Pure Bleach

Here's a recipe for a great bleaching effect that works well with almost any image. A pair of inverted Exclusion layers removes the shadows and midtones, while a blurred Color or Linear Dodge layer softens the effect. However, because the bleaching effect can make some details indistinct, I added a further layer to which I applied the Find Edges filter to bring back some definition.

1 In the Layers palette, duplicate the original image layer by dragging the background layer onto the "Create a new layer" icon, or use Ctrl/Cmd-J

2 Using the blending mode pull-down menu in the Layers palette, change the duplicate layer's blending mode to Exclusion (or use the shortcut Alt/Opt-Shift-X) and rename it "Exclusion "

3 Invert the Exclusion layer using Ctrl/Cmd-I

4 Use Ctrl/Cmd-J to make two duplicates of the Exclusion layer

5 Using the blending mode pull-down menu in the Layers palette, change the top Exclusion layer's blending mode to Linear Dodge (or use the shortcut Alt/Opt-Shift-W) and rename it "Linear Dodge " (For a slightly different result, try Color Dodge.)

6 Invert the Linear Dodge layer using Ctrl/Cmd-I The composite picture should now be positive.

7 Blur the Linear Dodge layer using Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur You don't need too high a radius— for a 300dpi image, 20 is about right

Original image.

Heavy bleaching

Light bleaching 1

The recipe produces a dreamy version of the image where only the shadows remain

Color Dodge is a good alternative choice for the top layer's blending mode in this recipe, and results in the image being less bleached

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