Blend modes are a critical component to usePhotoshopfor everything and nothing. Whether it's graphic design, photo editing, or illustration, knowing how to harness the immense power of 27 blend modes is a must to improve your workflow and efficiency. But it can be intimidating for many budding artists and new designers. There is a lot to unpack and a seeming mountain of technical information to understand and many tend to delay a full understanding rather than learn it bit by bit, which is unfortunate considering how important a blending modes tool is.
then ourpracticalguide to Photoshop blend modes, simplified to give you a working understanding of what you wantneedknow about each one.
What are blend modes in Photoshop?
Blend modes are special layer properties that determine how pixels on that layer affect pixels on the layer below. Using blend modes in Photoshop allows artists and designers to combine tints, values, and other properties of shape layers that can create unique effects, increase efficiency, and allow you to work nondestructively.
Learning how to use blend modes in Photoshop is a critical beginning skill for the aspiring digital artist or graphic designer, and something you can't help but skip: even those looking to make the leap from traditional art need to understand what blend modes are. fusion. and how to use them, even if they choose to delete them later as part of their process.
How blend modes work in Photoshop
When it comes to understanding how blend modes work in Photoshop, it's important to consider the properties of an image. Next, we'll look at the main components of a "color" that blend modes manipulate to create new effects.
Keep in mind that the exact mechanics of color modeling get complicated quickly once you start delving into the science of color theory, computer graphics, and human perception, but we'll simplify it here to understand blend modes. .
Simply put, any color is a combination of hue, saturation, and value/lightness, commonly known as HSV and HSL. Together, these components determine the color and how different it is from the colors around it.
Hue is, in simple terms, the pure, unadulterated "pigment" behind color. To make an analogy with tint, it's the ink that comes out of the tube, with no ink and no shades of black or white.
Saturation essentially determines how much of the "pigment" is within the color, ranging from 0 (no color) to 100 (the pure hue). To condense saturation in traditional painting terms, saturation is analogous to the amount of white that has been added to the pigment to create a "hue." For example, mixing a pure red pigment with white reduces the amount of "red" in the mix, resulting in some level of pink.
The value, in simple terms, is how much black is inside the color, ranging from 0 (pure hue) to 100 (pure black). Everything between 0 and 100 are "hues" where the hue is mixed with some level of black to darken it accordingly. Value is what creates contrast between shades of the same saturation, allowing the dark/light to shine through in an image.
Photoshop blend modes explained
There are currently 27 blend modes in Photoshop, each of which provides its own unique effect based on information from the base layer. Next we will show each of the different modes with an example of their effects. For demonstration purposes, our base layer will be set to normal using this (oversaturated) photo of tinted roses:
With the image below on top as our blend layer.
normal blend modes
Normal blending mode is Photoshop's default, where the color information of the pixels is not affected by any other effect. At full opacity, the gradient and swatches completely block out the underlying photo.
At full opacity, the Liquify blend mode resembles the Normal blend mode. However, once you start lowering the opacity, the number of displayed pixels is randomly erased, creating the well-known dissolve effect that leaves the remaining pixels unadulterated with any additional effect.
Darken blend modes
The Darken blend mode compares the colors of the base layer to the blend layer, replacing any pixelslighterthat layer of fusion with those of the latter; any darker colors in the base coat will remain unchanged.
Multiply, as the name suggests, takes the numerical data of the color in the base layer and multiplies it with the blend layer, resulting in darker versions of the same color palette. However, multiplying with black always results in black, as shown in the bottom left sample, while multiplying with white has no effect, as shown below.right handshow. Because, when used with darker colors, multiply allows you to retain a color palette similar to that of the original base layer while at the same time making it darker, multiply is a favored tool for digital artists looking to render shapes quickly or iterate lighting scenarios.
Color Burn darkens the image by increasing the contrast between the base layer and the blend layer. This visibly brings out the lower range midtones of an image, while having minimal effect at higher values.
Linear Burn darkens by reducing the brightness of an image by the value of the blend layer. This reduces the increased saturation effect exhibited by Color Burn and shows a more consistent progression towards black within the value gradient.
Darker Color goes pixel-by-pixel, picking out the darkest color from either layer similar to Darken, but takes a more mathematically thorough look at the RGB channels, which you don't need to know yet if you're just dipping your toes. in color modes blend in Photoshop. Suffice to say that it is similar to Darken.
This results in a hybrid of both coats that is darker overall without creating new colors. This is best demonstrated in the grayscale swatches below, where none of the base layer pixels are shown on the bottom left, nor any blend layers in the white swatch on the bottom right, while the 50 % gray in the center is relatively uniform. the two layers.
