Sunday, June 29, 2008

Photo Blending III - Photo Effects

Ever wonder how people get that dreamy vintage look on their photos? Or what about that soft glowy feel... or that cool, crisp, modern-edgy look? Well... guess what?? It's blending to the rescue yet again!!! And there are a MILLION results you can get from using blending to get fabulous effects on your photos. So what I'd like to do is go through the steps one by one with our layout... simply because I really like how this photo turned out. But I don't want to limit you to this effect... so how about at the end of this tutorial, i just post several different photos with different effects on them and (since you'll already know all the steps)... just sort of "bullet boint" the blending modes I used. This will not only show you some of the different effects you can get, but it will give you an idea at how flexible the blending modes can be! So... here's the layout we will be creating today:

And here is the original photo I started out with... as you can see... it didn't have much of an impact at all.

1.) Drag your photo of choice onto your blank layout (or you can save a COPY of your photo and work from the photo itself. (I highly recommend not doing these steps to your original photo. You don't want to put a bunch of effects on it and accidentally save it and lose your original! (Do I even need to SAY anymore that I learned that the hard way!? hehe.) In this case... I wanted this to be a full page layout, so I dragged my photo over and enlarged to fit my entire 11x8.5 layout.

2. In this case... I really wanted give it a good tint. So I went for my natural instinct and grabbed a great neutral solid and popped it underneath my photo. I then changed the blend mode on my photo to Linear Burn.

3. I still want more impact, so I duplicated my photo layer 2 more times. I changed the first blending mode to Screen to bring out some of the highlights in the photo and changed the second one to Linear Light to really bring out some contrast.

4. Now, I'm liking the way this is starting to look, but it seems a little to "color-y" to me (if I can just invent a word there... hahaha). So, I'm going to desaturate it a bit. Now I played with desaturating each of the layers to find the effect I liked, and I ended up liking the desaturation of the Linear Light layer the best. (I would encourage you to also try it with each layer to see which works best for your particular photo.) Anyway... make sure the Linear Light layer is active and go to Image and then Adjustments and then choose Hue/Saturation.

5.) When your Hue/Saturation options window comes up, simply use your mouse to drag the Saturation lever over to the left (therefore, reducing it... if you want the opposite effect, you would just drag it to the right to increase it.) Then click OK.

6.) Now... this is looking better... but it still needs a bit of tweaking. You can barely see the flower on the fence anymore and the pattern on her dress has been completely washed out. Also... I'd like her hand on the fence to be a little more defined and I'm still not perfectly happy with the coloring. (I know... I probably waaaay over analyze it all... and you might too, but that's ok. Once you make that final click and it shouts at you "THAT'S IT!"... then you know you're done. I just keep playing until I get there. Sometimes it takes 10 or 15 minutes... sometimes it take an hour, but I don't stop until I get there. :)) So... what I want to do now is to bring back the pattern in her dress, define the flower on the fence and her hand. This is where our Burn tool comes into play. It will bring out the darker elements of areas that are too light. Choose your Burn tool from your tools palette as shown below.

8.) Now refer to the top of your screen to set your Burn Settings. The size of your brush depends on how much of an area you want darkened, but you DEFINITELY want to keep the Hardness of your edges at 0%... this helps it blend much more seamlessly. I almost always use a circle brush. Oh... and if it's darkening your selected areas too much, you can always reduce the Exposure level... this will make it darken the area more subtly.

9.) Now, your cursor should be in the shape of a circle. Just place your circle on top of the area you want to darken and define and then click. ONLY click once at first... don't drag your mouse all around yet... you may only need to click once or twice in an area to get the effect you want. If 1 or 2 clicks doesn't do it, then you can use it a little more freely.

10.) Now just continue to click and burn whatever areas you want defined... see the difference here:

11.) Now... last step... this just seemed a little to gray and erie... so to give it a bit more of a warmer, lighter tint, I duplicated my paper layer and dragged that layer to the top so that it sits above all of the photo layers. I changed that bleding mode to Saturation. This just alters the tone of the photo to the tone of the paper a tad and makes me happy with my result. hehehe. Then, I typed some text straight across the layout and we're done!! Again... here is our finished result:

Layout Credits: TAYLORMADE DESIGNS: Peaches and Regalias Neutral paper

Now... here are a few more of my favorite photo effects along with screen shots of my layers palette to show how I achieved the look. (For layout credits, click on the layout image.)





















I would LOVE to know what you think of this tutorial. Feel free to leave comments. If you have any questions regarding this tutorial, you can certainly email me at

I would also love to hear what type of tutorials YOU would like to see! While your here, drop a note in the SUGGESSTIONS box! If I don't know how to do what you are asking, I will find out! Then we can learn something new together!!!

You can find a PRINTABLE version of this tutorial (and all of my others) in the Tutorial Section at Oscraps!


Jessica said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! I always love the way your photos look and can't wait to try this out... I'm grabbing a fan blinkie for my blog! :)

IreneO said...

This was very interesting. I play with blend modes a lot, but have never done as many different layers as you do. Gonna try it! Thanks for sharing.

Stacey said...

Thank you for another fabulous tutorial! I can't wait to start playing!

Natalie said...

So super great. It is also SO nice to know that even a pro like you can spend an hour fussing with a photo until you like it. I can't wait to try this out!

Anonymous said...

This is again fantastic!!
I love your work. I've read a lot of tutorials about blending but never got the effect I get from yours!

Tali said...

