February, 2016 Photoshop SIG Notes

(1) You can view these notes with links  at https://2014photoshopsig.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/february-2016-photoshop-sig-notes/
(2) Bring along your laptop and try these during the SIG session.
(3) If anyone wants some one to one help, just email me to  set up a time before the SIG.


What happened in December?

Most of the session was spent discussing how to prepare your photos for printing.

The last part of the session was a discussion of what to do in 2016. The different suggestions fell into three groups:

(1) Spend time on Lightroom. It has been suggested to the AUSOM Committee of Management that a possible new SIG be set up for Lightroom.

The point was made that Photoshop starts about where Lightroom ends. Find out more by going to this website: Understanding the Difference Between Photoshop and Lightroom (http://digital-photography-school.com/understanding-difference-photoshop-lightroom/)

(2) Continue as before in 2015. This would look after the needs of two thirds of the group that are new to using Photoshop and Photoshop elements.

(3) Look at using a more project based approach. This has the disadvantage of there not being enough time in the session to cover all the skills needed to complete a project. I’ll try a general topic with specific examples for February and see how it goes.

February, 2016  Photoshop SIG notes – what is blending?

Blending is the combining of two layers using blend modes. There are several interesting ways that this can be done. It comes up in your layers, your brushes and finally in your layer styles.

The blend modes in Photoshop fall into a few categories – darken, lighten, contrast, comparative and composite. For more details, try here: https://2014photoshopsig.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/blend-modes-pdf.pdf


Project 1 – Using one of the  Darken group of blends mode to darken an image

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For this I am going to take one of my photos that looks over exposed and see if I can use a blending mode to darken it and reduce the overexposure. There would be several ways/tools that accomplish the same thing. I could just as easily use a levels, curves or brightness/contrast adjustment layer.

You wind up using the way that seems to suit you.

(1) Open up your image in PS/PE.
(2) Make a copy of it by pressing Control + J.
(3) Click on the  blending mode drop down box and select Multiply mode.

Project 1 - Multiply mode

Click on the drop down arrow and then click on the Multiply blend mode. Try the Opacity slider to adjust the degree of change.

(4) There is a bit of difference. But not enough to to get me excited. I’ll try the other blend  modes to see what I get. I can click on the Evil Eyeball of Death to turn the change off/on to see the difference.

Project 1 - Evil Eyeball of Death

By clicking on the Evil Eyeball of death, you can turn the changes off and on so that you can see the difference between Old and New.

The colour burn mode gives me some brighter browns, greens and blues. But the dog’s head looks like Krusty the Clown.


Project 1 - Colour Burn mode

Color burn blend mode and 65% opacity with dog’s orange fur looking like Krusty the clown..

March Challenge – Project 1
Try this with one of your own photos and send me the before and after jpgs. Please send them to me at  photoshop@ausom.net.au.

Project 2 – Using a mask to tone down the bright fur on the dog’s head
I would like to leave the background the way that it is but take some of the bright colour out of the dog’s fur on the top of his head.

We can do this by using the brush tool and a layer mask.

(1) Open up your first image.
(2) Duplicate the layer by using Control + J.
(3) Add a mask to the copy layer by clicking on the icon shown below.

Project 2 - adding a mask

The red rectangle shows you where to click to add a mask to a layer.

(4) Press B to bring up your brush tool.
(5) Press D to reset your foreground and background colors to black and white.
(6) Set your brush opacity to 40%.
(7) With your foreground color set to black, paint a few strokes over the dog’s furry head. The brush takes away the top layer being painted over to reveal the lighter color fur from the first layer.
(8) If you make a mistake, switch to the white foreground by pressing X. This switches the colors.  As you paint with white, it will cover what is underneath it in the first layer. You can control how much or how little comes off by using the brush opacity.

March Challenge – Project 2
Try this with one of your own photos and send me the before and after jpgs. Please send them to me at  photoshop@ausom.net.au.

Project  3 – Painting with Colored Light
This is a way to add specific colors to an image using a brush and the Color/Color Dodge blend modes. In this project I am going to color in the smoke in a black and white photo of Bob Dylan. Click here (https://2014photoshopsig.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/bob-dylan-the-great-folk-black-and-white-smoke-a-cigarette-a-musician.jpg) to download it if you want to work along with me.
(1) Open the image in PS/PE.
(2) Click on the new layer icon or select Layer/New/Layer. Hopefully it looks a bit like this.

A smokin' Bob Dylan

Take note of the blend mode, the color of the foreground color (pink?) and the brush set at 40% opacity. Source: http://revelwallpapers.net/w/xTiNermNATycnfenzy8JX3/bob-dylan-the-great-folk-black-and-white-smoke-a-cigarette-a-musician-wallpapers.html

(3) Press B to bring up your brush tool.
(4) Use your brush to take a few strokes through the smoke.
(5) Change colors if you want to! Here is what I finished up with.

