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Understanding and using blend modes

From: Motion 5 Essential Training

Video: Understanding and using blend modes

Ah, yes! Blend modes can be much like life or taxes; you to make them as simple or as complicated as you like. As an artist with some pretty decent technical abilities, I often end up talking about blend modes only to see people's eyes start to glaze over. So for now I would really like to avoid that and actually keep things as simple as possible. So before I get into each individual nuance of a blend mode, I want to actually show you where you can find blend modes.

Understanding and using blend modes

Ah, yes! Blend modes can be much like life or taxes; you to make them as simple or as complicated as you like. As an artist with some pretty decent technical abilities, I often end up talking about blend modes only to see people's eyes start to glaze over. So for now I would really like to avoid that and actually keep things as simple as possible. So before I get into each individual nuance of a blend mode, I want to actually show you where you can find blend modes.

So first thing, when would you want to actually use a blend mode? Well, the precise time would be anytime you want to actually blend something into the background. So each blend mode, you can actually change how an object interacts with the layers below it. It's really important to remember "layers below." So let's go ahead and select this Stripes_Circles group here and press Command+3 to open up the Inspector.

So first thing, you notice under Properties in the blending section, sure enough, here is blend mode. So notice this option is set to Pass Through. Well, Pass Through is the default setting for groups when you have many different layers nested within that group. So if I wanted to change how this group of purple circles blended with the layers below, I would select this group and change the blend mode from Pass Through to something like Multiply.

Now you notice what ends up happening is this set of circles is now blending with the layers below. Now I chose Multiply for a reason, because it's the direct inverse of Screen. So it's kind of interesting. Different blend modes are organized into different groups and basically the way its set up is based on lightness or darkness. So as I'm selecting these purple circles, I'm telling them to screen over the layers below.

So notice the bright pixels are popping right through my purple circles, whereas the darker pixels are actually staying masked underneath. See, if I chose Multiply, notice the purple pixels now have turned really, really dark, and they are blending into the background layer. So each group is set up to function slightly differently. So the easiest way to think of the Multiply group, Multiply is great to get rid of white pixels.

And Screen is actually really good to get rid of black pixels. So if you have an element that has all white or all black pixels, it's an easy way to get rid of that element. So here, let's select our Dance type layer here, which is white, and choose Screen. Well, nothing happened. There is reason nothing happened. If we go to Multiply, now those pixels are gone. See, it's Multiply that gets rid of the white pixels, Screen that gets rid of the black pixels.

So obviously this is not what we're trying to do with this individual type layer, so I'll change that back to Normal. One thing I can recommend when you're dealing with actually trying to blend different layers together: don't deal with 100% white or 100% black layers. When you do that, you'll end up with situations like I just illustrated where the white elements are completely gone, or same thing with the black pixels. So let's go ahead and blend in this background circle here.

So if I press the spacebar, I can play my animation and as you can see, it's a video of the dancer dancing around on the stage. Now I want a blend this back into the piano layer below. In order to do that, I'm just going to stop playback here for a second and go to my blend mode. Now if I want the dark area where his pants are to actually get knocked out, what would I choose? I would actually choose Screen.

So let's go to Screen, and now you can see the darker areas are actually getting knocked out. Now, it's not 100% knocked out, because some of the elements from the layer below are actually shining through. But if we press our spacebar, now you notice the circle looks a little bit washed out. Now, the subsequent groups of blend modes function in a similar manner. They just tend to take into account a little bit more from each of the different color channels, whether you're talking about the red channel, the green channel, the blue channel, you get the idea.

These last set of groups here, I like to think of these as composite groups. For example, if I chose Stencil Alpha, notice when I chose that all the layers below are automatically cut out based on the alpha channel of our DANCER layer. Now you notice I can't see the dancer anymore, because it's actually acting as a stencil to only show me this background layer. See, if I move this all the way up to the top of my layer hierarchy, now notice it's cutting absolutely everything out.

So this is actually a neat tricky way of masking a group of layers if you don't want to have to go in and apply a mask to an individual group. You can just go in and change the individual blend mode. So I want you to experiment with your own blend modes to see exactly what you might come up with. I think you will find if you stick to the sections method, you will have a good place to start and can easily refine your blends as soon as you choose different settings within each section.