Loving this one, Amanda! I am giong to have to "play" more with my blending modes - thanks for all the hints! You are a blending master!

lynette said...

FANTASTIC! I can't believe you're giving away all of your secrets! You're so generous! THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much. I'm going to have to play with these effects. And the examples at the end are sooo inspiring!

Michelle said...

Thank you SO much! I love your tutorials! I've been playing around a bit today with blending modes now. I have learned so much from you!

Thank you!

missy said...

Your tutorials are the best, especially because you show so many steps AND the original photo!! Thank you so much. I would like to see a tutorial on recoloring scrapbook elements, especially grungy things ... I often would like to change the grungy ink from black to brown or vice versa? Is that possible? I know how to do things that are one color like overlays, but not if it is another element like a tag or alpha, for example?

brooke said...

Great tutorial! I always love your photos and lo's - maybe now, mine will look as good as yours do. I don't suppose there's any chance you could put your tutorials into pdf documents so they're easier to print out? I will definitely be referring back to this one quite a bit!

brooke said...

Oops - never mind about the pdf thing - I found a printable copy on Oscraps. Thanks!

Cheryl said...

These are wonderful examples, so inspiring! Thank you!!

MariaT said...

Dang girl, I totally consider you an artist! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom in the blending modes field...greatly appreciated! I play around with it a little, but you have encouraged me to get more adventurous! Love these tutorials, thanks!!!

SuzyQ said...

Ooh, you've given me some new ideas to try. Never thought to blend b&w and sepia with color pics. many thoughts. Can't wait to try. TFS!

Church said...

Look what I did! I had this photo I didn't know what to do with. Once again Amanda, you got me scrapping something that would have just sat on my hard drive. =)


Shelly said...

Wow, I love this tutorial! Thank you for sharing. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

Stefani said...

You rock! Can't wait to try this!

M u s s said...

This is AMAZING!!
You are an official tutorial QUEEN!!!

Thanks SO MUCH!!!

SteinwaysMom said...

Ditto you are the tut queen!!!!

debsterchen said...

Wow - thank you once again for another great blending tutorial - I really admire your work and I love to see your tutorials!!! I will try this for sure!

Arya said...

I am SO grateful for the wonderful tutorials you're giving us! And I realize that the only way of getting this is to try, try some more, and not giving up!

Thanks again!!!!

Anonymous said...

Your tutorials are fantastic, very instructive and makes easy to understand. Thanks so much:)


MissD said...

All I can say is "WOW!" Thanks for sharing another great tutorial. I can't wait to try it tonight.

Sharon said...

Wow- this tutorial is amazing.....definitely found a ton of new things to try.

MariaT said...

I'm not sure if this would be too much work for you, but I would find it extremely helpful to know what kind of affect each blending mode has. Some kind of list indicating what a mode (or combo) generally does to change a photo would be very helpful when trying to get the right feel for a picture. Thanks much!

Kalli said...

Love the tutorial! Can't wait to play!

Estir_BunE said...

Fantastic! As all of your tutorials are! Thanks so much for passing along such terrific info!

Denise Olson said...

Love it. Stunning as always!!!

Lee Anne said...

Wow! This is fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing it and I am so glad I came across your blog today!

Laura said...

These are just beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Christine said...

Awesome tutorial! I loved it and will be trying it on some of my photos soon! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it! :)

surfinganalyst said...

thanks so much for the awesome tutorial. i have been wondering for the longest time how some can make their photos soft or pop out! :)

Donna Espiritu said...

oh my gosh!!! what AN AWESOME TUTORIAL!!! and its FREE!!! heehee i love everything, thanks so much for these!! you have yourself another fan :) AWESOME!!!!!

Wanda said...

thanks for sharing these tutorials.. they're fabulous!

NatashaNaSt said...

Fantastic! Thank you very much for wonderful tutorials!

Sharon said...

Thanks so much for these tutes on blending modes...I just adore your pics and these blending modes add so much more character so I'm going to try and couple of them out!

eph2810 said...

That is an awesome tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom on how to make your photos stunning.

eph2810 said...

Just stopping by again to thank you...your tutorial helped me to restore some scanned photos - YEAH!!!

Thank you!!!!

Liz said...

this is the bestest bestest bestest tutorial I have ever seen on blending modes. Amanda, you are MY IDOL!!!!!!!!!!!


kushikushi said...

Great tutorial!!!! :D thanks!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I just found your tutorials today and LOVE them! Thank you so much for sharing them. Not to mention the inspiration your tutorials and LO's are! Added you to my favs! TY again!

Angela said...

Wonderful tutorial...I've played in Photoshop enough to know most of this but what I appreciate is how well you *explain* it; that's a pro teacher's admiration coming at you! As another said, I can't believe you're giving away the secrets...all I have now are my lighting effects and layer effect tweaks; sigh! :)

liannallama said...

You are fantastic! Your tutorials are amazing! I never use the layers like this and I really need to start. Your work is incredible!

Anonymous said...

I love it all !!!
Thanks !

Anonymous said...

I was amazed at the effort you took to give screenshots step by step. THANK YOU sooooo much. Adobe PS is hard to learn and I was avoiding it for the longest time as I ooohhh and awe over scrapppers digital creations.


OMG! Thank you thank you! You are soo good in giving us great tutorials!

Camilla ...or ecam :-) said...

Awesome tutorials! I have bookmarked this and will be back!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for sharing! i really learn a lot of new techniques in reading through your tutorials. :) thank you!

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