Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
With the power of blending modes at your side, you can combine objects, mixing their hue, saturation, and detail, and come up with new designs. You can apply subtle tweaks or completely recolor an image. You can also apply color where none existed, quickly creating monotone and duotone effects on grayscale images. Let's see how it's done. So here I have a document and I am going to be blending colors and since we are going to be exploring what we can do to recolor objects, it's important we talk about this concept called transparency blend space. And in my Edit menu down there at the bottom, I have this choice called Transparency Blend Space.
I can choose either Document RGB or Document CMYK. Now when InDesign blends colors from different objects, it needs a common color space to work in. So it can be either RGB or CMYK. Many of the blending modes work best when we use RGB transparency blend space. You can still output to CMYK if you need to and we will cover the full details of transparency blend space and outputting effects for print in other videos, but it's just important to mention here because the tricks I am going to do rely on using RGB transparency blend space.
Now let's blend some colors. So here I have a photo of a nice rich blue sky and a grayish fence and a couple of frames, one called Hue, one called Saturation. If I click on the Hue and I open my Effects panel, I can see that I've set this to use the Hue blending mode. So it's going to take the hue of this orange color and mix it with whatever is underneath. So I will click and drag down to overlay it on top of the fence picture and look at what happened. Replace the hues in the picture with this orange hue, so wherever the photo or the fence was saturated, like in the blue sky, it replaced that blue with this orange.
Where the photo was desaturated like the grayish fence, that stuff kind of stayed grayish and also in the clouds. Those are desaturated. So they didn't get touched very much. Let's check out the Saturation one. So this uses the Saturation blending mode and it's full of black. So black has no saturation. So if I drag this on top of the photo, it removes the saturation from the picture. It makes it look like a grayscale picture. Now it's also interesting that we can change the opacity of these two objects. We don't have to set them at 100% opacity.
So we can really mix the effect. I will select both and I will drag down the Opacity somewhere around 50% and you can see now I have desaturated this image somewhat, but not completely. So I have taken some of the saturation out with the gray color and I've colorized this a little bit with that orange color. I have changed the feeling of the picture but not completely recolored it. So we have a lot of flexibility when using these Hue and Saturation blending modes. Let's see some more blending mode tricks. So here I have this picture of a gargoyle and he's the only thing on the page.
What I would like to do is to take his detail and blend it with a different color. If I double-click on him, I look in the Effects panel and I can see that I have the graphic targeted. So I actually have the placed photo targeted, not the frame itself, and I can apply a blending mode just to the graphic. So I will change him from Normal to Luminosity. So I will take his detail and blend it with whatever's underneath. Right now there is nothing underneath, but if I press the Escape key, now I have the frame selected, I can go to my Swatches panel and change the fill from None to this Gargoyle Blue.
So I have taken the detail of the gargoyle and blended it with the color of the fill of the frame using the Luminosity blending mode. I could pick a different color swatch for a different effect. So if I fill the frame with Darker Warm Brown, I completely change the feeling here. Let's check on another trick. I can also create these duotone and monotone effects with the same ideas really easily. So here I have the same placed picture of some antique cars and I would like to create a duotone effect. So, for the first one, I will just click on it once with the Selection tool and I will apply fill like this Light Warm Brown.
So I have filled the frame with this Light Warm Brown color and I've created this dark duotone picture. Now it's important to note that these pictures are actually true grayscale images. They have just one channel of detail in the Photoshop image. So InDesign is just using that one channel and applying the color behind it in this case. I will select the middle one and I will double-click to select the picture itself. So again, I have the graphic, not the frame selected. In the Swatches panel I can see I have black selected. So InDesign is coloring that one channel of detail with black, but I can change that.
I will pick this Darker Warm Brown swatch and now I have replaced all the blacks with Darker Warm Brown, created a monotone. I can try another trick. This one is similar to the trick that I did with the fence, overlaying it with a different colored frame. So I will press the F key and drag out a frame on top and I will fill it with a color. I'll fill it with a Light Warm Brown. Now I can't see anything because I've overlaid the image and this frame is using the Normal blending mode now. But if I click in the Effects panel and change from Normal to Color, I will just take the color of that top frame and blend it with the detail of the picture underneath.
So three different ways of creating duotone and monotone effects really quickly and easily. You don't always have to go out to Photoshop to make changes in the appearance of placed photos. When you know how to use blending modes, especially Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity, what you do in Photoshop can just be the starting point for further developing your designs right in InDesign.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
120 Video lessons · 57582 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 67151 Viewers
84 Video lessons · 16563 Viewers
125 Video lessons · 29472 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.