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Multiply Mode

Lesson 2 from: Layer Blending Modes in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

2. Multiply Mode

Next Lesson: Screen Mode

Lesson Info

Multiply Mode

Then in this menu, the next thing we have is an entire section of blending modes right here, and the topmost one is Darken. I'm gonna call that grouping the darken modes, because each and every one of them can only darken your picture. That's kinda why they're grouped together. And to show you how they work, I'm going to create a new layer here. And I'm gonna put something simple in that layer. I'll grab the gradient tool and I'm going to make a gradient across our image. Just dragging from left to right. So that is on the layer above. And let's take a look at how some of those modes work. The mode that I find to be easiest to understand in there is the one called Multiply mode. Now I don't like its name, but it's easy to understand once somebody describes it. Multiply mode acts like ink. And so imagine that you already had this picture right here printed on a sheet of paper. And you sent that sheet of paper with this image already printed through a printer a second time. And on the se...

cond pass, you printed what's on this layer. Think about what that would do. Well, how do you print white? When you go and use a printer and you print white, it just leaves the paper alone. So that means that area of the image where you see white should be unchanged when we end up using Multiply mode. Then if you wanna make something just a little bit dark, you'd put just a little bit of ink on the sheet of paper when you print. You wanna make it a lot darker, you add a lot of ink. And that's all it's gonna do is just add that to the image that's underneath. But the area that's white should just disappear so you see what's underneath, because the way you print white is to leave the paper alone. So let's change this menu to the choice called Multiply. And that's what it looks like is if we're printing with ink and we printed the contents of this layer on top of what's underneath. That's Multiply. So what could we use Multiply mode for? There's all sorts of things we can use Multiply mode for. Let's say I came in here and, well here, I have a tattoo. Let's give my wife, Karen, who was in the other picture, a tattoo. This is my arm. It says Wacom on the Wild Side, and it's an eagle holding a Wacom pen as if he had a graphics tablet. I got that when I was teaching at a conference called Photoshop World. It's actually a ballpoint pen tattoo, so it was only there for a short time. I'm gonna make a selection around this to this to get rid of anything that doesn't really contribute to the tattoo. I'm using the lasso tool so I can make a freeform shape. And I'll just go like that. I'm gonna copy, and then I'm gonna go back to that image of my wife, Karen, and I'm gonna paste. In case you're unaware, to change which document you're viewing, there's a keyboard shortcut. It's Control + Tab on Mac or Windows, I think it's the same on both. And so Control + Tab means go to the next document. And Shift + Control + Tab means go to the previous. And so that's how I suddenly switch to the other document. Not that critical, but... All right, so now the next thing I wanna do is if I were to use Multiply mode right now, then it's gonna print what's on this layer as if it was ink on the image underneath. Well, how would you print the color of skin? Wouldn't you put down a bunch of magenta and yellow ink to do that? So it would end up shifting the color of what's underneath. I can show you. I'll just change the mode to Multiply. And you can see that color of skin being printed on top. We don't want that. So I'm gonna set it back to normal. And what I really need is to get the area that's surrounding the tattoo to be white. Because white is the one color that disappears in Multiply mode. And so all I'm gonna do is adjust this layer in an attempt to make the surroundings white. To simply things, I might first come in here and choose Image, Adjustments, Desaturate. Desaturate will pull all the color out, so we won't have the color of skin in there. That does the exact same thing as going and applying a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer and lowering the saturation all the way down. It's just a shortcut for it. Now I'm going to adjust this image to attempt to get the background around it white. And I can use many different adjustments. I'll use Levels, because many people are comfortable with that one. It's easier to understand than some of the others. In the upper right, that slider forces areas to white. So I'll bring it in until I start getting white around the left side of the tattoo. When it comes to the right side, I think if I go far enough that this area over here becomes white, I'm gonna lose too much of the tattoo here. Let's find out. I'll just keep moving this over until the whole background turns white, which is about there, and I see I'm losing too much. So I'm only gonna do this until the left side of the tattoo becomes white. Click OK. Then to get the rest of it, I'm gonna go down here to one of my tools. There's a tool we haven't used in any of the classes yet that's right here. It looks like a Popsicle. And that tool, if you click and hold on it, has more than one in its slot, but it's called the Dodge tool. And what it does is it brightens things. So I'm gonna take the Dodge tool with a soft edge brush, and I'm just gonna paint over here where my arm was a little bit darker in an attempt to get it closer to white. And then I'll paint one more time. And I think I'm getting close to getting that to white. So now if we were to print that with ink on an inkjet printer, think about how it would go about doing it. Wouldn't it leave the white areas alone where it wouldn't touch the paper? And then only where the tattoo is is where it would put some ink down. So let's change this menu now to the choice called Multiply mode. And then it's kind of a big tattoo, 'cause if I move it around you can see it in there. I wanna just put that on her shoulder there. So I'm gonna choose Edit, Free Transform. That's how you scale and rotate things. When I choose Free Transform, I can grab these corners, pull it in towards the middle to scale it down. And click somewhere within the image to move it around. To rotate, I move my mouse outside of those handles. And if you look at my mouse, you'll see it looks like a curve with some arrows on the end. That's indicating you're rotating. As long as you're outside, you can do that. And I'm just gonna rotate it 180 degrees because Karen's shoulders are upside down. And maybe scale this down to get it so it would fit within the area I would like. I'll zoom up with Command + Plus, Control + Plus in Windows. And now you can see how she's starting to get a bit of a tattoo. Now there is a little cleanup I'd need to do, and all I have to do is either grab the eraser tool or grab the paint brush and paint with white, and I can paint around any areas, either eraser or painting with white with a normal brush tool to clean it up. I'm not gonna spend too much time cleaning it up though. I think I could've done better using the Dodge tool. I just needed to