Blending modes Lighten
Lighten is the opposite of Darken in that it compares the RGB channel of each pixel and displays the darker of the two layers, resulting in a brighter overall image.
The canvas multiplies the inverse of the colors in the base and blend layers, creating a brighter version of the image but maintaining a similar color palette. Like Multiply, this makes it one of the blend modes that is especially useful for digital artists and illustrators who want to add quick lighting to an image and insert reflections.
Color Dodge is another popular blend mode and equivalent to the Color Burn blend mode. Color Dodge increases brightness by decreasing the contrast between the color of both layers, resulting in the same saturation boost in the mid-tone range as Color Burn, but cancels out when mixed with black. Illustrators and digital artists in particular need to be careful not to dodge too much with color, as while it can bring energy and interest to specific elements, it can quickly throw a composition off balance.
Linear Dodge (add)
Linear Dodge, or Add as it is often called in other software like Procreate, is a simple tool that brightens the base layer according to the blend layer. Linear Dodge, as seen in the example, is a much more powerful brightness tool than the other blend modes and can be used, sparingly, to add highlights and manually increase contrast in parts of the image.
The lighter color is the counterpart to the darker color, using the same comparison process across all color channels in both layers to choose the lighter alternative to display. Lighter Color produces less aggressive changes than Lighten by working only with the on-screen color palette
Contrast Blending Modes
Overlay is an extremely useful tool for introducing natural lighting into an image quickly and efficiently. The overlay will multiply or filter the colors in the base layer, depending on their lightness or darkness, while blending the colors of the two layers, resulting in a third layer, preserving the composition value of the blending layer. This is especially useful for showing the effects of colored light on a surface that has already been rendered with the local color; for example, in the case of red light on a blue shape, shadows and reflections on the blue shape will stay in place during tinting. General change to violet or purple.
cores nobasethe blend layer prevents layers lighter than 50% gray, while colors darker than 50% are burned. Dodge and burn effects are weaker than if applied directly, resulting in a softer, less harsh contrast between shadows and highlights that's immediately easier on the eyes. Mixing with black and white will darken/lighten accordingly, but will not result in pure black or white. As you can see here in the image, Soft Light helps bring out the vibrancy of the midtones without knocking the door down with a burst of contrast.
Hard Light works in the same way as Overlay, albeit to a much, much greater degree. Depending on the brightness ofmixinglayer, the colors will be multiplied or filtered. Hard Light, as seen above, has an incredibly intense effect on the image and should be used at different levels of opacity to produce the best results.
The way Soft Light applies Burn and Dodge simultaneously, so does Vivid Light with Darken and Lighten: it darkens the parts where the blend color is darker than 50% gray by increasing the contrast and lightening the parts where the blend color is darker than 50% gray. mix is lighter than 50% gray decreasing contrast. Like Hard Light, it's easy to go overboard with Vivid Light.
Linear lighting is pretty straightforward: compare the lightness of the base color to the blend color and linear dodge or burn accordingly. Like the rest of the Contrast blend modes, the threshold is 50% gray: anything above it will be lighter, and anything below it will be darker. This is another of the powerful contrast tools that, as you can see, has a relatively extreme effect on the overall image, rapidly turning from almost black to almost white, even at the extremes of the midtone range.
Pin Light applies Lighten and Darken simultaneously, but in a two-step process that's a bit more involved than the other contrast modes. While 50% gray is still the threshold for the effect, what Pin Light does is first compare the lightness of the blend color and the base color. If the blend color is lighter than 50% gray, it replaces all base colors that are darker than the blend color, leaving those that are lighter than the blend color in their place. If the blend color applied isdarker50% Gray replaces all base colors that are lighter than the blend color, leaving darker colors in their place. 50% is essentially the threshold at which Pin Light chooses to Lighten or Darken, but it may have no effect or a great effect depending on the lightness of the colors it contains.
Hard Mix is a crazy blend mode that essentially adds all the RGB values from the base layer to the blend layer, turning everything white, black, or one of the six primary hues on the color wheel to full saturation.
Reverse Blend Modes
Difference is an incredibly useful blending mode that analyzes which of the two colors is brighter and subtracts the individual channel values from the other layer, moving dark tones away from light tones on the color wheel. The difference can be used as an initial step to add color to grayscale images by preserving the values, adding an overall color to the image as a difference layer, and reducing the opacity. This leaves the image flooded with a new paintable tint.
Dropout works similar to diff as shown above, but noticeably loses power as the blend layer value approaches 50% gray.
