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27 blend modes, 6 groups

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Advanced Blending

Video: 27 blend modes, 6 groups

In this exercise, I'll introduce you to the 27 common blend modes that are found inside Photoshop. These are the modes that you see when applying layer effects, when working with the Brush Tool, the Gradient Tool, and so forth, when applying the Fill command, the Stroke command, and most commonly, when working inside the Layers panel, which is why I'll be framing my discussion for now in terms of working with layers. And as you may know, every single one of the blend modes produces a unique effect, a unique interaction between different layers, for example. But it's rarely evident what those interactions are going to be.

27 blend modes, 6 groups

In this exercise, I'll introduce you to the 27 common blend modes that are found inside Photoshop. These are the modes that you see when applying layer effects, when working with the Brush Tool, the Gradient Tool, and so forth, when applying the Fill command, the Stroke command, and most commonly, when working inside the Layers panel, which is why I'll be framing my discussion for now in terms of working with layers. And as you may know, every single one of the blend modes produces a unique effect, a unique interaction between different layers, for example. But it's rarely evident what those interactions are going to be.

For example, what does the Overlay mode do, what does Soft Light even mean, and so forth? Well, we'll be discussing each and every mode in more detail in a future chapter, but for now, I want you to notice how the modes are actually combined into six different groups. And that tells you that each of the modes inside the groups is related to each other. So let's take a look at how those groups work. I have opened an image called The 27 blend modes.psd found inside the 01_intro folder. Let's start off by taking a look at the Normal modes which include Normal and Dissolve.

Now Normal, strictly speaking, is not a blend mode. In fact, it turns the blend mode off so that we're creating an interaction between layers, for example, exclusively using the Opacity values. Dissolve is a lot like the Normal mode. It doesn't create any specific interaction between pixels. Instead, it goes ahead and applies a dither pattern to the translucent areas, so you get noise around the edges of the soft image, for example, and we'll see what that looks like in the very next chapter. Next we have the Darken modes and when you chose a Darken mode, you use the active layer to darken the layers below it as if that layer is casting a shadow.

Now I'll be devoting an entire chapter to this group of modes. But in the meantime, it's often useful to think of these modes as burning colors in, just as when you burn a piece of toast, for example, you end up darkening it. Next we have the Lighten modes which use the active layer to brighten the layers below as if creating a glow. Each of these modes has an opposing mode as paired sequentially in a Darken group. So what I mean by that, for example, is that the Lighten mode is effectively the opposite of the Darken mode, whereas Screen is effectively the opposite of Multiply, Color Dodge is the opposite of Color Burn, and so on down the list.

The next group is the largest one. We've got seven Contrast modes in all, all the way from Overlay down to Hard Mix. And in the case of these modes, the dark pixels in the active layers burn in the shadows, so they darken those shadows. The light pixels boost the highlights. So in other words, we're darkening the darkest pixels, lightening the lightest pixels, and the result is an elevation in the contrast of the composite image. Once again, I'll be devoting an entire chapter to this group of modes. The next group is a little bit of a muddle. It's kind of a two groups in one.

First we have the Difference and Exclusion modes, which are the so-called Inversion modes because they use the active layer to invert those below. Similar pixels, that is, a pixel in the active layer that's very similar to the pixel directly below it becomes black in the case of the Difference mode or gray in the case of the Exclusion mode. Subtract and Divide are the Cancellation modes and they cancel pixels by clipping them to black in the case of the Subtract mode, or white in the case of the Divide mode.

These guys are a little unusual, a little bit complicated as well. They can be pretty useful, however, and once again, I'll show you how they work in a future chapter. Finally, we have the Component or so-called HSL modes. A pixel that is the color of the pixel, can be expressed as a combination of the primary component's Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity. Now Color is a combination of Hue and Saturation mixed together. And I mentioned that because if you look at the modes, we have Hue and Saturation and then Luminosity down here at the bottom.

Color, as I say, is a combination of the two above it. These final modes, that is, Hue all the way down through Luminosity mix the primaries independently in order to achieve different effects. So I know that's an awful lot of information to take in, in one movie. But for now here's where I want you to remember. We've got 27 common blend modes in all organized into a total of six groups here inside Photoshop.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Advanced Blending
 
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  1. 1m 43s
    1. Welcome
      1m 43s
  2. 33m 15s
    1. When in doubt, blend
      2m 20s
    2. Where to find blending options
      4m 10s
    3. 27 blend modes, 6 groups
      4m 23s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 41s
    5. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      4m 59s
    6. Blending adjustment layers
      4m 43s
    7. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 59s
  3. 27m 3s
    1. The power of standardized arithmetic
      6m 58s
    2. Photoshop's blending formulas
      5m 27s
    3. Darken formulas vs. lighten formulas
      4m 15s
    4. Contrast mode formulas
      7m 28s
    5. Inversion, cancelation, and HSL
      2m 55s
  4. 17m 50s
    1. Normal mode vs. Dissolve mode
      2m 11s
    2. Making a dynamic Dissolve effect
      2m 21s
    3. Creating a Dissolve text effect
      4m 48s
    4. The Behind and Clear modes
      3m 2s
    5. Filling a stroke with Behind and Clear
      5m 28s
  5. 43m 24s
    1. Darken vs. Darken Color
      4m 25s
    2. Creating filter effects with Darken
      5m 0s
    3. The Multiply and Burn modes
      6m 27s
    4. Cleaning up scanned line art
      7m 30s
    5. Comping line art against a photo
      5m 12s
    6. Colorizing comped line art
      5m 14s
    7. Masking with a darken mode
      3m 59s
    8. Refining a mask with Multiply
      5m 37s
  6. 33m 36s
    1. Lighten vs. Lighter Color
      2m 29s
    2. Creating filter effects with Lighten
      2m 47s
    3. The Screen and Dodge modes
      4m 35s
    4. Blending white type, darkening shadows
      3m 2s
    5. Creating a classic double-exposure effect
      3m 49s
    6. Making dark line art bright
      5m 11s
    7. Masking with a lighten mode
      5m 4s
    8. Refine, filter, and blend
      6m 39s
  7. 35m 18s
    1. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      5m 2s
    2. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light
      4m 2s
    3. The amazing Hard Mix mode
      3m 51s
    4. Two variations on a single mode
      5m 37s
    5. Adding clarity with a contrast mode
      4m 9s
    6. Creating a glowing, soft-focus effect
      3m 38s
    7. Blending an image with a paper texture
      4m 11s
    8. Turning flesh into stone
      4m 48s
  8. 18m 10s
    1. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 7s
    2. Comparing seemingly identical images
      3m 25s
    3. Creating type that inverts any background
      3m 30s
    4. Making inversion type black and white
      4m 8s
  9. 16m 57s
    1. Luminosity, Color, Hue, and Saturation
      3m 29s
    2. Colorizing artwork with layers
      7m 24s
    3. Correcting skin tones with Hue
      6m 4s
  10. 14m 57s
    1. Using the This Layer slider option
      6m 44s
    2. Using the Underlying Layer slider option
      3m 16s
    3. Achieving greater control with Blend If
      4m 57s
  11. 48s
    1. Next steps
      48s

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