What is Overlay If?

Tab “Overlay options“(Blending Options) windows Layer style (Layer Style) hides one of the most underrated heroes of Photoshop. He is often overlooked, and I think that to many he simply seems incomprehensible or scary. Therefore, today I will try to get rid of the confusion and give you a reason to try out this wonderful tool.

Overlay if (Blend if) uses sliders to control the amount of tonality that an element or its background has. Most of the time you will use it by adjusting the shades of gray, but the same principle can be applied to other colors. The key feature is how much white, black or gray remains on the layer when mixed. (You can think of mixing as the process of manifesting sections of one layer on another.)

It will be easier to show … I created a layer with the word “Blend” of different shades and gradients to demonstrate how it will blend with a paper background of light and dark color. Thus, we only work with two layers … the main and background light / dark layer.

Different shades of the word on different backgrounds.

Now make sure your top layer is active. Otherwise, you will mix the background with the fact that under it and do not get the result. Double click on the layer to open the window Layer style (Layer Style). At the bottom of the very first tab Overlay options (Blending Options) there is a section Overlay if (Blend if). Click on the top white slider and drag it to the left.

“Overlay, if” with the setting of “grayscale” and the shifted upper right slider.

When you do this, you will notice that some areas of the text layer will disappear. Notice – the light / white parts become transparent. It’s cool, but rather clumsy … you can see how the pieces of letters just cut off, which is not very beautiful.

The result of the offset of the top white slider.

There is a neater way to use this slider. Just hold down the Alt key, and then drag the slider – you will see how the slider is divided into two parts. Now you can leave the right half alone and place the left half in the desired position. This trick allows you to mix layers more smoothly. Instead of simply removing one shade, we mix everything that falls within the selected range and get a more natural result.

Splitting the slider gives you more control.

Mixing has become neater and you can see that the letters gradually disappear, and not just cut off.

Notice how the letters were cropped before and how smoothly they disappear now.

The right slider affects the appearance of the layer, based on shades from white to gray. White becomes transparent, and light areas of the gradients – translucent.

The same can be done with the top black slider.

The offset of the top black slider affects the dark areas …

Please note – the letters are cut off. This is due to the fact that we have not divided the slider.

Split the slider again, getting more control and a better view. (Author’s note – I believe that they should be separated by default.: D)

Separation taxis

Now the letters disappear smoothly.

It was only half the equation. Depending on what kind you want to get, you can use the background for mixing. In this situation, the second pair of sliders will come to the rescue – Subject layer (Underlaying Layer). Now mixing will be determined by the number of tones from white to black (from light to dark) on the background. Therefore, you will get different results for images. The light half of the background will react in a certain way, and the dark – in a completely different way. Let me show you.

If you work with the bottom slider, the results will be different.

You may notice that the letters on light paper partially disappear, and the text on a dark background has hardly changed.

Separation again gives more control.

Now we have a smoother blending and the letters look like they are interacting with the background.

When working with these sliders, the following happens: you tell Photoshop to hide all the tones that are within the sliders, so the white slider affects the left half, because it is brighter, and the right side can be controlled with the black slider.

Both sliders are split and customized for best results.

With the sliders tuned, the letters look like part of the background, and not just fly in the air.

Once you begin to understand what each slider is doing, you can simply experiment with the positions of the sliders to get the desired look. A huge advantage – if you mess up something or change your mind, just double click on the layer and adjust the position of the sliders.

The final corrections include a slight offset of the upper slider and the correct position of the lower.

The text looks aged and seems like it has been a part of paper for many years.

I hope the sliders Overlay if (Blend if) will become an indispensable technique that you will constantly use to quickly mix layers. Enjoy!

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