The Absolute Power of Blend If

Lesson 10/10 - Blend If and Actions


The Absolute Power of Blend If


Lesson Info

Blend If and Actions

You're looking at me doing this and you're thinking, man, he's doing the same thing over and over again with this Blend If thing, right? Well, you can turn these into actions, okay? And I'm gonna show you how to do a couple of them. I'm not gonna show you how to do all of 'em 'cause then I give away all my secrets. But if you're not familiar with actions, I've done a whole thing on our boot camp here on CreativeLive on actions. There's a whole lesson just on creating actions. So I'm gonna be rather quick about it 'cause I've already covered that somewhere else. But let's say I wanted to create actions for shadows only, highlights only. No shadows, no highlights, midtones only. You can do that in your actions, so that when you put your layer on there, all you gotta do is press play, and it will automatically have recorded into it, the no highlights, no shadows, however you build that, okay? So let's go ahead and just make a new folder here. We'll call this creative live test. It's a tes...

t 'cause we don't know if it works yet. (pants) Let's see if we can do this. So, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go back into the history and just pop that layer back on there, and I'm gonna delete that curve because I like what we had going on here. So what this does is with an action, it records everything that you do. So I like to start fresh with an action. I'm gonna call this shadows only. So if I double-click on this layer and record that, don't record yourself clicking on that layer 'cause then every time you play that action it's gonna look for a gradient map. Well it's not on there. You gotta record yourself already on the layer, double-clicking it, and now we want the shadows only. So if want only the shadows to be affected by this effect that we're gonna do, we're going to bring this down to here, press alter option and split this and feather this into the midtones, which would be, hope you're saying it in your head, 128, 'cause we showed that at the beginning, right? So a nice, even spread. That would be your shadows only. And we'll press OK. And if we did it correctly, we'll press stop. If we go back in our layers palette to before that happened, if I click on this shadows only and I press play, please work, please work, don't make me a fool. I'm just kidding. It worked. We turn that color overlay on and we see that that now says shadows only. So now if we were to make another one, let's go back in our layers palette a little bit. New action, and we'll call this highlights only. I'm gonna double-click in here. Not rename, double-click in the effects, okay. Bring this over to about 128. Where are you 128? There you are. Alter option, feather this in. So now that's gonna be a highlights only, and press OK. Press stop, we'll go back to the beginning and see if it worked. Press play. Color overlay, boom. Highlights only. So if we add another layer here, or another action I should say, we're gonna go and do, let's do, no shadows. Double-click inside this layer. Bring this back down. If we want no shadows involved, but we want the highlights and the midtones involved, we'll just bring this up to about the midpoint between 128, alter option, split and feather that over to about somewhere between 128 and 130, somewhere around there. Press OK. Turn our color overlay on, no shadows. And we can really test this, oh, see look what's happening. Ah, freak out mode. Do I delete everything? No, just press stop and then delete these things. It records everything. It recorded me clicking on all those layers. So I'll delete that, 'kay? So a good way to see this is if we go onto something like a diagram like this. I always suggest if you're a tinkerer type like me, build yourself some of these types of these images that you can use to test these things. So if I click on this layer, and I press play on shadows only, there we go. Magenta's only on shadows. Press play, highlights only, look at that. Press play, no shadows, ah, look at that. Idn't that cool? And if you wanna do the midtones, that's a tricky one, and you're like, well how do I do just the midtones then, Blake? Well, good question. Press the new action, we'll call this midtones only, press record. And then, if we double-click inside this layer, we can do it on both sides. And we said we couldn't do that, right? Boom. That'll be our midtones only. Stop. There we go. And what I would also suggest, is you record an action that clears it out. So you have your highlights only, shadows only, no highlights, no shadows, midtones only, and then clear. That way it clears it all out. It's really helpful stuff. A student was asking if you could use Blend If to say remove the glare from a window that's in a photograph. Absolutely, yeah. So what you could do is, I mean that might be a good place for a luminosity mask too, which we're gonna talk about in the luminosity course here. But that will be a specific thing where you've got that glare, glare is usually a highlight, right? So whether that's a glare on glasses or a glare on a window, it's usually a highlight area. So you would do what you need to do to correct it, and then go into your Blend If and then protect whatever you don't want to be affected by that. Which would probably be your shadows through your midtones so that only that highlight area essentially gets that effect. Which you probably want to do with a curve, and manipulate that curve to start pushing and pulling the light that's in that reflection. Are you gonna be able to get rid of the reflection? Not necessarily, but you can probably blend it in with the rest of what's going on. I'd probably use a clone stamp just to be like hey, you're gone, but, you know. [Man With Glasses] Great. If you really need that. So if you want to follow me on my adventures through everything that is PhotoShop and coolness, go to and that can take you to a sign-up form where you can follow everything I do.

Class Description

Hidden deep within the Layers Styles panel is Blend if, one of the hidden gems of Photoshop®’s tools. Blend if sliders allow you to blend images together to achieve more natural, creative and impactful results. In this course, Blake Rudis will show you how to unleash the power of Blend if in a multitude of ways, from noise reduction to sharpening to color grading. By the end, you’ll realize there’s almost nothing you can’t do with this multifaceted feature.


Gina Hamm

This was a great course and really opened my eyes to an essential part of Photoshop that I had been neglecting. Blake is an excellent teacher. His love of Photoshop is evident in his teaching style and really gets you excited to learn.

David Babcock

Geat class - I enjoyed learning more about blend if - an area that I have not used a great deal. I would make on suggestion though, please upload the work files that you are editing - I learn more by doing than just watching.

Robert Figueroa

Ouch so good it hurts! Chock loaded with awesome workflow techniques that open up so many possibilities. Saw it free and will buy it and watch over.