Posts tagged "Adjustment Layers"

November 8, 2010

Controlling Pixel Interaction Through Blend Modes

In previous posts, I have covered the shortcuts to change blend modes, and as a result, I have had several people request more detailed information about each blending mode so lets get started.

First some basic information – a blend mode allows you to control how the pixels on one layer work with or affect (or blend with) other pixels in Photoshop. They can be found throughout the program in such areas as the Layers panel, Layer Styles,  the Fill, Stroke and Fade commands, the Painting tools, and Apply Image and Calculations commands. Within each of these different areas of the program, the blend modes which are available vary based on which modes are useful and appropriate for each command. Except where noted, these modes work on a per channel basis — i.e., they treat an RGB image like three grayscale images.

When using blend modes, it’s helpful to think of the effects in terms of the following three colors:

• The base color is the original color in the image (which can be the color on a layer or a cumulative combination of layers).

• The blend color is the color being blended (the painting or editing color).

• The result color is the color resulting from the blend.

Note – some of the blend modes have what are called Neutral colors, or colors that have no effect when they are blended. For example, Multiply has a Neutral color of black, and Screen’s neutral color is white – but I’m getting ahead of myself…

The first grouping of blend modes contain from one to four blend modes depending on the feature: Normal, Dissolve, Behind and Clear. Note: the Fill command and the painting tools are the only ones that list the Behind and Clear blend modes. In this grouping, there is no Neutral color – all blend colors will effect the base colors. When used at 100% opacity, the blend color will replace the base color. I point out that I’m using 100% because lowering the opacity of the layer (or paint or fill etc.) will change the way that the blend color is combined with the layer below.  By definition:

• Normal – This is the default mode. Pixels don’t blend. Results are as expected – you choose red to paint with, and you get red. You put a photo on a layer and it is displayed as the original photo obscuring any layers beneath it. As expected. (Under the hood, this mode edits or paints each pixel to make it the result color. Note: Normal mode becomes Threshold when you’re working with a bitmapped or indexed-color image.)

• Dissolve  – Edits or paints each pixel to make it the result color; however, the result color is a random replacement of the pixels with the base color or the blend color, depending on the opacity at any pixel location. Lowering the opacity (in this case the opacity of the Layers palette) reveals a speckled effect which is either the blend color or the base color – never a combination of the two. I’ve seen this blend mode used effectively when creating a stippled effect with the paintbrush and a large brush (see illustrations below).

• Behind – Edits or paints only in the transparent areas of a layer. This mode is available for the painting tools and the Fill command.  It’s like painting on the back side of acetate, underneath the image. Note: this mode works only in layers with Lock Transparency deselected (that little checkerboard icon to the right of the word Lock on the Layers panel).

• Clear – Makes all affected pixels transparent – essentially the same result as using the Eraser tool. This mode is available for the painting tools, the Fill command, and the Stroke command. Note: you must be in a layer with Lock Transparency deselected to use this mode.

The first image is the original photo of the mountains. The second is the image of leaves on a transparent background. The next image  shows the result of the leaves stacked on it's own layer, on top of the mountains with the blend mode for the leaves layer set to Normal. The last image also has the leaves set to the Normal blend mode, but the opacity of the layer has been reduced to 50%.

The first image is the original photo of the mountains. The second is photo of leaves with the background deleted. The third image shows the result of the leaves stacked on their own layer, on top of the mountains with the blend mode for the leaves layer set to Normal (in the Layers panel). The last image also has the leave's blend mode set to Normal, but the opacity of the layer has been reduced to 50%.

In the first image, teh blend mode for the leaves layer is set to Dissolve. The second illustration is a painting of the leaves layer created by using the Clone Stamp tool with it's blend mode set to Dissolve, sampling from all layers, and painting on an empty layer. The third Photo illustrated painting with the Paint Brush tool set to Behind and the Fourth is also with the paint tool set to Clear.

In the first image, the blend mode for the leaves layer is set to Dissolve. The second illustration is a painting of the leaves layer created by using the Clone Stamp tool with it's blend mode set to Dissolve (sampling from all layers, and painting on an empty layer). The third image shows painting with the Paint Brush tool (on the leaf layer) with the paint brush's blend mode set to Behind (basically Behind only allows paint to be added in the transparent areas). Note: most of the time I think it would just be easier to paint on a separate layer but I'm sure that people have reasons to do it this way! The fourth image also shows the paint brush painting (on the leaf layer), but with the paint brush's blend mode set to Clear (basically it acts as an eraser!).

3:50 AM Permalink
September 14, 2010

Preview Adjustment Layer Changes

When refining changes (moving settings) made with an adjustment layer, hold the “\” (backslash) key to toggle between the before state (when you started making changes) and the current state (the changes you’ve made).

6:17 AM Permalink
August 27, 2010

Using the Curves Modal Dialog Box

There are times when you will want to use Image > Adjustments > Curves to modify an image instead of using an adjustment layer. This is true, for example, when adjusting a mask. The following shortcuts are handy when navigating the Curves modal dialog box. Note: these shortcuts are not always the same when using the Adjustments Panel to modify a curves adjustment layer.

Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + M displays the Curve Dialog Box

Command Option (Mac) / Control Alt (Win) + M displays the Curves dialog with the last used settings

With the on-image adjustment button (also known as the targeted adjustment tool or scrubby slider) off:

Command (Mac) / Control (Win) -click the image to add a point to the active curve only.

