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Learn How To Use Blend Modes to Add Graphic Highlights in Photoshop
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Now, we got the basic concept for most of our elements laid out and it is looking pretty good so far. I want to add a little bit more punch to some of the divisions between the areas and use some graphic highlights to further embellish this just a little bit to make sure we have a nice, clean design for our client.
One of the things I would like to do is I would like to highlight the basis of these buttons and also any of the areas that were popping out just to make sure that we kind of give them a little cap. We can do that pretty easily with a couple of nice techniques. I will start with the buttons first here at the top and what I would like to do is first go down and access the original color layer that we used to block out our button shapes. We will scroll down here and pick up the button backgrounds layer.
Now, I am going to make a pretty quick use of this. I want the shapes of the buttons but we are going to do a little bit of transformation on them and in order to get started, I am going to just simply duplicate this layer. We can do that right up here in the fly out menu at the top. I will choose “Duplicate Layer” and I will rename this one to “button base”.
Now, on this button base layer, I would like to make sure that it is above the button images. Let me just pull it up there on top and with it selected, I would like to use the transform tool. I am going to hit “Ctrl+T” and that would be “Command+T” on the Macintosh.
That will give me my normal transform tools and I am just going to grab this one at the center and pull it down. So, I will squish those layers right down. I ended up with a thin band but since we started off with four rectangles, we now have four very thin rectangles. I am going to commit to that transform change by pressing “Enter”.
While it is still selected, I am going to hold down the “Ctrl+T” and I will give you my move tool once again. And I can just use the arrow keys to nudge this down. Now, as you can see what we are starting to get here, we are getting a nice color coordinated band along the bottom of the buttons that spreads down into the background area.
Now, that effect gives us the kind of base we are looking for, but let me push this out in a little bit different way. One that is a lot more flexible to changes that might come down to pike. Right now, each one of these rectangles is locked to the colors of the original blocks that they came from. What I would like to do is change the color to a medium gray and let us use a blending effect to achieve the color result we are looking for. Now, I can change this really quickly.
First of all, what I am going to do is take that layer and I am going to lock the transparent pixels. I will do that right up here on the top of my layers palette. With that selected, I should be able to use the current fill color and using the keyboard shortcut we showed before which is “Alt+Delete” on the PC or “Option+Delete” on the Macintosh, we have now filled all of those rectangles with a medium gray color.
Now, if you would like, you can move through the blend modes with another keyboard shortcut. As long as I got my move tool activated which I can get by pressing “V” and what I will do is I will hold down “Shift” and use the “+” or “-“ keys to move through the different blend modes.
Now, you can see as each blend mode gets applied, I am seeing a preview of it on the screen there. I am going to work my way down to a special blend mode called color dodge. This one is really applicable in this case because what it will do is it will take the current lightness of the fill in the shape that we are looking at and apply it as a brightening for whatever color is underneath.
Now, this is great for us because for example, if our client did not like one of the colors that we were using for our button shapes, we could simply drop that color out and change it and not have to update three or four elements in order to accommodate our current design. We have to change one element. That is actually giving me exactly the effect I want.