Photoshop + PDF Class 4

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Today we will look at:

  • Creative Commons
  • Layer Blending Modes
  • Layer Masks
  • Gradient Tool and Layer Mask
  • Today’s Task

We will focus the majority of today’s time on you practicing Photoshop. After the completion of your tasks I will expect you to stay and practice more. Class time is the time when I will be able to assist and the time for you to experiment with the software.

So, today we will have fun and afterwards will have some more fun until the imaginary bell rings to announce the end of class.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons or the Creative Commons License relates to a way to distribute content, such as photos and other images for free. Last week’s sample photo of the Ameland geese by F Schouwenburg is under the Creative Commons License.

Source: Flickr - photographer: Frans Schouwenburg
Source: Flickr – photographer: Frans Schouwenburg

Creative Commons are generally used for non-commercial and educational purpose. If someone makes a profit with a product they should pay for the image they use.

Generally, the author, creator or owner of the content needs to be mentioned. So, in short, when using images from Creative Commons sources ensure that you mention the source of your image.

This can be done in various ways. One would be to place a tag underneath the image with the source as you see it done in this blog.

Creative Commons on FlickR

There are different forms of Creative Commons and it pays to read the details beforehand. To the right is another example from FlickR:

Examples of Creative Commons Resources

Try out the Links to Creative Commons to the right of this post:

Your task: find a photo to suit the themes Urban environment and blue skies with each search and download the image. Include the meta data of the photographer and source of website with the photo.

Try this link for more Creative Commons information.

Layer Blending Modes

First start a new Photoshop document. Place one of your new photos into it. Place your second photo as well.

The Layer Blending Mode can be accessed through the Layers panel. A text box (Win) with the word Normal or a small button (Mac) indicate the Layer Blending Mode box.

Look at your layer blending mode with the top layer active. Try the layer blending modes below and see how amazingly easy Photoshop lets you change the appearance by creating a blend between two images.

Now click on this link and access the tutorial on Layers TV Episode 105 about how to use the Layer Blending Mode.

Layer Mask

If you completely watched the tutorial in the link above, you will already know how to create a layer mask and can proceed to the task for today.

Last week we looked at clipping masks and today we look at a layer mask. The process is very similar. Make a selection on your active layer and click on the Layer Mask button (add a layer mask) beneath the Layers panel. Your selection is still visible and the rest has disappeared.

You can also create a layer mask from a selection by going to the main menu: Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. (see image)


Alternatively (press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z) you can hide what you have selected: if you use the Layer Mask button press Alt at the same time to hide your selection with the Mask. You can do the same from the main menu: Layer>Layer Mask>Hide Selection.

While the layer mask is selected you will be in the mask mode. You can use the brush to add or take away from your layer mask. If you use the brush (while in mask mode) you can  make parts disappear by drawing with black as foreground colour. You can equally make things reappear by drawing with white as foreground colour.

Using Gradient Tool with Layer Mask

A good tool to use is the gradient tool with the layer mask. You can create a gradient mask that way, which means the image will gradually become invisible. See image below.

French Ancient City Banner
French Ancient City Banner – Source: Image Base – Free Stock Photography Click the image as a link.

You can see the gradient used on the right part of the image. This is how you do it:

  1. Create a new document (use dimensions below)
  2. Place an image and change size as you see fit (press Enter)
  3. Create a layer mask (click the layer mask button)
  4. Activate the gradient and drag from one part to another within the imageIf white is your foreground colour the image will become invisible in the direction of your dragging. If black was your foreground colour the image will be invisible on your first point and become visible in your dragging direction.

For a more detailed tutorial on how to use the Layer Mask in Photoshop go to:

Today’s Task

Create a banner for a website using two images that blend into each other (use Layer Blending Modes and Layer masks) with a title, either use your name or an imaginary title.

Image by Alvimann found on
Image by Alvimann found on
Image by Noboru found on
Image by Noboru found on
Urban Stories Banner by F.Viola
Urban Stories Banner by F.Viola

The images must suit the themes:

  • Urban environment
  • Blue Skies

Dimensions of banner: 980px(width) x 174px (height) 72ppi (resolution)

Task_New Document

Add a title to the banner, that preferably also blends with the background images. Save the file as a PNG file. Keep a copy of this file and the 2 images that you have used. Upload your work onto MyKangan.

Examples of Student Submissions:

Layer Blending  Masks Banner
Banner by Vlad K
Banner by Yong Wu
Banner by Yong W
Banner by Mike T
Banner by Mike T


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