomes a little bit of a better opportunity to do so. You have to spend a lot of time experimenting with this to do it, because you could manipulate masks almost as much as you can manipulate anything else on. If you actually start treating masks as a very manipulable tool, either through painting or through contrast or selections or apply image, and all of these great things will actually open the door to use significantly in terms of ways in which you can manipulate the image. I mean, when I when I was starting out, I would look at the images I see in the magazines. How do I do that? Why? Why does that look so different than mine? What's what's the disconnect? And I would you know, you read people in helmets. It's these very complex mask these targets and I knew what they were like. I knew what these targeted massacres, but I couldn't figure out how to use them for me as a way to really do what I wanted and just like photo shop, just like lighting and everything else. The more you do this, the more you'll figure out how you can make it work for you. For me personally, I do a lot of dark shadow imagery, and so if I'm in an image and the shadows are very, very dark, and I'm not getting enough visual interest in that tonal range, Little contrast Bump saves me tremendously, and it helps things from getting lost or you've got a commercial. Did you wanna make something look a little bit glossier in a beauty image? Just that little kick to the highlights allows you to do that quite easily. Let me remind me one thing. So let's say you came in here and you wanted Teoh add a little kick of highlight to actually do it on. I'll do it on the other beauty image. So So let's say you wanted to add a little kick of highlight to this image, which we did before. We kind of brought this up right When you do the apply image to the highlights, I'm and you're just gonna find tune it until it hits the exact tonal range. You need it to something like this. Okay, Again Doesn't have to look good. It's the mask. Your It's about building a selection there. Is that right now before, Like, why would I ever use the feather? Because this looks real gritty. A simple feather will soften that effect up a little bit, right? And then when you can use is a group of itself, and then you just paint it in where you want it to be. And so what you're gonna build yourself is like these really nice speculator highlights on your image where it does the work for you. I know you expect this to be a little bit more polished up when you would do this step, but here's the no mask and here's the with, and so it just allows you to find tune, paint those highlights onto your image or paint deep, dark shadows onto your image.