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In this movie, we'll review all of the shortcuts for the blend modes, and you can see that it's Shift+Alt, or on the Mac, Shift+Option, along with a letter key. And every single one of the letter keys is used, by the way; A through Z. Now, if you're hoping to apply a blend mode to a layer, then these keyboard shortcuts only work when one of the Selection tools is active, including the Eyedropper, or one of these lower tools, from the Pen tool, all the way down to the Zoom tool. The reason that these keystrokes don't work when this middle group of tools is selected -- that is starting with the Healing Brush, and going down to the Dodge tool -- is because all those tools have their own blend modes.
So for example, if I switch to the Brush tool, you can see this blend mode pop-up menu appear in the Options bar. I'll go ahead and Escape out there. So if I press Shift+Alt+M, for example, or Shift+Option+M on the Mac, I don't change the blend mode of the bars layer to Multiply; instead, I change the blend mode for the brush to Multiply, which isn't what I want, so I'll press Shift+Alt+N, or Shift+Option+N on the Mac, to restore the blend mode to Normal. All right, now I'll press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee. Now, there's an awful lot of shortcuts available to you; as I say, 26 in all, and some of them make a lot of sense, like Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N for Normal; lot of them don't make that much sense, such as Shift+Alt+I or Shift+Option+I for Dissolve, which is why I try to include reasoning behind the blend modes inside this chart.
And I've also gone ahead and drawn blue circles around those keyboard shortcuts that I think are worth memorizing, because those are your key shortcuts. So where the important ones are concerned here, we've got N for normal. You drop down to Shift+Alt+M, or Shift+Option+M on the Mac, for Multiply. Then we have a perfectly logical keyboard shortcut for Color Burn, which is B, but it's not a mode that I use all that often; I doubt you will either, so probably not worth memorizing. Linear Burn is a great mode; unfortunately, it doesn't have a very meaningful keyboard shortcut.
It's Shift+Alt+A, or Shift+Option+A on the Mac. I suppose you could remember it because of the A in Linear, but I actually have a better way of remembering that, at least one that's worked better for me, and I'll tell you about it in just a moment. We'll skip ahead to Shift+Alt+S or Shift+ Option+S for Screen, which makes perfect sense. And now I'll go ahead and scroll down a little bit here. Notice Color Dodge, great keyboard shortcut; Shift+Alt+D, or Shift+Option+D on the Mac, but again, I don't use the mode very often, so I'm not sure it's worth memorizing the shortcut.
Linear Dodge (Add) is a fantastic mode that has a completely ridiculous shortcut. It should have gotten A for Add, because that's the arithmetic that's at work behind Linear Dodge. The way I remember how things work here is that Linear Burn, which is Linear Dodge's nemesis of course, stole its shortcut, and left Linear Dodge with two upside down A's, which if you remove the bar and squeeze them together make a W. Anyway, I don't know if that's going to work for you or not. It works for me.
Overlay, Shift+Alt+O, or Shift+Option+O on the Mac. Soft Light, of all the ones I didn't circle, that is the one that you might want to memorize. It's Shift+Alt+F, or Shift+Option+F on the Mac; F being the second to last letter in Soft, of course. Hard Light; completely reasonable shortcut of Shift+Alt+H or Shift+Option+H. Vivid Light, great shortcut, not much of a mode. Linear Light kind of got ripped off, and in fact, I'll go ahead and scroll down here. It got ripped off by one of the least useful blend modes there is, which is Hard Mix, which doesn't have an L in it at all.
Anyway, Linear Light instead gets a backward L, which is a J. Then we drop down to Difference, another great mode; Shift+Alt+E or Shift+Option+E, which is the last letter in Difference. And then if we scroll down the list, you can see that we've got Shift+Alt+C or Shift+Option+C for Color; makes perfect sense. And then for Luminosity, we've got Shift+Alt+Y or Shift +Option+Y, which is the last letter in the mode. P, Q, and R, which are the only letters we haven't discussed so far, are assigned to blend modes that are only available when the Brush tool is active.
So to demonstrate how these work, I'll go ahead and switch to the Brush tool, which of course I can get by pressing the B key. And notice this little airbrush icon up here in the options bar. If I turn it on, and then I'll dial in a different color here in the color panel; a Hue value of 0 is fine. I'll crank the Saturation value up to 100%, and crank Brightness up to 100% as well. And let's make sure I've got a nice, soft brush going. Indeed I do. So the Hardness value is set to 0%, press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to hide that panel. And now notice, if I paint, whenever I keep my cursor still, I'm building up paint, much as if I were working with a traditional airbrush.
So that's how that option works. It's not really a blend mode at all, of course, but it has a keyboard shortcut, and it's Shift+Alt+P or Shift+Option+P. And so notice up here in the options bar, if I press Shift+Alt+P, or Shift+Option+P on the Mac, that turns the airbrush icon off, and if I press that keystroke again, I turn the option on. All right, I'm going to undo that brushstroke just by pressing Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac. These next two -- Behind, and Clear -- are modes; at lease they're listed in the blend mode pop-up menu. So if you press Shift+Alt+Q or Shift+Option+Q, which is the next letter after P -- and I'll go ahead and press that keyboard shortcut now -- you can see that I've switched to the Behind mode up here in the options bar.
And what that allows me to do; I'll paint on the bars layer, and notice that I'm painting behind the bars, so I'm painting exclusively in a transparent portion of the layer. Next we've got the Clear mode, and you get to it by pressing Shift+Alt+R, or Shift+Option+R on the Mac, and notice I have switched to the Clear mode up here in the options bar. And what that does is it allows me to paint away the contents of the layer, exactly as if I were using the Eraser. The idea is that the brush has more options than the Eraser tool does, and if you want to take advantage of those options while still erasing, then you select the brush, and set its mode to Clear.
Anyway, if you've been working along with me, you probably want to press Shift+Alt+N, or Shift+Option+N on the Mac, to go ahead and restore the Normal mode. And those are the 26 blend modes, along with the ones circled in blue that I recommend you assign to memory for the blend modes that are available to you here inside Photoshop.
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