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This video is part of

Image for Motion 5 Essential Training
Motion 5 Essential Training

77 video lessons · 25468 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
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  1. 14m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Learning important definitions
      8m 13s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 37s
    4. Relinking missing media
      3m 22s
  2. 49m 41s
    1. Launching Motion for the first time
      4m 3s
    2. Navigating the interface
      9m 27s
    3. Creating and transforming objects in the Canvas
      6m 9s
    4. Controlling the Timing pane
      6m 29s
    5. Setting essential preferences
      6m 41s
    6. Customizing the keyboard
      5m 5s
    7. Using RAM preview and audio controls to get smooth preview playback
      5m 26s
    8. Introducing markers and audio
      6m 21s
  3. 26m 9s
    1. Adding assets to a project
      7m 56s
    2. Using the Library
      6m 4s
    3. Working with layers and groups
      6m 9s
    4. Understanding and using blend modes
      6m 0s
  4. 31m 15s
    1. Adding and adjusting behaviors
      7m 5s
    2. Adding multiple behaviors
      6m 31s
    3. Trimming and sliding behaviors
      8m 40s
    4. Using custom presets to create a slideshow
      8m 59s
  5. 29m 49s
    1. Animating manually using keyframes
      7m 49s
    2. Using the Record button
      6m 28s
    3. Manipulating keyframes with the Keyframe Editor
      10m 9s
    4. Combining keyframes and behaviors
      5m 23s
  6. 52m 33s
    1. Adding and formatting text
      7m 50s
    2. Using text styles
      10m 36s
    3. Formatting with the Transform Glyph tool
      5m 33s
    4. Animating text
      11m 17s
    5. Working with text on a path
      8m 16s
    6. Creating credit rolls
      9m 1s
  7. 31m 19s
    1. Match Move: Four-corner pin
      7m 25s
    2. Match Move: Transform
      11m 27s
    3. Stabilization
      5m 4s
    4. Retiming footage with behaviors
      7m 23s
  8. 16m 42s
    1. Applying and adjusting filters
      4m 18s
    2. Applying multiple filters
      7m 32s
    3. Timing a style with filters
      4m 52s
  9. 33m 35s
    1. Creating and adjusting shapes
      10m 7s
    2. Using shape behaviors
      7m 40s
    3. Creating and adjusting masks
      10m 47s
    4. Creating masks with objects
      5m 1s
  10. 34m 3s
    1. Using the keyer to composite green screen footage
      7m 28s
    2. Refining a key
      11m 6s
    3. Using masks to refine a green screen composite
      7m 54s
    4. Color-correcting elements to match within a green screen composite
      7m 35s
  11. 50m 2s
    1. Understanding generators
      4m 52s
    2. Applying text generators
      5m 41s
    3. Creating particle systems
      5m 49s
    4. Making adjustments to a particle system
      7m 33s
    5. Using particle behaviors
      5m 18s
    6. Creating paint strokes
      6m 58s
    7. Animating paint strokes
      4m 57s
    8. Using the Replicator
      5m 1s
    9. Replicating video
      3m 53s
  12. 47m 28s
    1. Viewing a scene in different layouts
      7m 17s
    2. Working with lights
      8m 12s
    3. Adjusting lighting and reflectivity
      9m 13s
    4. Creating and adjusting shadows
      4m 3s
    5. Creating replicators in 3D
      7m 50s
    6. Creating particles in 3D
      5m 7s
    7. Creating text in 3D
      5m 46s
  13. 42m 14s
    1. Working with cameras
      9m 3s
    2. Creating depth of field in a composition
      4m 55s
    3. Using camera behaviors
      9m 53s
    4. Create interest with the Focus behavior
      7m 26s
    5. Animating cameras with camera framing
      10m 57s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Adding and adjusting audio
      9m 29s
    2. Adding audio markers
      7m 7s
  15. 17m 37s
    1. Sharing files
      6m 58s
    2. Creating a pre-render
      7m 5s
    3. Archiving a project
      3m 34s
  16. 26m 5s
    1. Creating drop zones
      4m 21s
    2. Setting up rigs: Slider rigs
      6m 56s
    3. Setting up rigs: Pop-up rigs
      4m 49s
    4. Making templates for Motion
      4m 3s
    5. Making templates for Final Cut Pro
      5m 56s
  17. 1m 32s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 32s

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