Subtract is an interesting tool that can be used to darken the lightest parts of an image. As shown above, combining with white results in pure black, while combining with black has no effect on the image. This is because Photoshop subtracts the value of the blend layer from the base layer, resulting in darker highlights and unaffected shadows.
While it may be counter-intuitive, Divide is the functional opposite of Subtract(noAdd); Divide takes the value of each color channel in the base layer's blend layer. This results in lighter shadows and unaffected highlights, as shown above.
Component Blend Modes
Hue is a useful tool for forcing a base layer color change, preserving the value and saturation of the base layer and replacing it with only thehueof the blend layer, that is, it keeps the dark shadows and light highlights while only replacing the local tone, as demonstrated in the color swatches above in the image.
Saturation has the same effect as hue, except with, well, sduration.The base layer's luminance, value, and hue are maintained while the saturation is replaced by the blend color. The flowers in the example above are already highly saturated, making the effect less visible.
Color works similarly to Hue, except that it only preserves the luminance of the base color while adding Hue.mimix color saturation.
Essentially the opposite of Color, Luminosity maintains the hue and saturation of the base color while replacing its luminosity with that of the blend color. A useful tool for examining the importance of strong values in an image.
That's our how-to guide to Photoshop blend modes. There's a lot going on under the hood, but for all intents and purposes, the blend modes work pretty well once you have some basic control over them. The best way to learn the tools at your disposal is, and always will be, to experiment on your own until your choice of blend mode becomes intuitive.
What are the blending modes in Photoshop? ›
The 19 original Blending Modes are: Normal, Dissolve, Darken, Multiply, Color Burn, Darker Color, Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge, Lighter Color, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, Exclusion, Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity.What are the 4 most popular blend modes in Photoshop? ›
Some of the more commonly used blend modes are Multiply, Screen, Overlay and Soft Light.What is the explanation of blending modes? ›
What are blending modes? A blending mode is an effect you can add to a layer to change how the colors blend with colors on lower layers. You can change the look of your illustration simply by changing the blending modes.What are the most popular and useful blend modes in Photoshop? ›
In this tutorial, we'll focus on Photoshop's five most important blend modes, which are Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Color, and Luminosity. Even though Photoshop includes 22 others, these five blend modes are the ones you'll use the most.What is the easiest way to blend in Photoshop? ›
- Select the Smudge tool. Click the Smudge tool from the toolbar. ...
- Choose your brush. Pick a brush tip and blend mode option in the options bar.
- Sample all layers. ...
- Use the foreground color. ...
- Select the Smudge tool (R) from the toolbar. ...
- Choose a brush tip and and blend mode options in the options bar.
- Select Sample All Layers in the options bar to smudge using color data from all visible layers.
- Choose Two Photos to Merge. Whatever your reason for merging two photos in Photoshop, some photos will merge more easily than others. ...
- Open a Photo. ...
- Open Your Second Photo. ...
- Position Your Photos to Match. ...
- Create a Mask and Erase. ...
- Check Your Accuracy. ...
- Merge The Two Layers.
To cycle through blend modes quickly, hold Shift + (plus) to change to the next mode, and Shift – (minus) to change to the previous mode. If you find these are not working, select the Move Tool, select the layer, then try again.How many blend modes are there in Photoshop? ›
There are 27 different blending mode options to choose from in total. Photoshop breaks these down into 6 smaller groupings for easy navigation. Normal, Darken, Lighten, Contrast, Comparative, and Color.What is the importance of using the blend mode? ›
The Colour Blending mode allows the hue and saturation value of a layer to show through while the luminosity value is ignored, making it an excellent choice for applying solid colour layers for colour cast addition or negation.
How does using the blending mode in Photoshop affect a project? ›
A blending mode is a feature used to combine layers together. If you apply a blending mode to a layer it will affect how it interacts with all of the layers beneath it. If you are familiar with blending modes in Photoshop they work in the exact same way. It's kinda like having a colored filter.What is the most powerful tool in Photoshop? ›
- Hue and Saturation. The Hue and Saturation tool enables you to control the colors in your images based on, well, their hue and saturation. ...
- Cropping. ...
- Layers. ...
- Levels. ...
- Sharpening. ...
- Healing Brush. ...
- Exposure. ...
- Multiply Blending Mode. This is useful when you have text or images on a white sheet of paper. ...
- Screen Blending Mode. Now it's time for the opposite of the previous tutorial. ...
- Difference Blending Mode. ...
- Overlay Blending Mode. ...
- Color Blending Mode.
- Step 1: Create a new Photoshop document. ...
- Step 2: Place your image into the document. ...
