Knocking out layers

The Knockout pop up menu is another of the blending options new to Photoshop 6. It turns the contents of the active layer into a floating hole that can bore through one or more layers. You specify how deep the hole goes using the Knockout option; use Opacity and blend mode options to define the translucency of the hole.

Select a Knockout option depending on what layers you want to blend together:

4 None blends normally. The layer is treated as a standard layer, not a hole.

4 Shallow cuts a hole through a layer set to expose the layer immediately below the layer set. In a clipping group, Shallow burrows down to the base layer of the group.

4 Deep cuts all the way down to the Background layer. An exception arises when you're working with a layer in a clipping group. In that case, Deep blends the layer with the base of the clipping group, just like Shallow.

Figure 13-18 shows examples of each of these options. In all the examples, the top layer contains black text, to which I applied the Outer Glow and Bevel and Emboss layer effects. The next layer down holds an umbrella and a few associated layer effects. I grouped these two layers into a layer set, as shown in the Layers palette in the figure. The clouds occupy the layer immediately below the layer set. The background layer contains a gradient created with the new noise-gradient feature (see Chapter 6).

In the upper-left example, I set the Knockout option to None for all layers. I used the Normal blend mode and set the Opacity value and Fill Opacity value to 100 percent throughout. With this setup, each layer blends normally with the one below.

25% Fill Opacity, Shallow 25% Fill Opacity, Deep

Figure 13-18: Here you see how the original image (top left) appears after I lowered the opacity of the text layer to 25 percent and then applied each of the three Knockout options.

To create the top-right image, I lowered the Fill Opacity value for the text layer to 25 percent and left the Knockout setting at None. You see the pattern of the umbrella through the faded text, as you would expect. The effects (Outer Glow and Bevel and Emboss) remain unchanged because they lie beyond the bounds of the filled portion of the layer and thus don't respond to the Fill Opacity slider.

For the bottom-left example, I left the Fill Opacity at 25 percent but set the Knockout option to Shallow. Now the text interior blends with the cloud layer, which is the layer immediately beneath the layer set that contains the text. For the final example, I selected Deep from the Knockout pop-up menu, blending the text interior with background layer and creating the nuclear rain environmentalists have worried about for years.

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