October '20

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S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G T H E D I G I T A L E Y E BLEND CATEGORIES All types of layers are affected by blend modes including content layers, adjust- ment layers, fill layers, shape layers, and smart objects. The blend modes are di- vided into five categories on the Layers panel in Photoshop (Figure 4). The cat- egories include Normal, Darken, Lighten, Contrast, Comparative, Component, and Additional. Figure 5 shows the effect of each blend mode of a similar image on a blue background. OPACITY Layer or brush opacity controls the strength of the blended effect. With 100 percentage points of opacity to choose from—from invisible to completely opaque—the strength of the blended layer can be controlled to achieve precise results. Furthermore, a layer mask can be added to control the precise location and strength of the blend. EXPERIMENT Of course, you'll learn a lot more by experimenting with blend modes. Stacking layers and experimenting with various blend modes can produce unusual, dra- matic color relationships that increase the impact of a layout (Figure 6). IDENTICAL CONTENT Blending layers with identical content can produce much richer colors and supe- rior contrast, and applying more than one blend mode to a series of consecutive layers can knock the image out of the park. If the picture lacks contrast and the colors are not up to snuff, this technique will augment the colors and add richness and depth to a not-so-great image (Figures 7A and B). ADJUSTMENTS AND GRADIENTS A lackluster image can be enhanced by adding a blended hue/saturation layer. For even more punch, a gradient fill layer with a blend mode can be added to modulate the color (Figures 8A and B). Once again, experimentation with all of the variables (adjustments, gradients, blend modes, and opacities) leads you to the best results. AND… Sandwiching layers and applying the "magic gels" to layer content pushes the color envelope. In combination with opacity, adjustment layers, and layer masks, blend modes perform miraculous color transformations. Blending is an important fea- ture that I think you will find quite useful, but as usual, experimentation is the key to finding the best results to produce some seriously cool results. GP STEPHEN ROMANIELLO is and artist and educator, teaching digital art at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, for over 29 years. He is a certified instructor in Adobe Photoshop and the author of several books on the creative use of digital graphics software. Steve is the founder of GlobalEye Sys- tems, a company that offers training and consulting in digital graphics software and creative imaging. 8 8 G R A P H I C S P R O O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M Welcome to the PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS section where each month we offer you resources to en- rich and expand your business with great services and products from our advertisers.

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