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Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Lesson 26 of 36

Blend If Modes With Layers

Dave Cross

Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

26. Blend If Modes With Layers

Lesson Info

Blend If Modes With Layers

I want to show you something here and it's, it's a little more advanced but I think it's so important because it's so cool. So I'm gonna almost guarantee you that this is probably the only beginners class where someone would show you this but I know you guys can do it because you're all looking at me like sure I can. So but it's one of those things where it's not an every day function but when you start doing more of what I'd call maybe artistic things in Photoshop of blending images together, this can be, sometimes it's almost like magical. But I'll warn you in advance it's all can be frustrating because it's like really close to working but not quite what you want. So just to demonstrate how this function works, all I've done previously as I've added a layer and I use this tool called the gradient tool which allows me to make this gradual blend from black to white. So in fact let me just show you how to do that because it didn't take that long I should just show you. So new layer, ma...

rquee selection tool, gradient tool and it has all these different options for what type of gradient. I'm just using a regular black to white and I'm clicking at the top of this and dragging down to the bottom and it fills them with the gradient. Not something we would typically do to a photograph which is put a big hunk-ing gradient on top of it. But this is to demonstrate first of all how this technology works, so you can kind of understand and then I'll show you an example how to actually use it in an actual project. So the function is called "blend if". And the way it works, technically it's part of the layer style dialogue box but it's not like a drop shadow or a bevel emboss, it's a special effect kind of thing. So I double click to open this up and in my dialogue box, down here. See there are these two things as blend if and then this layer underlying layer. So this is the part that at first your like wow what's all this stuff do. But basically the way it works is this layer is a layer I'm on which is my gradient. Underlying layer meaning any other layer below in this case the photograph. Okay So, if I take the black triangle of this layer and start to move it, see how as I'm moving the black portions of the gradient are becoming transparent. So instead of using the opacity command which says take the entire layer equally and make it see through, this is making it see through based on the brightness values of the layer. Now just so you know the blend if sliders always look like that, gradients [Kite 00:02:28] looking it's not because I have a gradient on my screen they always look the same as you'll see. So that always, it's always black to white. So if I take the white part of this and drag it, you'll see that the white areas are looking transparent. And for now I'm gonna click okay to show you. It's a little hard to see but if you look closely, let me zoom in a little bit so you can see hopefully a little bit more. Technically the entire gradient is still there, so if we look at the top of the thumbnail you still see 100 percent black. So this is like, kind of like an opacity command, we're saying, make it see through but its still actually there. So it's not like it's gone and that's important to note because sometimes people say but now I'll add a stroke to it and they'll still see a stroke around the entire rectangle because technically it's still there. So that's kind of important to know. But what it does do, is it's again a non destructive method so now I can look at it and say, this is what I want for now but if I change my mind I can easily bring it back and move the triangles again. So I'm gonna put them back where they were to show you that you also have the underlying layers. This is an earth shattering function we're doing I guess right now because people are like its shaking the building. So if I go the underlying layer and start to drag this triangle it's saying let me take all the dark pixels from the layer underneath and start to push them through and this could be really interesting because our techniques use to take you forever to try and figure out a way to blend them together now it's just happening automatically. I could also say take the white pixels of the underlying layer and start to move them in, and again remember, this is with not a typical scenario of putting a gradient but kind of see how it works. And at a certain point I'd say but I also want to take the black parts and make them go away and so you have both of the sliders work in concert with each other. Now the only thing about this that's kind of unfortunate sometimes especially noticeable in things like the gradient by, get a little closer, here hope you'd be able to see this, as I move the black triangle, can you see how the edge of the gradient is kind of like got this weird little pixelized thing that's because those sliders are so specific that as I move a little bit more it's saying this pixel see through this pixel see through and a certain point you might get that kind of jagged edge look. So there is a solution, it's a little bit odd until you know it. See the little triangle I've been working on if I get in closer here, that little triangle, see how there's a little white line in the middle of this thing that's adobe's way of saying if you hold down a certain key you can split the triangle into two smaller triangles and anyone can guess what that key might be? Anybody? (mumbling from audience) Option or alt? All of a sudden I've got, see how it's a much softer little edge here because I'm creating a little almost like transition zone between these pixels are completely see through, these pickles are visible, these pixels are I'd like to use the technical term kinda. Kind of see through kind of not. And when eventually you say yes I like that and you click okay it just becomes another function that's in your layers panel a little symbol over here in the corners to remind you something has happened. It doesn't show up as like a layer style but this little indicator says you've made some change. So that's kind of what it does, how would I actually use it in practice. Well let me show you an example of one. I'ma open these two photographs which will open of course in two separate documents. I'm gonna take this explosion one, take my move tool and drag and drop it over. It's way too big so we'll do, free transform and then fit on screen so I can see where all those handles are, hold down this shift key. Make it kind of the size I want. I actually don't need to make it proportional because it doesn't really matter. I'm just trying to make it fit the way I want, there we go. Now what I would really like to do is have it look like the explosion is kind of surrounding this football player and any other method would be like very time consuming trying to figure out how on earth am I going to do that. So what I tend to do and the reason I want to show you these is because it typically takes about 14 seconds to know if its going to work or not. If it doesn't then you go, oh well that was worth trying, let me go back to some other much more manual method. So in this case I double click on here. I say take this layer and let's take some of the black and then do that split the triangle thing and blend like this and maybe take the underlying layer. So that wasn't even 14 seconds that actually kind of cool. Mean to see if that works or not, now it might still not like it but it's still a layer, so I can still take my move tool and say maybe I should drag it down here or maybe better if I reorganize the layers, put it behind it and make the football player kind of see through all those things are possible and it takes like no time at all. The warning dialogue box that should come with this is don't get too addicted to this because sometimes you'll be like this will be perfect and you move the slider and go "oh, I forgot that that white picket fence there's also a white building over there" because it doesn't look at one area, it says every pixel on this entire photograph that's this shade will be made see through. So if you wanna say "but I wanna keep that black area" no you can't. So they'll be times when your like "the blend this line" and we're like "oh, that's so close". And there is ways around it but there's lots of times where it really does work quite nicely. You may remember this image that I showed you yesterday. Here's, these are all actual type layers, so still editable type but I want to make it look more interesting so I just use the blend if slider to do this. So just let me put it back the way it was so we're just regular type. So just playing around and moving sliders and seeing what its going to do. And then take this one. You can even like overlap them and there's no rule. You just keep playing with it until you like the way that it looks. So it still remains editable type but now we're completely changing the look of it in a way that's also editable. I like the way It looked before but just to make the point. So, again, most people I would say would probably not show blend if sliders and "hey here's a class for beginners" but it's one of those things where, to me there are sometimes where, people are reluctant to show some because of a more complex but to me that's like saying I'm going to teach you to drive but for now you can't use the break. We're just gonna like you know drive in or maybe not use the accelerator might be a better example but I want to give you all the information so at least you know this exists. It is a little more complicated than somethings but like anything once you do it a couple times your like "oh yeah that's how that works" and there are times where, we're gonna talk later on about layer masks and there are times where I would have taken 45 minutes to make a really accurate mask but then I tried the blend if slider and it worked in almost like no time at all. But again don't, there will also be times when your like "oh that almost worked but not quite". But again as you saw it takes like seconds to try to see if its gonna work and the important thing about it is it's still an editable affect. So if you open my doc like this one I could just go back and change those try those things if I want. Question? [Person From Audience] I have a question about the gradient, I noticed it didn't use your foreground color, how do you change the color when you're doing a gradient? So when you're. The gradient tool works in such a way, it actually has, it could use the foreground color if I want to but when I went to the gradient tool, there's like this picker up here. So see how the first one actually foreground to background and then foreground to transparent, those will always change with your color. This one is always there as just black and white. Since I knew I want a black and white I just skip to that one. But if you wanted a gradient that went from this blue to this blue, you'd go to the gradient picker and pick the first one and then it's gonna use those shades of blue. And as the angle and length changes the gradients so if wanted corner to corner gradient or I want a gradient that just goes a little bit and the rest fills up that depend how you apply it by how you drag that little slider if you will to apply the gradient.

