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About the Darken and Lighten Blending Modes

When you set the blend mode of a layer to Darken, Photoshop compares the pixels of that layer (called the blend layer) with the pixels of the layer underneath, and displays the darker pixels from these two layers. Can you guess what the Lighten blend mode does?

Images with Dust in Both Light and Dark Areas

To fix an image that has dust in both light and dark areas, first duplicate your image layer. Use the Dust & Scratches filter on the duplicated layer, and set the blending mode for the layer to Darken. Duplicate the filtered layer (duplicate the duplicate!) and set the blending mode for the new duplicated layer to Lighten. You should now have three layers: the original layer, a Darken layer, and a Lighten layer.

Add layer masks to both the Darken and Lighten layers as necessary to preserve their detail, and touch up the original layer with the Spot Healing Brush Tool if required.

This method is a lot quicker than clicking on each individual speck with the Spot Healing Brush Tool!

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