The Digital Darkroom (Adobe Photoshop)
Developed and Instructed by James Gordley ©2004

 

LAYERS
ADJUSTMENT LAYERS


Figure L-1

 

Blending Modes:

Normal. Edits or paints each pixel to make it the result color. This is the default mode. (Normal mode is called Threshold when you’re working with an image in Bitmap or Indexed Color mode.)

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. This mode works best with the brush tool and a large brush.

Behind. Edits or paints only on the transparent part of a layer. This mode works only on layers with Lock Transparency deselected, and is analogous to painting on the back of transparent areas on a sheet of glass.

Clear. Edits or paints each pixel and makes it transparent. You must be on a layer with Lock Transparency deselected in the Layers palette to use this mode.

Darken. Looks at the color information in each channel and selects the base or blend color—whichever is darker—as the result color. Pixels lighter than the blend color are replaced, and pixels darker than the blend color do not change.

Multiply. Looks at the color information in each channel and multiplies the base color by the blend color. The result color is always a darker color. Multiplying any color with black produces black. Multiplying any color with white leaves the color unchanged. When you’re painting with a color other than black or white, successive strokes with a painting tool produce progressively darker colors. The effect is similar to drawing on the image with multiple felt-tipped pens.

Color Burn. Looks at the color information in each channel and darkens the base color to reflect the blend color. Blending with white produces no change.

Linear Burn. Looks at the color information in each channel and darkens the base color to reflect the blend color by decreasing the brightness. Blending with white produces no change.

Lighten. Looks at the color information in each channel and selects the base or blend color—whichever is lighter—as the result color. Pixels darker than the blend color are replaced, and pixels lighter than the blend color do not change.

Screen. Looks at each channel’s color information and multiplies the inverse of the blend and base colors. The result color is always a lighter color. Screening with black leaves the color unchanged. Screening with white produces white. The effect is similar to projecting multiple photographic slides on top of each other.

Color Dodge. Looks at the color information in each channel and brightens the base color to reflect the blend color. Blending with black produces no change.

Linear Dodge. Looks at the color information in each channel and brightens the base color to reflect the blend color by increasing the brightness. Blending with black produces no change.

Overlay. Multiplies or screens the colors, depending on the base color. Patterns or colors overlay the existing pixels while preserving the highlights and shadows of the base color. The base color is mixed with the blend color to reflect the lightness or darkness of the original color.

Soft Light. Darkens or lightens the colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the image. If the blend color is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened. Painting with pure black or white produces a distinctly darker or lighter area but does not result in pure black or white.

Hard Light. Multiplies or screens the colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the image. If the blend color is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened. This is useful for adding highlights to an image. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened. This is useful for adding shadows to an image. Painting with pure black or white results in pure black or white.

Vivid Light. Burns or dodges the colors by increasing or decreasing the contrast, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened by decreasing the contrast. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened by increasing the contrast.

Linear Light. Burns or dodges the colors by decreasing or increasing the brightness, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened by increasing the brightness. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened by decreasing the brightness.

Pin Light. Replaces the colors, depending on the underblend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, pixels darker than the blend color are replaced, and pixels lighter than the blend color do not change. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, pixels lighter than the blend color are replaced, and pixels darker than the blend color do not change. This mode is useful for adding special effects to an image.

Hard Mix Reduces colors to white, black, red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, and magenta—depending on the base color and the blend color.

Difference. Looks at the color information in each channel and subtracts either the blend color from the base color or the base color from the blend color, depending on which has the greater brightness value. Blending with white inverts the base color values; blending with black produces no change.

Exclusion. Creates an effect similar to but lower in contrast than the Difference mode. Blending with white inverts the base color values. Blending with black produces no change.

Hue. Creates a result color with the luminance and saturation of the base color and the hue of the blend color.

Saturation. Creates a result color with the luminance and hue of the base color and the saturation of the blend color. Painting with this mode in an area with zero saturation (a neutral gray area) causes no change.

Color. Creates a result color with the luminance of the base color and the hue and saturation of the blend color. This preserves the gray levels in the image and is useful for coloring monochrome images and for tinting color images.

Luminosity. Creates a result color with the hue and saturation of the base color and the luminance of the blend color. This mode creates an inverse effect from that of the Color mode.

Try to think of a layer as though it is a transparent sheet on which you can place selections, add paint, special effects, text, and all the other tools at your disposal without effecting the rest of your image. You can have as many layers as you want. (limited only by the amount of memory installed on your computer).

In our last exercises you may have noticed that when you pasted a "selection" that you had copied, Photoshop Elements placed that "selection" on a new layer. Each and every time you pasted your selection a new layer was created and your selection appeared to become part of the background image. So much for what you see is what you get.


Figure L-2
 

LAYER ICONS

Layer is visible
No eye means the Layer
is hidden.

Indicates the Active Layer

Indicates a Locked Layer

Indicates a Linked Layer

Indicates Effects filters have been applied.

I created the image above  using 13 layers. Each layer a separate image, combined together as one, the image on the left is a peek at part of the layers palette for the image above.

With all of these "layers" how do you tell exactly which layer you are currently working in. Take a look at  you will notice that the layer named atmosphere is highlighted in blue and there are a couple of icons visible on the left side of the thumbnail view, the eye and a brush . The eye lets you know the layer is visible, the brush lets you know that you are working on that layer (it does not represent the current tool being used on that layer).

 

The first time you open Photoshop Elements the Layers palette lives in the palette bin. You can take a look at the Layers palette by clicking the tab labeled "Layers" in your palette well. If you don't see it there you can click "Window" on the menu bar then select Layer (Window > Layers )

 

I couldn't think of a more appropriate way to demonstrate layers than by using a cake...get it, cake...layer....you know layer cake, okay never mind.

Figure L-3


Layers in this image have been separated to show each of them

Figure L-4

The image appears like this when all layers are visible.

 

Figure L-6


The original photograph

Adjustment Layers
Adjustment layers let you experiment with color and make tonal adjustments to an image without permanently modifying the pixels in the image. The color and tonal changes reside within the adjustment layer, which acts as a veil through which the underlying layers appear. By default, an adjustment layer affects all the layers below it. This means that you can correct multiple layers by making a single adjustment, rather than making the adjustment to each layer separately. To limit the adjustment to a portion of the image, you can select an area in your image before adding the adjustment layer. If you want the adjustment layer to only affect a single layer, you can group them together