Class Description

Join Dave Cross in this beginner friendly class starting at the very basics with Adobe® Photoshop® CC. You’ll learn how to begin navigating the software and what the best practices and work habits are to approach different projects.

Dave will cover:

  • Working non destructively on your files
  • How to resize, crop, and straighten images
  • Using layers with basic layer examples
  • Adding text, color, and painting to images
  • How to retouch and adjust images using selections and masks
  • Learn how to use the tools you need to create the image you want. Dave will demonstrate using sample workflows that take you through projects from start to finish.

Don't have Adobe Photoshop yet? Get it now so you can follow along with the course!

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Quick Notes Guide

Landscape Image for Practice Edit

Senior Portrait Missing Element for Practice Edit

Senior Portrait With Element for Practice Edit

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I really like Dave's methodical teaching style. Step by step works best for my learning processes. He also has a lovely voice to listen to during his classes, that is important if you have to listen to someone talk for any length of time. I also like the "dance" he does by explaining what he is going to do, then does it, and then comes back to explaining the choices he made and why. Very, very easy to follow him in his straight forward explanations. He increased my understanding of so many tools I use and so many I have never used. Wow! Photoshop with Dave took away a lot of "fear"! (Wish I had a "happy face" to place here!) I bought this class today because I don't think I can get along without it!

Jim Bellomo

I was so lucky to get to attend this class in person here in Seattle. I have been a fan of Dave's for years and own a number of his courses from Creative Live. When this class was announced I almost decided to skip it since it was listed as a "beginners" class but decided that it "might" be worth it. One of the reasons I wanted to take it was that I am self-taught. I had started with Photoshop 5 (not CS5 but 5) about 15 years ago (at least). I figured it I took this class I might learn a little something that would help me in my work. Well, two days later I have 18 pages of handwritten notes, a whole new way to work and it has already paid off in a huge way in my daily workflow. I bill out my hours at around $100 an hour as a graphic designer and marketing person. That means in the two days that I spent 10 hours a day taking the class and commuting to it, it cost me about $2000 in working time. But it didn't. I can guarantee that I am way ahead on this one. I l learned so much. The real world things I learned will pay off for a very long time. Within one day after the class I had already started changing my workflow to be more non-destructive and faster. Dave is an awesome teacher and I can't say enough good things about this class. Even if you think you know Photoshop, you don't. I teach it in my small world but I learned so much.


A writer and an old person (over 60), I rarely use neat exaggerations like "great" or "fantastic," and never say "awesome" in the currently fashionable manner. However, I would call this class both great and excellently planned. Cross is well-spoken and a consummate teacher with a rarely non-irritating voice. It is information packed, clearly presented, well-organized, and extremely helpful. I wish I could afford his others.