What are Blending Modes in Photoshop n How to use them?

What are Blending Modes in Photoshop?

In all Graphics Applications Blend modes are used to mix or blend two layers with each other. In Photoshop and other Digital Image Editing softwares the default Blending Mode is Normal i.e. it hides the layer beneath it. 

Types of Blend Modes in Photoshop?

Blending Modes can be divided into following Categories

Normal Blending Modes
  • Normal
  • Dissolve
Darken Blending Modes
  • Darken
  • Multiply
  • Color Burn
  • Linear Burn
  • Darker Color
Lighten Blending Modes
  • Lighten
  • Screen
  • Color Dodge
  • Linear Dodge (Add)
  • Lighter Color
Contrast Blending Modes
  • Overlay
  • Soft Light
  • Hard Light
  • Vivid Light
  • Linear Light
  • Pin Light
  • Hard Mix
Inversion Blending Modes
  • Difference
  • Exclusion
  • Subtract
  • Divide
Component Blending Modes
  • Hue
  • Saturation
  • Color
  • Luminosity
Pass Through Blending Mode

Pass Through Blend Mode is default mode of groups in Photoshop. 

Say, you have Curves Adjustment Layer as a Top Layer in a group in a Photoshop Document. It will effect all the layers beneath it whether inside the group or outside the group.   

But when you change the Blending Mode of the group from Pass Through to Normal then the Curve Layer will only effect the layers within the group and not the layer that are outside. 

Watch the below Free Photoshop Tutorial by Phlearn and Understand Blending Modes and Learn How n Where to use them in Photoshop? 

Related Tutorials: The Breakdown of Blend Modes

For this particular image, Aaron starts out by using the Screen blending mode on the skull.

This is because the Screen Mode makes all the blacks in an image vanish.

Another helpful tip is to use the Linear gradient, because it creates a seamless Transition from black to white.

You can also use a Levels Adjustment Layer to add Contrast to any layer. This is helpful when the blending mode leaves too many Midtones in your layer.

Global Coloring with Gradient Map in Photoshop

To immediately blend all of the colors together, create a new Gradient Map layer on top of everything. This allows you to choose a Color for the dark and Light point, and Color the entire image based on those Colors. Now, any layer that is placed underneath will be affected by those Colors.

Hints and Reminders

If there is ever an effect you would like but can’t achieve it with just the blending modes, don’t be afraid to Invert your image. In this case we did so with the snake; by inverting the Colors first and then choosing a Multiply blending mode. This way, the snake that was originally Light is now dark. There are also no bright areas because the blending mode eliminated them.

To blend these into the Background, we used the same tactics we used with the skull.

To recap, here are the blending modes that we utilized in this episode!

Screen Blending Mode: eliminates darkest areas, enhances lightest areas
Multiply Blending Mode: Enhances darkest areas, eliminates lightest areas

Related Tutorial: How to Use Blend If Sliders in Photoshop

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