In this Article, I’m going to show you how to use Blending Modes for compositing in Photoshop. Hi! Welcome back to the Sony Jackson, I’m going to show you How To Create Manipulation to composite faster and more efficiently in Photoshop.
How To Create Manipulation
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How To Create Manipulation
We’re going to use this composite, which you probably have seen before. It’s one of my most popular composites, and it was featured in the cover of the Photoshop User Magazine, and it’s the perfect image for me to show you this technique.
The technique that we’re going to use in this tutorial deals with Adjustment Layers and Blending Modes. If you’re new to Blending Modes, then don’t worry.How To Create Manipulation
I’m going to go slow so that you can follow along, but I do recommend watching my tutorial, Blending Modes Explained, The Complete Guide to Photoshop Blending Modes. Let’s get started.
So, we’re going to work with a simplified version of my composite. It only contains three layers. A background, the bear layer, and a foreground. Obviously, the original composite had a lot more layers, but I wanted to simplify it for you in this tutorial.How To Create Manipulation
Before I actually get to the technique, I’m going to pose the problem, and I’m going to show you several techniques that work but are not efficient.
Then I’m going to show you how to solve that problem with an efficient technique using Blending Modes and adjustment layers.
We have our bear layer here in the countermand if I wanted to apply an adjustment to that bear layer, I could simply create an Adjustment Layer and clip that adjustment to the bear by clicking on this icon, which creates a clipping mask.
So now the bear controls the visibility of that adjustment, so I can add contrast to the bear.
Then I can create a second adjustment layer, also clip it to the bear, and make an adjustment to the bear. The adjustments are really not that important.
The point is, is that we’re applying adjustment layers to that one layer. If we change our mind and decide to add a second bear to this composite,
so I’m going to press Ctrl-J, Command-J on the Mac, to duplicate that layer, so now I have two bears.How To Create Manipulation
I can click and move this bear over to the right, and if I want to apply that same adjustment to the second bear, I really have two options. I can either select both of these adjustment layers by holding Shift and clicking on them and then pressing Ctrl-J, Command-J on the Mac and dragging them below the bear.
And also press Ctrl-Alt-G, Command-Option-G,to create another set of clipping masks. That works. The same adjustment is applied to the second bear, but if I change my mind and decide to make an adjustment to the bear, I also need to make an adjustment on the second set of adjustment layers, so you can start to see how that becomes inefficient really, really quickly.
I know that some of you may be thinking, “Well, we can use layer masks for that,” so instead of using a clipping mask, I’m going to use a layer mask, so I’m going to press Ctrl-Alt-G to undo that clipping mask.How To Create Manipulation
Then I can hover over the layer thumbnails of both bear layers, and the first layer I’m going to hold Ctrl and click to load the bears a selection. In the second layer, I’m going to hold Ctrl and add the Shift key, and then click to add the second bear as a selection.
Now I have two selections. Then I can go into the layer mask thumbnail, delete the layer mask, and create a new Layer Mask based on that selection. Then hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and click and drag that layer mask onto the other Adjustment Layer and replace the layer mask.
If you hold Alt and drag a layer mask onto another layer, you duplicate that layer mask and replace it if there’s already a layer mask there.
Now that works, so now we only have one set of adjustment layers that control both bears.How To Create Manipulation
The problem is that we don’t have the flexibility to move the bear if we have already created the layer mask.
Otherwise, we will need to recreate that layer mask, because the layer mask does not move with the bear, so I think you get the idea.
How do we create multiple adjustment layers that affect multiple objects, but we have the flexibility to move them around and control them, all at the same time? The solution to that problem is by using a layer group and use Blending Modes.
Let me show you what I mean by that. I’m first going to delete the layer masks, because we don’t need them,
and I want you to see that we’re not using layer masks for this.
Then I’m going to select the topmost Adjustment Layer and the bottom most element in our composite.How To Create Manipulation
That will be affected by that adjustment layer. In this case, these four layers, and,
by the way, when you select multiple layers, you can simply hold Shift and click on them.
Then I’m going to press Ctrl-G, Command-Gon the Mac, to put those layers into a group,
and I’m just going to call my group Bears, and there it is.
Now, in case you don’t know, groups are simply a way of organizing layers in Photoshop.
That’s it. When you create a group, you can put layers inside,
and they don’t do anything in terms of changing the look of the layer.
They only are there for organizational purposes, so anything that you put in here simply passes through,
through the rest of the layer stack, like any other layer. Notice that when I select the layer,
the default Blending Mode is Normal, but if I select a group, the default Blending Mode is Pass Through.
So, that means that all the layers that I put in there, as I just said, will simply pass through and be part of the normal layer stack.
However, if we change the Blending Mode, we’re going to get a completely different effect.
I can change the Blending Mode to Normal, and watch what happens.
The adjustment layers inside of that group only affect the bears,
so I can come back into any one of those adjustment layers,
make an adjustment, and it will only affect the contents of that group.
No matter how many bears we have, those adjustment layers will only affect those bears.
If I create another adjustment layer, that Adjustment Layer will, of course, only affect the content of that group.
By the way, let me know in the comments if you knew about Pass through or not.
It’s the only way that I know if the stuff that I’m teaching you is valuable to you,
so if you like it or enjoy it, just leave a comment letting me know,
and if you don’t, also leave me a comment.
But anyway, what I’m going to do now is explain to you why this works and how it works
with an example so that it’s clearer to you.
We have this group here called Bears, and if I change the Blending Mode to Pass Through,
all the adjustment layers will, of course, affect everything else below them, including the items outside of the group.
But if I press Ctrl-E, Command-E on the Mac, to merge, all those layers will collapse into one single layer,
as you can see here. Notice what happened to the adjustment layers.
The effect that they were applying is only affecting the contents of that group because we merged them all into one single layer.
I’m going to press Ctrl-Alt-Z to undo, so basically when you select a group and change the Blending Mode,
the result is exactly the same as having your group set to Pass Through,
selecting the group, pressing Ctrl-E, Command-Eon the Mac, to merge into one layer, then changing the Blending Mode. Now, I know that that sounds a little confusing. But another way to think about it is that when you have a group,
and you change the Blending Mode of that group, Photoshop will first blend the content of the group,
and then it will apply a Blending Mode to the resulting composite made up from the layers inside that group.
That is why merging the layers gives you the same result because merging the layers means you’re blending the layers first,
and then you’re applying a Blending Mode. I really recommend that you use this technique.
I’ve used it on all my composites that you have seen before. If you would like to see more of my composites,
you can always follow me on Instagram, where I share them all, and also on my Balance page.
I’ll post a link to that right below in the description and if this is your first time at the Sony Jackson,
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Thank you so much for watching, and I will talk to you again very soon.