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Chapter 13. Enhancement > Difference Mode

Difference Mode

This mode works exactly as just described. Let's use it to create some homemade lightning. Start with a new document that contains a white background. Next, create a new layer, and reset your foreground and background colors by typing D; then choose Filter > Render Clouds, and set the layer containing the clouds to Difference mode. Now choose a large, soft-edged brush, and paint with black on the bottom layer. You should end up with a cloudy-looking image that has black areas around the edges of the area where you've painted (Figure 13.100). Now it's time to transform those black areas into lightning. We'll start the process by inverting the image to make black areas white. Do this by clicking on the topmost layer and then choosing Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Invert (Figure 13.101). Finally, choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels and move the upper-left slider until all you can see is the white “lightning” (Figure 13.102). Now you can continue painting on the bottommost layer to create more and more lightning. When you're all done, choose Layer > Merge Visible to combine the layers. You can apply the lightning to another image at any time by placing your lightning on a layer above and then setting the blending mode of the layer to Screen, so it acts like light. There are a number of other neat things to do with the Difference mode, which we'll explore again in Bonus Chapter 4, “Type and Background Effects,” which can be found on the CD at the back of this book.

Figure 13.100. Painting on a layer below some clouds that are set to Difference mode.



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