Bobby Dee

Credit for this idea goes to Sebastian Michaels from his course Photoshop Artistry.

March Challenge – Project 3
Try this with one of your own photos and send me the before and after jpgs. Please send them to me at  photoshop@ausom.net.au.

Project 4 –  Intro to Blend If Sliders
One of the great mysteries of Photoshop is the Blend If sliders that appear in the Layer Effects dialogue box. This is just an introduction to one way that they can be used .

The idea here is to blend a text layer with a background texture. For more details than what is given here, try this website – http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/blend-if/

(1) Go out with your phone camera and take a picture of a texture like the bark on a tree.
(2) Open up the image in PS/PE. Mine looks like this.

Text and Bark

Bark texture opened as background layer. Text layer added .

(3) Click on the text layer and type in something meaningful such as “The sky is blue.” This may take you a few goes. If you are stuck, then Google “How to add text in Photoshop.”
(4) Click on the Layer Effects icon as shown below.

Layer Effects Icon

(5) This will bring up the Layer Effects panel. Another way to spend hours of time tweaking your image.

Layer Effects Icon Dialogue box

The Blend If sliders are marked out by the red rectangle

(6) Try moving the black and white sliders on the  This layer slider one at a time. When the white one gets down to about 175, the text disappears. Move the white slider back to the right and now try it with the  black slider. Once again, the text disappears. Where is this going to take us, I wonder?
(7) Now repeat the above using the bottom slider labeled Underlying layers. The text gradually disappears.

What can we do to make a better looking transition for the text to blend in with the bark behind it?

(8) The trick here is to hold down the Alt key (Option key on a Mac) and to click on one of the triangles for the white and black points on the slider for the Underlying Layer. This lets you split the slider to get a better transition. I finished up with something that looks like this.

Text and bark together

A lot of messin’ with the sliders finally gets the text and bark blended together.

(8) Now is the time to have a read through Steps 3 and 4 in the website mentioned at the start of this project – – http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/blend-if/.

If you want to look at this in more detail, then try this website:

March Challenge – Project 4
Try this with one of your own photos and send me the before and after jpgs. Please send them to me at  photoshop@ausom.net.au.

Project 5 – two images into one

This is one way of creating a composite image. Details can be found at http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/photo-blend/

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(1) Download the two images from here:

(2) Open both images in Photoshop.
(3) Press V to bring up the Move tool.
(4) Click and drag the happy couple image down a bit from the top. Should look a bit like this.

Click and drag to move the happy couple image into the sunset image.

Click and drag to move the happy couple image into the sunset image.

(5) Now click and drag again on the happy couple image and drag it into the sunset image.

happy couple moved into sunset image

Click and drag on the happy couple image and move it into the sunset image. Release your mouse button! Look at the Layers panel on the right. It should show both images. They are outlined with the red box.

(6) Close the original happy couple image by clicking on the X. As in X marks the spot!
(7) Well this is a bit bass ackwards from the notes. So double click on the word Background in the Layers panel. This will bring up a Dialogue box asking you to change the name to Layer 0.

Change the background layer

(8) Click on OK.
(9) We want to move the head of the guy in the happy couple up until his ear in the upper right hand corner. Click on V key to bring up the move tool.
(10) Then click on the layer with the happy couple (I have forgotten which is which!) to make it active.
(11) Now  press the letter T to bring up the transform Tool.
(12) Next click inside the rectangle  and drag the husband’s head up a bit.

Happy hubby is moved up a bit
(13) Press Enter.

There are several more steps in this tutorial to get the two images blended together. but that is all the time we have for this month.

The rest of the tutorial revises what we have learned about already – some adjustment layers like curves, layers, hue/saturation, and the gradient tool.

To really challenge yourself in the next month, try to complete these tutorials below:

These are in order of easy to hardest. Just one of these tutorials will give you heaps of practice. Try one and send the result in for the March Challenge – Project 5.

What is happening in March?
March will be all about ways to create black and white images using Photoshop/Lightroom.

The February SIG notes have been a move to a project based approach to introduce a new topic.

I hope that you will be able to try some of the March Challenges.

These are being written on January 1, 2016. So I would like to wish everyone all the best in the New Year to come.

PS Thanks to Harvest Bakery, Belmore Road, Balwyn for supplying morning tea for the Retirees SIG.

That’s all, folks!





About woldham

Concise! Retired and loving it!
This entry was posted in Blending Modes, Brushes, Masks, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Post Processing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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