The Secret to Blending Photos in Photoshop

In my early days with Photoshop, there were many timex when I tediously removed background from text by "magic-wanding" it out. If you've ever been inexperienced enough to do this, then you know that you then have to isolate the background that remained within the closed off section of each letter, like the inside of an "o." I've come a long way since then, but apparently, not long enough. Because when I saw LA-based digital artist, best-selling author, and founder of PhotoshopCAFE, Colin Smith, blend out the white background to isolate the black text and vice versa using only a few clicks, my $^@%*! jaw dropped and my face met palm.

Hopefully, I'm not the only one out there that somehow missed this, so I decided to share "Secret to Blending Photos in Photoshop" for the others that would watch and plant face to palm. In this video, Smith demonstrates the power and ease of blend modes. Using blend modes and layer masks, he not only shows us how to save time versus alternative compositing and cutting methods, but also gives us a good starting point to explore our creativity using blend modes. I know some of you must be thinking "This video is over ten minutes long!" Watch it. The amount of time you'll save editing in Photoshop is immeasurable. You should also take a look at Smith's in-depth tutorial and free "Photoshop Secrets: Layer Blend Modes" ebook. (You will have to sign up with your email for the ebook, but hey, free stuff). In these, you'll find: The Six Blending Mode Groups, How to Use Blend Modes, Quick Blends, The Three Elements of Blend Modes, and Different Blend Modes Explained.

[via PhotoshopCAFE Youtube]

Kenn Tam's picture

Been holding this damn camera in my hand since 1991.
Toronto / New York City

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The video is overall just a very basic intro to blending modes, but the tip about shift-+/- made it very worth watching for me. I had no idea that keyboard shortcut existed! Thanks!

That's how I feel about almost everything I come across. So much of it is a review, or basic, or old news. But if I find even one new thing, no matter how big or small, that helps me do better, then I have to share it.

Fantastic tips, saves so much time!!