November 12, 2006

Blending layers

One thing I like to experiment with in Photoshop is Layer Blending. You need at least two layers to do this. I have an Action that I use a lot anyway that makes a second layer - recorded it using the Action options. It includes making a new layer, running "Shadow Highlight" to lighten some dark areas, and increasing the exposure slightly.

treeI often select Multiply as a blending mode and then move the Opacity slider to the left until I see a little detail in the shadows. This gives me deeper colors without totally blacking out the dark areas. Can you see the slightly richer color in the second image? Well, it's a subtle difference, but subtle is good if you are working with a photo and want it to look realistic.

The image below is neither subtle nor realistic. Here I used Exclusion as a blending option. Exclusion often gives you a dark muddy look but in this case it was worth trying.

After you find a look that you like, merge or flatten the layers before saving as a JPEG.

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