paint probably one more time. But you get the idea that it's Multiply mode that is allowing this to print onto Karen's skin here. If I were to set it back to normal, you'll see it just has a white background. Well not everybody has to do these kinds of things with a tattoo every day, but you might wanna sign your pictures with your signature. So why not just sign your name on a white sheet of paper, take a photograph of it or scan it in, put it on a layer, and set it to Multiply mode. The only other thing you'd have to do is adjust it to make sure that the background surrounding your signature is truly white instead of a shade of gray, because it's only white that disappears in Multiply mode. In fact, that is a common quality of all of the blending modes that are found in that same category, that same section of the Blending Mode menu. With all of those, white disappears. And any color that disappears in a particular blending mode is what's known as being neutral. Neutral meaning it'll have a neutral effect on what's underneath. Nothing will happen. So with any of those, white will simply disappear. So then, any time you're gonna use one of those modes, like Multiply mode, you might as well try the other modes that are found in there. Here's Darken mode. There's Color Burn mode. Linear Burn mode. And Darker Color. So I might use Linear Burn. And if anything ends up having too large of an effect on your image, feel free to lower the opacity of the layer. I just go to the top of my Layers panel, click on the word Opacity, and drag to the left to lower it. So there we go. You could also use Multiply mode if you ever have a shadow in a picture, and you want the shadow to print onto something else. Let's say you had a white background, just a white sheet of paper. You put a coffee mug on that sheet of paper, and you took a photograph of it. Well, you could select the coffee mug in the photograph and put it on its own layer. So it's just the mug and not the sheet of paper it was sitting on. Then if you have that sheet of paper it was sitting on, it would have the shadow for the mug sitting there. Well, set it to Multiply mode and suddenly it'll print on whatever's underneath. So I would have the mug on its own layer, and then the background that was originally shot on a separate layer, set it to Multiply mode, and it'll print on top like this. Then we can use that for transplanting things between images as well. But let's see if I can take this tree and easily put it in another picture. I'm gonna make a selection here that just gets rid of my wife, Karen. Sorry, Karen. I just don't want you to be transplanted. And I'm using the lasso tool right now. Selected that. I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Copy. Then let's switch to a different document. I can close this one. And I'm gonna put it on that wall that's there. So all I'm gonna do is choose Paste. Here it is. And I might transform it so it's in a size that might look appropriate. I'll put it so it would end right where that board at the top hits. Somewhere in there. And if I choose Edit, Free Transform, I can scale it up or down. I wanna make it so it ends right where the top of that table begins. And then I might move it over so it's somewhere right in there. I want it to look like that shadow was falling onto that wall. Well, we have a couple choices we could try here. If you think the background surrounding the shadow that's there is brighter than what's behind this picture right now, you could choose a mode called Darken mode. In Darken mode, it compares the layer you're currently working on to whatever's behind it. And only those areas that are darker than what's behind it can show up. So anything that is the same or brighter than what's behind it will simply disappear. And so I could try Darken mode, and then if any parts of the surroundings are showing up, just adjust that layer. Maybe go to Levels. And in Levels, pull in that upper right slider, which will force more and more areas to white. It just looks kind of bright and that, starting with the brightest portion. And then click OK. So we somewhat transplanted it here. It's not quite the same as Multiply mode. Darken mode is going to leave the shadow as dark as it was previously, and only the areas that are darker than what's underneath show up. In Multiply mode, it always combines the brightness, or I should say the darkness of the layer we're currently working on with the darkness of what's underneath, because it's like printing with ink, and there just happens to already be some ink on the sheet of paper. There happens to be however much is underneath. So Multiply mode would make this darker, and in Multiply mode, that background has to be completely white. Otherwise any little hint of darkness in it will be translated here. So that's why Darken mode was more useful in this particular instance. Then if I don't want it to print on top of this radio, I would add a layer mask. We have a session as part of the complete guide that talks about layer masks. It's a way to temporarily hide the contents of a layer. And I could come in here and paint with black and get it off of the radio. So you get the idea. There are many other uses for the other choices that are in that section, but the main thing to keep in mind is that white disappears. So if you ever do anything and a lot of white shows up in the end result, you wanna get rid of the white but keep whatever is left over, then those particular modes can be useful. An instance of that might be to use a filter. Certain filters will produce an awful lot of white, and if you wanna see an example of that, I suppose we can use the same image here. I'm going to duplicate the layer that contains this image. One way of duplicating is to type Command + J. That means jump to a new layer. Control + J in Windows. And then I'll run a filter. The filter I'm gonna try here is Filter, Stylize, Find Edges. And with Find Edges, look at how much white you get. It's like the majority of the image is white. Well in all of these first section of those Darken blending modes, white is neutral, meaning it disappears. So if I go over here to Darken, you're gonna find the white stuff right away disappears. And then I can try as an alternative Multiply mode. I can try Color Burn mode, or the Darker Color. It's a personal choice as to which one you like. And if it's too much with any of those, you can just lower the opacity of the layer. And if you don't want it to apply to the entire image, again, add a layer mask and paint with black where you don't want it to apply. All right, then let's take a look at some of the other modes in the sections that are here. So again, I'm gonna create a simple layer, which will be a gradient, across this image. And you remember when we went in here and used Multiply mode, I said that that acts like ink. And with ink, this white area here would leave the paper alone, so that's gonna leave the image alone, and then as it gets darker and darker, it's just gonna add more and more ink to the image.

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Loved this class! The instructor is very clear, direct, and instructive. Doesn't waste time. Highly recommended!

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