Command (Mac) / Control (Win) +Shift to add a point to all of the channels.

Shift -click in the image area to add Color Sampler point.

Option (Mac)/ Alt (Win) + Shift -click on a color Sampler point to delete it.

Click -drag on image to display a small dot on the curve corresponding to the value clicked upon.

Control (Mac) + tab and Tab (Win) will toggle focus from one point on the curve to another (as will the + and – keys).

Shift click to select multiple points on the curve.

Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + Delete to delete a point.

Use the arrow keys to move the select point one increment. Add the Shift key to move in greater increments (10).

Option (Mac)/ Alt (Win) + drag the black/white point sliders to display shadow/highlight that will be clipped to pure black/white.

Option (Mac)/ Alt (Win) + click the grid to toggle size.

Option (Mac)/ Alt (Win) + P toggles Preview on and off.

5:07 AM Permalink
August 26, 2010

Auto Color Corrections Options

In the Levels, Curves, and/or Black and White Adjustment panel, Option (Mac)/ Alt (Win)-click the Auto button to display the Auto Color Corrections Options.

5:05 AM Permalink
August 25, 2010

The Curves Adjustment Panel

With the on-image adjustment button (also known as the targeted adjustment tool or scrubby slider) off, and the eyedropper tool on:

Command (Mac) / Control (Win) -click the image to add a point to the active curve only.

Command (Mac) / Control (Win) +Shift to add a point to all of the curves (channels).

5:04 AM Permalink
May 26, 2010

Auto-Select Parameter for Adjustment Layers

PSCS5 – In order to automatically put the keyboard focus onto the first field in the Adjustment panel, use the fly out menu in the Adjustments panel, and select Auto-Select Parameter (this behavior was added as it is similar to the legacy way of working with image adjustment dialog boxes – as oppose to the adjustment panel). Return (Mac) / Enter (Win) + Shift is another way to put the keyboard focus onto the first field in the Adjustment panel.

5:13 AM Permalink
May 25, 2010

The Targeted Adjustment Tool in the Adjustments Panel – Custom Keyboard Shortcut

PSCS5 – To use a keyboard shortcut to select the Targeted Adjustment Tool while using a Hue/Saturation, Curves, or Black & White adjustment layer, choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Under the Shortcuts for “Tools” scroll the towards the bottom of the list to locate the “Targeted Adjustment Tool” line item and enter in your own custom keyboard shortcut.

5:12 AM Permalink
May 24, 2010

The Targeted Adjustment Tool in the Adjustments Panel – Auto Select

PSCS5 – In order to have the Targeted Adjustment Tool automatically selected when adding an Adjustment Layer such as Hue/Saturation, Curves, or Black & White, use the fly out menu in the Adjustments panel, and select Auto-Select Targeted Adjustment. Note, in order for this menu item (Auto-Select Targeted Adjustment ) to appear in the drop down, you have to actually add an Adjustment layer that has the Targeted Adjustment tool (Curves, Hue/Saturation, Black & White).

6:10 AM Permalink
December 18, 2009

Navigating Text/Numeric Entree Boxes

As is common in the many dialog boxes and panels throughout Photoshop, the Tab key moves between numeric entry boxes. For example, tab moves between the Input or Output options in Curves Adjustment panel (although in this case, this is a MAc only shortcut…). Note: one of the text/numeric entree boxes must be active in order to move to another.
In addition, once the box is highlighted, the up/down arrow keys increase/decrease the value by one unit. Add the shift key to shift the value by 10 units.

6:21 AM Permalink
December 17, 2009

Displaying Clipping in Curves

When the Curves Adjustments panel is active, Option (Mac)/ Alt (Win) + drag black/white point sliders to show clipping. Note: don’t drag the points in the curve, drag the black and white triangles below the curve. If you have selected the black or white point eyedropper and mouse over the image area, holding the Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) key will also preview any clipped values.

5:19 AM Permalink
December 16, 2009

Displaying Different Channels in Curves

When the Curves Adjustments panel is active, Option (Mac)/ Alt (Win) + 2-6 to toggle through the different channels (2 = composite, 3 = Red, 4 = Green, 5 = Blue or 3-6 for CMYK etc.)

4:19 AM Permalink
December 15, 2009

Changing Sample Size

When using the On-Screen Adjustment (Scrubby Slider) and Eyedropper tools in the Curves Adjustments panel, the sample size is linked to the Color Sampler Tool. To quickly change the sample size while using the Curves Adjustments panel, Control (Mac) or right mouse -click in the image area and select the preferred setting from the list. Note: this will change the options for the Color Sampler tool.

4:08 AM Permalink
December 14, 2009

Adding Color Samplers in Curves

When the Curves Adjustments panel is active, shift-click in the image area to set a Color Sampler. Shift -drag to reposition the Color sampler. Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) + Shift -click on sampler to delete it.

5:07 AM Permalink
November 20, 2009

Curves Grid Preference

In the Adjustments Panel, Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) -click in the grid area to toggle more/less grid lines. (10% vs quarter-tone increment)

5:16 AM Permalink
November 19, 2009

Deleting Points on a Curve

To delete a point on a curve, select the point and do any of the following:
• Press Delete/Backspace
• Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + click on point (on the panel or from the image area)
• Click and drag the point off of the grid

5:15 AM Permalink