- Step 3: Drag your subject to one side of the document. ...
- Step 4: Add a Solid Color fill layer. ...
- Step 5: Choose an initial background color. ...
- Step 6: Select the layer mask. ...
- Step 7: Select the Gradient Tool.
- Click on the bottom layer, hold down the Ctrl or Cmd key and click on the top layer to select them all.
- Go To Edit and select Auto-Blend Layers.
- Select the radio button next to Stack Images. ...
- Photoshop has applied masks to both layers and blended them.
Try the gradient blend.
Select "gradient," then click on the gradient bar at the top. Adjust the hues and values as desired. Select an area using the Lasso or Magic Wand tools, then apply the gradient by clicking and dragging. The result is a smooth transition between two colors.
- Simply drag and drop the image you want to overlay into Fotor, and it will become your background image.
- Then add a new picture on top of it. You can adjust the transparency level to blend the two images together perfectly.
- Download your newly overlayed image.
To merge all the layers in your Photoshop document, select all the layers and right-click (Control+click for Mac) on the layers panel and select Merge Layers or, without needing to select them, use the shortcut Shift+Ctrl+E (Shift+Cmd+E for Mac).What are the special 8 blend modes? ›
In addition to hard mix, the remaining special eight blending modes are color burn, linear burn, color dodge, linear dodge (add), vivid light, linear light, and difference.How are blending modes organized? ›
Blending modes are organized into 6 unlabeled sections separated by thin lines. The sections are: Normal, Darken, Lighten, Contrast, Inversion, and Component.
What is the default blend mode in Photoshop? ›
Blend mode menu is at the top of the layer panel, and by default, it is always on normal mode. Look there are various types of Photoshop blending modes grouped in various categories in the list. You can choose any one of them and create a different effect using blend tool in Photoshop.What is the difference blend mode in Photoshop? ›
As the description implies, the difference blend mode subtracts the pixels of the base and blend layers and the result is the greater brightness value. Well, when you subtract two pixels with the same value, the result is black. This makes it very easy to see where images are aligned in Photoshop.Why is blending used in Photoshop? ›
Blend mode lets you mix colors from one layer with the layers beneath. This works great if you are adding a texture layer to an image. There are many color blend modes.How do you blend images together and create realistic composites in Photoshop? ›
In the Layers panel, select a layer that contains a photo. Open the blend mode menu at the top of the Layers panel. Hover over various blend modes in the menu to preview how each affects the composite image. Click a blend mode to apply it to the selected layer, causing that layer to blend with the layer below.What are the 3 different screen modes in Photoshop? ›
There are three screen modes that you can select from: Standard Screen mode; Full Screen Mode with Menu Bar and Full screen mode. When you select a screen mode it will be applied to all open images.Why is blend mode important in photo editing? ›
In photo editing and graphic design, Blend Modes allow you to do just what the name suggests: blend things together. They allow two layers to interact with one another in order to make a single, complete image. Layers can include images, text, textures, or design elements.What is difference blend mode in Photoshop? ›
As the description implies, the difference blend mode subtracts the pixels of the base and blend layers and the result is the greater brightness value. Well, when you subtract two pixels with the same value, the result is black. This makes it very easy to see where images are aligned in Photoshop.What are the 5 color modes in Photoshop? ›
Adobe Photoshop Color Modes
This page provides information on the five color modes in Adobe Photoshop, RGB, CMYK, Grayscale, Bitmap, and Index.
The Color blend mode is actually a combination of the first two modes in the Composite group, Hue and Saturation. When you change a layer's blend mode to Color, only the color (that is, all of the hues and their saturation values) from the layer is blended in with the layer or layers below it.What is the most accurate selection tool in Photoshop? ›
Lasso tools make it simple to make a more accurate selection. There are three different lasso tools available, the Lasso, Polygonal Lasso and the Magnetic Lasso. With the Lasso Tool all you need to do is click and drag to draw a selection.
What is F7 used for in Photoshop? ›
Quickly show and hide the Layers panel easily by pressing F7 on your keypad. This will also show and hide the Channels and Paths panels because they are grouped together.What are the 9 selection tools in Photoshop? ›
- Rectangular Marquee Tool.
- Elliptical Marquee Tool.
- Lasso Tool.
- Polygonal Selection Tool.
- Magnetic Lasso Tool.
- Magic Wand Tool.
- Quick Selection Tool.
- Complex Selections: Adding, Subtracting, and Intersections.
To merge multiple images, use the Layer Mask, Blend Mode, or Layer Opacity tools to control the merge function. The Layer Opacity tool is the simplest method to merge multiple images.