Lesson 10. Retouching Tools, Blending Modes

Many times you will need to clean-up or enhance images that you wish to use in your work. In this lesson we continue reviewing the tools learned to date and learn advanced techniques to retouch and edit our images.

Topics for this week include:

Points: 50 (+ 8.33 participation points)

Estimated assignment time: 5 hours

Due: Friday, March 16, 11:59P

10.1 Learning the Basic Retouching Tools.

In this lesson we investigate the tools used to retouch areas in our images. It is easier to understand the tools by starting with basic B&W imagery. Lessons include:

  • Learning the clone stamp tool, spot healing brush tool, healing brush tool, path tool and the content-aware tool.
  • Learn the dodge and burn tools to selectively alter contrast.
  • Understanding the use of the histogram to see contrast levels in an image.
  • Non-destructively altering an images overall contrast by using an sdjustment layer.
  • Using select all, inverse, expand and contract selections.

Download and read the .pdf about the retouching tool here.

Download the image file used in the demo here.

videoWatch Video | 14:38 minutes videoWatch Video | 14:57 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.


For additional information on these tools, visit the web link shown below.
Visit the Adobe web page about retouching and repairing images here.

10.2 Using Layer Blending Modes

In this portion of the lesson we look into how using the blending modes affects how your composed images work together. Lessons include:

  • Understand that using blending modes is a non-destructive method of adjusting multiple layer interactions.
  • Using the opacity slider to change how a layer blends with a layer below it..
  • Learn the 6 basic blending modes and their uses.

Download and read the .pdf about blending modes here.

Download one of the files used in the demo here.

Download the remaining files used in the demo here.

videoWatch Video | 11:50 minutes videoWatch Video | 14:03 minutes videoWatch Video | 3:46 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.


The basic blending modes are shown here circled in red. 
With a basic understanding of these basic modes, you may begin to experiment with the power of blending modes.

10.3 Using Adjustment Layers to Change Colors in an Image

Creating non-destructive edits to your Photoshop documents allows you to go back and make additonal tweaks later. Lesson includes:

  • Reviewing the use of the retouching tools.
  • Making selections, adding and subtracting from selections.
  • Saving selctions in channels.
  • How to combine channel masks.
  • How to use a hue saturation adjustment layer to change colors in selective areas of your images.

Download the file used in the demo here.

videoWatch Video | 11:25 minutesvideoWatch Video | 6:33 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

10.4 Do It!
Practice the Tools From the Lesson

Using the tools learned in the lesson, you will create a file using the tools from the lesson to submit. You choose the imagery and the size of your piece. I suggest trying to find higher resolution images for higher quality results. Your file should include:

  • Go online and find a minimum (you may use more) of two images to work with. The images you consider chould be capable of being composed into one file.
  • Layer your images together.
  • Use blending modes to adjust how the images interact.
  • Save a selection as a channel to reuse in your image.
  • Using layer masks to make non-destructive edits.
  • Use a non-destructive adjustment layer to change the color of a specific area of your image(s).

Do ItPractice the lesson, save your files.

You should save your work frequently. This is just good practice. Save a "working" file complete with all layers and channels as a .psd using your name as the file name (i.e. - Ronworking.psd). This is the file you will submit for grading. I need to see your layers, alpha channels and adjustment layer to ensure you are learning the skills. Do a SAVE AS, select .jpg format in the save dialog box and name the with your name (i.e. - Roncover.jpg). This is the file you will post to the learning community.

10.5 Post an example of your work and comments to the Google+ online Community

After you have completed the assignment, visit the course's Google+ online community and post your comments about the assignment. I am also asking for you to post a .jpg of your work on the Google+ site. Look @ your classmates posts and critique their work. Don't simply say "I love it!", tell us why. Use the terms we have discussed in the course so far to describe what you see and offer suggestions for improvement. Visit the Google+ online community here. Once you have posted, copy the link from the Google+ site. Go the Learning For Life portal, and paste the link in the text field and attach your layered .psd file. Hit submit.

10.6 Review and Checklist for the Week's Lesson Assignment


Grading Check List

download and read the retouching .pdf
download the image for the retouching demo
watch the two retouchinging videos
visit the Adobe website to learn more about retouching
download and read the blending modes .pdf
download the images for the demo
watch the 3 blending modes videos
download the image for the adjustment layers demo
watch the 2 videos on adjustment layers
practice the lessons, save your files (.psd and .jpg)
post your .jpg file to the learning community and make comments about the assignment and your classmates efforts
make a note of the link to your post to submit for grading
submit your .psd file via the Learning For Life portal and provide the link to your post
complete quiz 10 on Learning For Life portal


Testable Items

  • What is a histogram?
  • Which of the blending modes discussed darkens the layer below it?
  • Which of the retouching tools discussed works by clicking OPT/ALT to establish a cloning point?
  • Which is the function of the history tool?
  • Are blending modes non-destructive?
  • Are adjustment layers non-destructive?
  • Are retouching tools non-destructive?
  • Using the keyboard commands, how do you duplicate an existing selection to move it's contents to an new layer?
  • Which of the tools discussed, lightens areas of an image when you paint over it?
  • Is it possible to combine alpha channels?