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Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

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  • Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

    Hey Guys,
    I was watching the Carrie Beene Live webinar today, and was surprised when I heard him talk about retouching on a blank layer. If I am not mistaken, I heard him say that the only LAYER blending mode that will work with a blank layer is normal, not lighten or darken. Can someone clarify this strategy for me. I am sure I have used blank retouch layer with lighten and darken method in the past.

  • #2
    Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

    what kind of retouch do you speak of? I do all my cloning and healing on a blank layer...

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    • #3
      Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

      Originally posted by GRUDOLPH View Post
      Hey Guys,
      I was watching the Carrie Beene Live webinar today, and was surprised when I heard him talk about retouching on a blank layer. If I am not mistaken, I heard him say that the only LAYER blending mode that will work with a blank layer is normal, not lighten or darken. Can someone clarify this strategy for me. I am sure I have used blank retouch layer with lighten and darken method in the past.
      If you are looking to effect the appearance of the layer underneath of the blank layer, then nothing will happen by changing the blending modes. The layer is empty. But, if you have used a tool, filter, etc on the blank layer, then the blend mode will definitely change the effect. Levels and curves adjustment layers react differently. If you apply one them without any adjustment changes, you will see a different effect on the layer below by changing the blending modes.

      Cheers!

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      • #4
        Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

        She said that changing the blending mode in the tool itself wouldn't work if you were working on an empty layer and you therefore had to change the layer's blending mode (I guess her statement was that choosing any blending mode on a tool on an empty layer would result in normal blending - which can be further blended by the layer's blending ;-)).

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        • #5
          Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

          Exactly. Brush blending modes on a transparent layer will only affect the pixels previously painted with the brush on that same transparent layer, and will not be affected by whatever layer is underneath.

          Soon you'll discover that cloneup, healing and liquify is more or less, done at the same stage of a retouch, and it's very very confortable to it on a ctrl-alt-shift-e version of it all. Before i start doing d&b and all other color and light work, i have only 2 layers, original and retouched (liq, healed, cleaned...). And from there, with an already perfectly shaped and cleaned image (one must make sure that it is so), i start working on other things that require multiple layers.

          Working on a merged version also allows you to use the patch healing tool, which won't work when healing on a transparent layer.

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          • #6
            Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

            Just to make this clear, maybe the brush tool doesn't work but the healing and clone tools do.... they work on blank layers even if the layer is normal you can change the mode of each of those tools to get different effects on the same layer...

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            • #7
              Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

              Really?
              Create a new document, choose the gradient tool and create a gradient from black to white.
              Create a new layer above, choose the clone stamp and "Lighten" blend mode for it and clone the dark part on the lighter part (should not work, if the blending mode would affect the stamp's behavior at all).
              Do the same with a new layer but instead of changing the blending mode of the stamp, change the blending mode of the layer itself to "Lighten" (no dark pixels will appear).
              It's just like working with the actual dodge & burn tools on a new layer filled with 50% gray. You can't affect the tonal values of the underlaying layers. But after you worked on the layer for a while, you can affect its values and therefore the effect changes a little.

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              • #8
                Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

                Cuervo, brush blending modes are not affected by the underneath layer on transparent layers. They are only affected by the pixels available on the layer you are painting on.

                Der_W's example illustrates it perfectly. Here's an attachment. The gradient is the base layer. On top there's a new layer set to normal. The clone tool is set to darken, yet it will paint a lighter value over the dark values of the layer beneath.

                That's why it's not a bad idea to do all the cloning on a merged layer. (command+option+shift+E).
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

                  Originally posted by Der_W View Post
                  Really?
                  Create a new document, choose the gradient tool and create a gradient from black to white.
                  Create a new layer above, choose the clone stamp and "Lighten" blend mode for it and clone the dark part on the lighter part (should not work, if the blending mode would affect the stamp's behavior at all).
                  Do the same with a new layer but instead of changing the blending mode of the stamp, change the blending mode of the layer itself to "Lighten" (no dark pixels will appear).
                  It's just like working with the actual dodge & burn tools on a new layer filled with 50% gray. You can't affect the tonal values of the underlaying layers. But after you worked on the layer for a while, you can affect its values and therefore the effect changes a little.
                  To be Honest I tried it with the healing tool.. and doing it with different modes does change the way the final result ends up with although I tried it with a portrait not with a gradient... I tried it with the clone and it didn't work just like the brush tool. But the healing tool does have differences
                  Last edited by Cuervo79; 02-12-2010, 02:22 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Retouching on Blank Layer vs. Blend Modes

                    Just tested it and can't see any difference between "Normal" and e.g. "Lighten" mode when working on a new layer.
                    Of course, there's a light border around the healed area but that's because of the heal, not because of the blending mode (it appears on both, "Normal" and "Lighten" mode).

                    Anyways, I usually don't merge visible to clone on darken/lighten mode because it's easier for me (German PS) to create two blank layers on the modes I need and switch between them with the [Alt]+[.] and [Alt]+[,] keys (I guess in English versions that's [Alt]+[[] and [Alt]+[]], which is far harder to reach imo).

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