Blend If Has Brothers!
I have done a ton of tutorials showcasing one of Photoshop’s most powerful features, Blend If. However, I am often asked, “Blake I see you using Photoshop for Advanced Blending with Blend If, but can I do this in ____________ program?” It is a great question because these advanced blending adjustments are imperative for various tasks in our workflow. For instance, I use Blend If to protect shadows and highlights from sharpening or I use it to only apply noise reduction to my shadows.
The good news is that many programs and plugins have ways of applying advanced blending. After further research in ON1 Photo RAW and Affinity Photo, I found a few ways that Blend If is incorporated but with very different ways of applying it.
Photoshop Advanced Blending
Blend If is the go-to option for advanced blending and protection in Photoshop. In the Layer Styles, you will find a slider that allows you to protect your image based on the luminance values of the area you are selecting. By sliding the handles from 0-255 and using ALT or OPTION to feather them, you can make some pretty accurate yet advanced blends in your images.
ON1 Photo RAW
ON1 Photo RAW has incorporated advanced blending in their Effects panel for as long as I can remember. It is not one slider like Photoshop, but many sliders with specific names. It makes it a bit simpler, yet harnesses the same potential in your photos for advanced blending. There is also a setting called “Apply To” which will only apply the selected Effect to various parts of your photo.
Affinity Photo is probably the most sophisticated Advanced blend option in the industry. It allows the user to define the blending of the layers based on a linear or curved grid, similar to a tone curve in Photoshop. By manipulating the points on the grid one can come up with unlimited combinations in one fell swoop.